My Food Journey at University: The Lessons I’ve Learnt

Image by Vasily Koloda (via Unsplash)

The independence that university brings has, for one thing, changed my relationship with food significantly. Over the past three years, I’ve bonded over pizza at AGMs, cooked egg fried rice at four in the morning, and eaten some of the best foods I’ve ever tasted from some amazing independent restaurants and bakeries. The lessons I’ve learnt are far from few, so here’s some of my favourites…

Milk does go off far quicker than expected

Coming from a home that gets through milk so quickly we might as well keep a cow in the back garden, I naively started first year not taking the use-by-date into account. However, I quickly learnt to do the smell check instead of playing Russian roulette with my daily coco pops.

I’m forever scarred by watching my housemates pour endless bottles of curdled milk down the drain. So much so that I swapped to plant-based milk very quickly, and haven’t looked back since.

The quickest way to your housemates’ hearts is through cake
Image by Hannah Penwright

On my first day at university, the nerves quickly faded as I bonded over a love of baking with one of my new housemates. From then on, baking has become a big part of building relationships with all my housemates. From holding our own Bake Offs whilst religiously watching Great British Bake Off, to trying to secretly bake birthday cakes in a shared kitchen, to discovering new bakeries in Cardiff- cake has been a central love.

I’ll never get over how cheap Lidl is

Even after three years of shopping at Lidl every week, I still let out a little exclamation of surprise when I check my total. Even with a basketful of produce, I find it categorically impossible to spend over £10 on a week’s shop.

The biggest thing I’m going to miss when I leave Cardiff is Lidl’s chocolate hazelnut croissants. £0.45 for pure bliss? Yes PLEASE. Lidl bakery: you will always have my heart.

Cheese really is expensive

If I had a pound for every time somebody told me how expensive cheese really is, I’d have enough money to afford it myself. Being a vegetarian, cheese featured fairly heavily in my diet in first year so I quickly realised that these people were right. So much so that I learnt new veggie recipes that didn’t feature cheese so heavily, and kept it as a treat. To try and outsmart the scam that is cheese-pricing (and for environmental reasons too), I swapped to vegan cheese in my third year. I’m pretty sure it’s more expensive, but at least I’m saving the cows.

Food is, and always will be, the best way to bring people together

My favourite thing eating is the fact that it brings people together, and with so much joy. I’ll never tire of talking about food, eating together, and seeing people’s faces light up when giving them something you’ve made. I’m so thankful that I’ve been surrounded by a church family that have fed me when university work has drained the energy out of me, and the endless support over cups of coffee. I’m also so grateful to be a part of the Quench Food team, for another way to express my love for food- and the free meals out were pretty great too.

What lessons have you learnt at university? Let us know!

Instagram: @quenchfood

Write for us: email [email protected] or join the Facebook group where all pitches are posted.

Our articles: Food