Procrasta-baking is your new worst enemy…
No one gets to uni having complete food knowledge (not even the people doing culinary arts). Uni is just as much about finding your identity as it is getting a degree. For a lot of people, food is a part of that. Here are some of the phases you’ll probably go through as a uni foodie.
1. The Fresher
You’re new to college/uni. You’ll have a minimalist cooking set and maybe 1 or 2 bits of crockery. You’re settling in and finding the good people you’ll spend the next 2-4 years of your life living with. Then comes Fresher’s Week: A whole week of drink deals, eating take out, getting to know your classmates, and even more drinking. If it’s not a liquid dinner then it’s a pizza at 4am. Little to no cooking done here, but it doesn’t matter. Just enjoy it before the loans dry up. Speaking of which:
2. The Broke Fresher/The Mad Scientist Phase.
Better get used to all the different ways you can make Ramen. A tight budget means restrictions on what you can afford to make. Don’t be afraid to get creative. I still stand by my belief that Chinese Five Spice works in Mac and Cheese.
3. The Let’s Celebrate Everything Phase
Chinese New Year… Christmas Dinner before everyone goes home… Birthday Party Buffet (with party rings and caterpillar cake)… Summer BBQs. It takes a lot to organise this sort of stuff and orchestrate the cooking. Plan for everyone to bring something and don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t go to plan. You have plenty of time to get as many foodie celebrations nailed as possible.
4. The Explorer Phase
After months of living frugally, the final summer loan/grant comes in. You’ve got the cash to buy more complex cooking gear and more interesting ingredients. When you go home you can stretch your money by offering to cook at home in exchange for not having to pay for ingredients. This point will lead to more focused food study. For me, it started with finding SORTEDfood through Feast of Fiction, and learning to bake!
5. The “Come Dine with Me Contestant” Phase
2nd Year is when you start to take everything seriously (hopefully) so the regularity of your drinking drops and staying in becomes much more tempting. It’s time to put what you learned over the Summer to good use. Having mates over for dinner can become an easy bonding ritual, a chance to relax and make the good times roll.
6. The Overworked Phase
If you didn’t have a job in First year and starting to feel a little desperate, you may start looking for part time work which means even less time for cooking. Batch prep for the week, use a slow cooker and constantly be on the lookout for tips. Check out some of SORTED’s articles on tips for shortening prep time. It’ll revolutionise the way you think about cooking.
7. The BBQ Phase
The King/Queen of the grill. Summer time means getting your BBQ on. Whether that means a disposable BBQ and a couple of sausages in your building’s car park, or going full hog, just make sure you’re having fun with your mates! It’s not long before you have to leave uni and do grown up things.
8. The Health Conscious Phase
Years of drink and food have taken their toll. What’s important is not to get disheartened or feel guilty. If you choose to be a bit more health conscious, that’s great! There are a lot of options for workouts and diets. Have a go and make them fun, you never know what you might learn.
9. Final Year Phase
You literally have no time for food unless it’s the weekend. Your choice in these situations is to either starve, eat take out or bulk prep the week’s meals. Dissertation and revision means brain food so be sure to double stack that iron, omega 3 and blueberries. Take breaks but don’t Procrasti-Bake… Much.
Will Cowley runs the Student Chow profile on SORTEDfood and also has a tumblr blog. He frequently writes about all aspects of student life: Health, fitness, partying, budgeting and most of all, eating! Don’t forget to follow him and keep your eyes peeled for more great pieces about foodie life as a student!