The University of Iowa

Cooking Advice

Cooking your own food abroad is cost-effective and healthy. It will encourage you to mingle with local students and townspeople at the markets, stores, and in the kitchen. Your understanding of t

he culture and society will grow as a result. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you learn how to cook abroad.
  • Avoid using processed foods – they are usually more expensive & less healthy than fresh ingredients.
  • Buy local, fresh ingredients. They are the best for you, and because they are in season when you buy them, they should be less expensive than canned or frozen foods at the store.
  • Eat less meat, especially red meat, which is very expensive to produce. You may find that people in your host culture get most of their daily protein not from meat but from nuts and grains. Follow suit. Eat more grains and veggies.
  • If food storage isn’t a problem, consider cooking large quantities and creating leftovers for later in the week. This can save both time and money.
  • Food can spoil. If you undercook some foods (for example, pork or chicken), you can get sick from eating them. On the other hand, many people enjoy eating beef that is not cooked completely through, described as “rare,” which is perfectly fine to do. Find out about food safety and get tips about cooking at the U.S. government’s Food Safety website.
  • Finally, don’t be overwhelmed by choices (recipes) – learn to make some standard things that you like and repeat them, adding to your repertoire occasionally.

We hope the information in this section of our web site is useful to you and that you’re hungry by now! Please send us your comments and recipes. You’ll be helping other students learn how to cook if you do.