Marteki Codjoe - Class of 2018
Hi Marteki! We heard that you love to cook and are really talented! Tell us about how you learned to cook.
Wow, thank you so much! It all started with my mom; she really instilled cooking in my blood. My family is Ghanaian (West African), so that’s all we ate—Ghanaian food (we never ate American food). All of our meals were made from scratch and mostly from fresh ingredients. We only went out to eat a few times a year for special occasions, so as you can see, home-cooked meals were the norm. Because that is all I saw at home, I would watch my mom, asked her questions, and she taught me many of the things I know today.
I started getting more into cooking around my junior year in college. I lived in an apartment that had a kitchen, and I didn’t have a meal plan for the first time, so I basically had no choice. I was broke college student tired of the mundane and unhealthy choices at the food hall.
Honestly, I learned through a whole lot of trial and error with tons of experimenting. I started cooking Ghanaian meals, since that’s what I knew. My mom never measured any of her ingredients and would just eyeball everything she used to cook a meal. It took some practice to get to that point, but I eventually got pretty comfortable with that and, now, that’s how I operate.
As time progressed, I started expanding to cooking different types of food. I would search Pintrest for recipes and watch YouTube videos to learn how to make different things. I definitely still have a LOT more to learn!
What is your most favorite food/meal to cook?
Man that is hard!!!!!!! FOOD IS LIFE! If you know me, you’ll know that I live for food and love to cook/try new things. I can’t choose just one, so I’ll name a few. I love making fried plantains with bean stew, a popular Ghanaian dish. I enjoy making salmon, asparagus, fried rice, chicken wings, guacamole…. I enjoy it all!
Where do you get your inspirations?
As mentioned before, my mom really inspired me to cook in the first place. When I eat her cooking, I’m still inspired to do better because I’m still not as good as her! Pintrest is great for new recipes, and YouTube has an endless amount of videos. I love watching Seonkyoung Longest!
I get inspired in random ways. For example, if I don’t feel like going to the grocery store, I will look at what I have and try to come up with something creative based on my limited ingredients. On the other hand, if I do go to the store with no agenda, I randomly come across one item that “inspires” me and base my entire meal around it (ex. curry powder – I’ll make curry chicken, rice, and vegetables).
How do you manage to always have cooked meals for lunch and dinner while combatting the busy schedule of dental school?
I make it a priority because food is SUPER important to me! It gives me energy, it’s fun to eat, and I love everything about it!
It’s funny because the other night, it was late in the evening and I was tired and NOT in the mood to cook. Then I thought to myself, “If I don’t cook, I’m going to have to eat a sandwich for lunch.” I cringed at that thought and immediately changed my mind.
I love to create when it comes to food, plus it’s a source of stress relief for me when it comes to the craziness of school.
What is some advice you have for a dental student who is looking to learn how to cook or step outside of their comfort zone of making Ramen noodles?