Leaving home for the first time bound for university is filled with unknowns and it may also be the first time you’ve had to cook and cater for yourself. Knowing how to cook is a great skill to have, particularly when you’re trying to make new friends. With a bit of help from Kitty, a student at Nottingham Trent, we find out what you need to get started.
A Cut Above
“A good set of knives should be high on your list”, says Kitty. “They don’t need to be expensive but you will need a few different types so you can slice bread, meat and vegetables easily and without cutting yourself.” Having a few knives also means there should be at least one clean when you need to prepare a meal! “Pick up a couple of chopping boards, too, one you can keep just for raw meat or fish. Plastic ones are best”, advises Kitty.
We’re not suggesting that as a student you’ll exist on all day breakfasts, but a good frying pan will help you cook up a whole range of foods. “If you get a big frying pan you’ll be able to make stir-fries which are cheap and really good for you. If you can afford a separate wok, that’s great, but a large frying pan will do nicely”, Kitty explains.
“Lots of the larger supermarkets sell a selection of pans aimed at students, so take advantage of these cheaper ones and they’ll easily see you through three or four years at uni. Make sure you get a big one that will help you cook cheap and healthy staples like pasta and rice.” Kitty’s advice is good. The saucepans you buy now need not last a lifetime. Add a large colander to your shopping list, too, for draining.
Draws for Thought
You’ll need to kit out your cutlery draw with a few basics aside from knives, forks and spoons. “Buy yourself a couple of large serving spoons, some cheap measuring scales and definitely a can opener – you’ll be lost without one!” Add to that list a fish slice; there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to extricate a lovely soft fried egg from a frying pan without one.
Aside from your tools of the trade Kitty recommends buying some essential store cupboard ingredients designed to help bring some variety to your cooking. “Buy olive oil for cooking – it’s good for you and also nice on salads”, she says. “Always keep onions, a can of tuna and a few pasta sauces in your cupboards so you’ve got the basis for something quick and nutritious when you’re in a rush or out of ideas.”
Staying healthy means eating good, nutritious food. Kitting your kitchen out with these basic essentials means you’ll have everything you need to put together a small repertoire of reliable, tasty meals. That should be enough to keep you away from the local kebab van, even if you don’t always manage your five a day.