I’ve had some pretty diverse experiences with food during my time at university, influenced by different living arrangements, budgets and philosophical leanings.
In my first year I lived in catered accommodation in Beaumont Hall in Oadby student village. We were provided with breakfast and dinner and were left to our own devices for lunch. Breakfast usually consisted of a choice of cereals, toast, yoghurt and juices and the elements of a cooked breakfast; sausage, bacon and eggs for example. The menu for dinner changed each day with a couple of options available to choose from. I really enjoyed being in catered accommodation because it eliminated one adult activity from the plethora of things you were now responsible for as a strong independent person who had flown the nest! It also meant that my housemates and I always spent at least an hour together each evening even if we’d been here there and everywhere during the day to debrief on the days events and relax.
Second year was the year of baking and recipe following! I am a real foodie and I really enjoy trying new dishes. I learnt to cook under the watchful eye of a housemate two years my senior who helped me with the basics and let me in on the secret of his amazing scrambled eggs! The more I cooked the meals from Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook, (the recipe book which mysteriously found its way into my suitcase; thanks Mum!), the more I was able to cook various meals without referring back to the recipes and get creative and substitute other ingredients for items that I’d run out of. Things got a little less exciting over busy exam and coursework periods but I was lucky enough to share cooking duties with one of my housemates; and so we would cook for one another when we were less busy and vice versa. Go team!
Third year has been the year of my culinary awakening! I am trying out and transitioning toward a vegan diet. I have never eaten so many veggies and I must say that I feel healthier and less lethargic. The downside is constant label checking while you are getting used to which products, such as crisps and biscuits, are vegan and which are not. I would also like to stress at this point that the vitamin B12 cannot be obtained through a vegan diet and as such you have to take supplements or eat fortified foods. Switching to a vegan diet forces you to learn about nutrition to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need from your new diet and I feel as though that has been no bad thing. There are lots of great vegan recipes available for free online; pinterest has been one of my favourite sources.
So I’d say that I’ve had a varied experience of food and cooking during my time at University. There are great recipe books designed for students; with simple meals for one that you don’t need all of the cooking utensils under the sun to make.
I’m off for an aubergine, tomato and red lentil curry!
Until the next time.