The student’s guide to not getting scurvy
The Student Digestive: Food blogger Deborah Ryan goes back to basics to show how simple cooking can be
And that’s how the student crumbles. Adulting is hard. College can be that soft cushion-y transition.
It still requires you to be that bit more independent; you have to buy cleaning supplies, make your own doctor’s appointments (or just hope you never get sick) and cook actual food. Well here I’m not going to make your doctor appointment, I’m no expert on cleaning supplies, but I can help with the food side of things. Student diets can be dire.
This is a column that attempts to show students how simple it can be to cook without a lot of effort. Don’t be that kid that eats a tin of tomatoes for dinner instead of turning on the oven (trust me, I’ve heard worse stories).
Budget is a huge issue when cooking as a student. It can be hard to buy actual food from nice supermarkets when the amount in your bank account is less than your age.
Cooking as a poor and tired student is about being creative, making odd combinations of the food that’s in your cupboard and somehow making it actually edible and taste nice. Not tinned tomatoes. On their own.
With a fork.
These recipes will not change the world. They are simple and easy. Sometimes you just need fresh ideas for cooking when you’re a student, especially when you’re constantly lacking sleep and brain power.
Let’s go way back to basics.
Before you start, kit out your kitchen with some basic ingredients and equipment. Use this time when you still have savings from your summer job to prepare for when you have €5 to last a week. Obviously, improvise where you can but sometimes it’s just easier to have the right tools.
Students spend their lives in a suspended state of being hungover/exhausted/over-caffeinated,so let’s not make food too complicated
Some extra tools in your grim college kitchen can make life a lot easier
1. Wooden spoon
Cheap and way more useful than you may think
2. Flat spatula
Think of the pancakes.
3. Slotted spoon
Handy for pasta and eggs and saves mess
4. Can opener
The student classic. Those tinned tomatoes won’t open themselves!
5. Chopping board
Get one or two plastic ones. Try and keep one for meat and one for vegetables
6. Chopping knife/ small knife/ bread knife.
They will be as sharp as a spoon by the end of the year sadly
Try and get a box grater so you can change the rate of grate.
You can generally get these things pretty cheap. Go procrastinate on your walk home from college and look in places like Tiger and Dunnes.
The Food Basics
These can really up your food game. Pick up some ground cumin, chilli flakes, paprika, coriander etc. The jars cost around 50c and will last all year.
Buy a pack in most big supermarkets, it’ll cost a few euro but again it will last for ages and it really makes all food taste better than with table salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Either buy a cheap pepper grinder or else Aldi does a good jar of cracked black pepper which is easier and still tastes as good
Always have these in the house. Buy a pack of ginger, peel it with a spoon and chop into thumb-sized chunks and freeze in sandwich bags. This way, you can grab the amount you want and use it without leaving behind a mass of sad ginger in your cupboard.
Find an empty jar or small dish and keep your heads of garlic in there. They should last a few weeks at a time.
Suck it up. They will make you cry. They add sweetness to a dish and absorb flavour well. I tend to use red onions more just because I find them more versatile. Just let it all out and cry over an onion.
Cooking in college requires imagination with the least amount of effort is used, like finding odd ingredients in the back of the cupboard to use so you don’t have to go to the shop and spend the last of your €7.41 budget of the week.
Student kitchens are grim places that you don’t want to spend a lot of time in anyway so let’s try to keep it simple here and make some real food.