Here are two contributions to help enjoy cooking at university, via two helpful students.
By Angharad Roberts | Contributor
When one thinks of a university student in the kitchen, the first image that comes to mind is a packet of noodles and no motivation to cook. Many students flock to university with the belief they will live off instant meals for the rest of the year, as fresh food and ingredients are viewed as expensive and difficult to use. It’s almost as though there is a stereotype surrounding students and cooking, as if being in a university kitchen is a hellish nightmare to be feared.
Contrary to popular belief, cooking in university can be simple, fun and inexpensive. I had learnt in my first year that it is fun to try and test new meals, even if they aren’t always perfect. Cooking does not have to be necessarily ambitious to be enjoyable. All you need are the essentials:
- Rice, pasta and potatoes for carbs; these three ingredients can create a multitude of meals.
- Chopped tomatoes to create homemade sauces, stews and curries (they are also very cheap!)
- A source of protein; this can be meat or a meat substitute, depending on your preference.
- Vegetables; I recommend getting onions and peppers as they are easy to stir fry and can add lots of flavour and colour to a meal.
- Spices; having a selection of spices at all times in your cupboard will allow you to explore and experiment with your cooking. Each spice can be as cheap as 99p or less.
- Stock cubes; very cheap and are primarily used to add flavour to many meals.
This list contains six ingredients, but can contain an endless amount of possibilities. Many meals also that can be created do not require fancy equipment, just the regular items you would expect to have in a university kitchen.
If you still find the idea of cooking a meal daunting, I recommend asking flatmates/housemates to cook a meal together. This is a way to get ideas for recipes and have company while cooking. Not only would it be a learning experience but a bonding experience, and it could create some great memories.
By Maja Metera | Contributor
We eat to live or we live to eat? I think neither is good but well – we all need food to survive. Especially those of us who spend days studying for exams or writing essays as our brains need even more energy. Those of us who menstruate burn additional 300 more calories a day during period. In the world of diet culture, we starve ourselves to ‘eat healthy’, blame ourselves when we don’t and see cooking as a duty rather than a form of self-care. Rarely anyone likes to fulfil their duties but who doesn’t love a massage or a bubble bath? Let’s see how we can turn cooking into a self-love activity.
If there’s only one thing that you take out of this text, let it be this – call your mom or anyone who is the Chef in your family, cook with her over the phone and introduce her to your kingdom. Remember simple recipes – even if you only know how to make one soup or one pasta sauce – master it to the perfection and vary it a little – one recipe will become two, three and so on. Stop expecting yourself to be brilliant five star restaurant chef at a first try and start with small steps. Organise your cardboards so that you know where everything is – cooking will stop being so strongly connected with cleaning, recipes will become more intuitional and you will start feeling more confident.
When you know how to make few things – make a grocery list of things that you can make into your favourite dishes – for me it would be a courgette, cream cheese, grated cheese and tomato as it makes my favourite pasta sauce. Cook pasta, peel of the tomato, cut all the veggies in pieces, fry for a bit, add cheese, mix with pasta and voila! Or learn to use food you forgot to eat – old pepper and vegetables like that. Cut them in pieces, add oregano and basil, cook until soft. You just made a Vege Lecho.
My point is that with some music, podcast or an audiobook playing in the headphone you can forget about other people in the kitchen. Moreover, with minimal effort you are able to make some really *mess-up-proof* tasty dishes and safe money using either leftovers or only few ingredients. What is most important to master, however, is to eat what you are hungry for – your body knows best. If you make your body happy, cooking will stop being a chore.
For more help on cooking, there are some amazing websites that have recipes that you can enjoy making at home. An example can be: https://studenteats.co.uk/, which provides recipes on a wide ranging variety of foods.