News & Features

The Great Student Menu

The Great Student Menu – By Rachel Watson

Have you ever seen someone cook a pizza that turned out both raw and burnt? Ever seen someone accidentally leave some chicken in the oven overnight and wake up to clouds of smoke the next morning? Ever met someone who can’t cook toast? These are just some of the disasters that could be waiting for you in halls but here are just a few tips to avoid becoming one of these disaster chefs.

  1. Start early – get some simple recipes from whoever does the cooking in your house and watch them cook before you move out. Offer to help even, the best way to find out new things is by doing it yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask your mum or dad for advice – I phoned my mum the first time I made a few dishes just to double check I was actually making something edible.
  2. Take these recipes and add your own spin on them. The best way to find out what you like and what you don’t is by experimenting with different things and so you’re not eating the same things over and over again.
  3. Vegetables are not only healthy for you, but they’re also tasty so should definitely make up a big part of your student diet. As anti-student  as that sounds, it’s one way to avoid the inevitable freshers illness that gets us all eventually. Plus eating meat in every meal can work out pretty expensive so Meatless Mondays isn’t a bad idea.
  4. If you’re staying in halls, you will have a flat freezer – so try your best to make great use of this. Make food in bulk, a big pot of chilli or bolognese and freeze what you don’t eat. This means that if you ever find that you can’t be bothered cooking one day you have a healthier option than a ready meal or a takeaway. Plus buying extra mince or chicken and then freezing portions of it works out cheaper in the long run.
  5. Do yourself a favour and don’t spend a fortune on pre-cut vegetables and grated/sliced cheese – as someone who works in a supermarket, I constantly see  people spending extra money each week just so they don’t have to cut and grate. You pay more, but actually end up with less cheese and veg.

Remember, you don’t have to come armed with a repertoire of different recipes at the beginning of university. These things are learned with time. Learn to enjoy experimenting with different types of food and find out what your speciality is and the things to avoid making. Most of your fellow students will be in the same boat, so you can rely on each other in all food decisions, good or bad. Good luck in all your cooking adventures!

Featured photo credit – Emma MacLachlan