Student Cooking, Survival Guide

  • Shepherd's Pie

Other than the obvious trip to IKEA and over-packed bags before moving away, the main question an average student asks themselves when they get to university is ‘why didn’t I learn to cook?’. The obvious is that before moving away for university most students are living at home with parents, and don’t learn to cook, clean or even do their own laundry. The perplexed faces and confused looks are really common in student halls when met with the challenges called ‘the stove’ and 'the washing machine'.

With many student basics on offer in supermarkets such as noodles, noodles, and noodles. It’s no wonder student loan starts dwindling the day after its been paid in, mostly being spent on pizza, other takeaway, and eating out at restaurants. If only there was a simpler and cheaper solution.

With most students completely unprepared to survive alone without the help of parents and family, it’s no surprise the usual conflicts in shared student housing are centred around cleanliness, lack of hygiene, and no knowledge of storing food and keeping it fresh.

The biggest mistake most students make is not preparing what they want to eat in advance. Not only would this make it so much cheaper but it would also save the stress and panic of realising you have no money, no food, and no plans at the last minute. The best way to tackle this problem is writing a list of things you liked to eat at home, and figuring out the basic costs of the ingredients. Usual student favourites like jacket potato and mac & cheese are very easy to make and a lot cheaper to cook at home than to buy at a restaurant.

Most students struggle with making friends at uni, and that includes making friends with the frozen isle at the supermarket. Not only is it easier to store foods for longer when they’re frozen, but affordable favourites like chips and breaded chicken can be found in the frozen isle. Another good piece of advice is to never food shop on an empty stomach. Lots of things will look attractive that you probably wouldn’t use and wouldn’t be interested in once you’ve had something to eat.

Here is a list of some basics that you could easily prepare for yourself whether living in halls or shared accommodation. Pasta Bake, Omelettes, Shepherd’s Pie, Spaghetti Bolognese, Fajitas, Chilli Con Carne, and Stuffed Mushrooms/ Stuffed Peppers. Not only is home cooked food healthier, but it’s a lot cheaper to make with ingredients at home and students could save a lot of money that could be spent on more important things. Like cocktails and shots.

It's also always a good idea to buddy-up with housemates and cook together. Not only will this mean you save some money by each bringing the ingredients, but cooking then becomes an enjoyable and sociable activity. Try themed nights; Mexican night with fajitas or Italian night with big bowls of hearty pasta. Cooking more than you need for dinner is a good idea as well. Freeze leftovers for nights when you don't have time to go shopping or put them in a Tupperware for lunch the next day.