Food&Drink Writer Georgina Bissett shares her food-related goals for the new uni year
Starting university involves a host of new things; new people, new places and, for many, the start of having to do your own cleaning, washing, and cooking. In first year I lived in meal plan accommodation, so I didn’t have to worry about the last part. The ability to go and get food, ready in front of me, every day was certainly something I took for granted.
Faced with the new challenge of cooking for myself, and before doing my first food shop of the year, I began to think to myself about setting some ‘food resolutions,’ or personal ground rules about how I intend to shop, cook, and eat.
These resolutions, for the new academic year, will hopefully not be as notoriously difficult to stick to as many people’s often unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. I am starting as I mean to go on, and whatever the outcome, here’s what I am aiming to do:
Fortunately, for many reasons, vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more and more widespread. It is not something I have previously been able to rigidly stick to, but now, with the agency of doing my own weekly shop, I am embarking on a new vegetarian journey. For a student, it is far more budget-friendly. Filling up on vegetables is also much healthier, and as widely publicised, significantly better for our planet, which is my primary reason for this resolution.
This one is less of a resolution, more something I have discovered whilst peering into my fridge and discovering that I had several ingredients hidden behind other things needing to be used up. Less is certainly more as it prevents waste, and saves money, with everything purchased being used up. It is very easy in a large supermarket to overestimate the amount of food you need in a week. Food seems to go out of date incredibly quickly, so keeping tabs on the expiry date is important. This can often lead to interesting and exciting new flavour combinations from the mish-mash of ingredients thrown into a dish at the last minute.
Prepare food in advance.
Following the above point, it is easy for produce to go out of date before you have had a chance to cook with those specific ingredients. Personally, I have found that if I am making a meal, I often end up overestimating portion sizes, so deliberately cooking more than intended means you can eat the leftovers for dinner the next day, or for lunch on campus. Meal-prepping also creates so much time during the week if your meal has already been made; it is a very welcome thing when returning from a long day of lectures.
Don’t buy drunk food.
At the end of a night out, there is nothing better than some nice cheesy chips or some nuggets. The abundance of chicken shops also makes the first resolution, of eating vegetarian, more tempting to break. However, coming home with your friends and putting some frozen chips in the oven is so much kinder to your bank account than overpriced, low quality, low hygiene-rated drunk food.
Bring a packed lunch.
If you compare the price of a weekly food shop with a burrito on campus, or a burger from joe’s bar, you will notice that one meal can end up being around half as much as two bags of shopping. Bringing leftovers from the night before, or making a quick sandwich in the morning is far cheaper for your bank account and you can avoid the huge queues all over campus when Old Joe strikes 12pm.
Will these resolutions immediately be broken? Hopefully not, however we all have moments when we cave, or crave something a bit different. I intend to use these resolutions as a basis for exploring new recipes, mastering what exactly I need to buy each week, and finding my groove with cooking for myself.