A guest blog post by Max Didcote.
The life of a university student includes being confronted with a myriad of challenges that catch you off guard and leave you wishing you were back in the safety of your home. Okay that was a bit dramatic, but it does come with plenty of new obstacles to overcome, one of which is the kitchen. Coming from somebody who has set fire to spaghetti on more than one occasion I’d suggest you take a little time to acquire some basic cooking skills before setting off on your new educational adventure.
As a third-year university student, I’ve gone through highs and lows in the kitchen and I’ve seen others go through much lower. Here are some of the biggest factors that deter students from cooking:
If you’re especially studious and have lost the lottery of timetabling, you quickly find yourself in a situation where you’re out from 9 am to 6 pm, you then have textbooks to read and essays to write. The last thing on your mind is whipping up a challenging yet rewarding and flavoursome but delicate souffle after crying into a laptop for the last 10 hours.
The day is coming to a close and you can’t remember your last meal. However, all hopes of nutrition and sustenance have not been lost to the passage of time. Enter the indispensable, life-altering skill of “batch-cooking” (aka cooking and freezing), this is the number one piece of culinary advice I could give a fellow student with below-par time management skills. Batch-cooking classics include bolognese, chilli con carne and curries. Cook them in big quantities, put them in containers and put them in the freezer, then when you get back from lectures you’ll have a meal just waiting to be warmed up.
A Lack of Culinary Knowledge
More questions are asked in student kitchens than in any lecture theatre up and down the country. They may include “how long do I cook this for”, “how much of this do I use” or most commonly “does this smell off to you?” It doesn’t hurt to learn a thing or two about cooking. One quick Google for “quick and easy recipes” will give you all the information you need. Recipes are your friend. They are not challenging your way of life. Alternatively, ask a relative. I can’t think of a grandma that hasn’t waited for the day that their grandchild has come up to them and asked for her to bestow her fountain of culinary knowledge on to them. You’re a student, you’re supposed to be willing to learn!
Seeing Cooking as a Chore
The odds are you’re living with other people that don’t put much time into cooking, so why not all have a go at some more adventurous cooking together? If you’re not too passionate about cooking make it a social event, you’re all bound to get some things right and you’ll all definitely get some things wrong but at least you’ll have fun along the way. Some ideas for getting everyone to have fun in the kitchen could be:
• Theme nights: everyone in the house makes a different dish and you all eat together.
• Come dine with me: you and your housemates take it in turn to make a meal for each other (voting for the best not mandatory).
• Try and make the most sophisticated meal possible (this one never ends well).
Thanks to our guest blogger Max Didcote from Littledean who wrote this for us.
We love teaching beginners how to cook, and run a range of classes which are perfect for young people living away from home for the first time. See our classes page for all of our upcoming classes. Our next Beginners in the Kitchen is on Saturday 6th October 2018.
We also run bespoke group events, so if you have a group of young people looking to learn the basics, or particular cuisines or skills, why not book them in with us, and give yourself the reassurance that they will be able to fend for themselves in at least one way, even if they do continue to bring their washing home to you every time they visit. Contact us here.