My best advice on cooking, eating
Evidence touting the amazing magical qualities of breakfast has been mounting for years, but there are still people who haven’t figured this out yet. I won’t lay out all the reasons here — ahem, breakfast-eaters are way less likely to be fat — however, I will judge you for not making time to give your bod a life-giving bite when all it takes is an apple and a handful o’ nuts. Look into this. Don’t skip breakfast.
Stop obsessing about recipes
Some of the worst cooks I know are people who love their recipes, and the reason is simple: They haven’t learned anything. Anyone can follow a recipe step by step and feel great about it (in the beginning, you should! Most definitely!), but just like music, cooking is a hell of a lot more than ink on a page. Let yourself deviate, experiment, invent, create and express. Thinking about what you’re doing will make you a chef, a really, really good one.
Make friends with weird stuff
You already know that life abroad depends on adaptation. Food is no exception to this rule, but I completely understand — some of the food here looks downright gross. Kimchi has a wet rag thing goin’ on sometimes, seaweed can easily be mistaken for a sodden sponge thing and is it just me, or does burdock root look exactly like muddy shoelaces? Yeah, it’s weird, but you need to get over it. Learn how to cook these oddities properly and make them a part of your foodie life; it’ll be a lot easier to say no to crap you don’t need when you’re feeling satisfied with the local cuisine. In the end, this is what expats do.
There’s nothing more important than eating. What else do you do three times a day, every day? Food is your essence, your whole friggin’ life, so do it up right. Never get so lost in the fray that you forget to feed yourself well. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re still healthy and nubile, still happy, still able to walk up the stairs without turning into a dripping mess or a cloudy-eyed crankster. So keep cooking, and all the world will be yours.