Ive been there, wanting to eat good food but struggling to pay for the overpriced accommodation. Food is important, and there are things you will learn while at university. Heres a few tips to get you started.
1. Shop in your local World Food store
Every town has one. You have seen it already but are too scared to go inside. The menagerie of smells escapes the door, youre slapped with curry spices, chillies, fruits and vegetables from around the world. It truly is a feast for the senses.
There are things you cant find it generic superstores. The main thing I struggled to find was plantain, one of my favourite foods. I looked everywhere. I thought at least Waitrose would have it, but no, I was wrong. The only place I could find it was a world food shop.
Not only do they have unusual foods and spices, it can also be cheaper and friendlier. Because world food shops are smaller, you will see familiar faces if you keep going back. If you have ever been to scared to go in to a world food shop, or felt like you wont be welcomed, just do it. They are fantastically kind places.
2. Ready meals are expensive
They taste bad, are awful for you and are expensive. But theyre quick. Is this a good payoff? No, not at all. If you know youre going to be in a rush, make enough food the night before and reheat the leftovers. Curries, chili or stews are foods that are great when reheated. Put the leftovers in a container, wait for it to cool down, put a hat on it and pop it in the fridge.
Not only are they expensive, but they are also incredibly bad for you. You may look at the values that are given in the traffic light system and think it has low fat, how can it be bad for you? Unfortunately, there are many preservatives and additives put into the meal to make it last longer, and taste edible. These arent listed in an obvious way, but you can see them if you read the ingredients on the back. Take caution while at university. Its easy to get lost in the festivities of freshman life, drinking, partying, eating quick meals. It will catch up on you if youre not careful. Take that extra thirty minutes and create food yourself. It will make you happier, and healthier.
3 Learn how to reheat certain food
Not all food can be reheated the same way. Pasta, for example, is almost inedible when reheated wrong. In fact, pasta should not be reheated, it will never turn out as good as the day before. But if you desperately want to have the leftovers, make additional sauce and stir through the additional pasta.
When reheating rice, add a small amount of water before microwaving. This will stop the rice from drying out. Additionally, you could fry the rice, add egg, garlic, ginger and spring onions and make egg fried rice.
Meats can be eaten cold if stored properly. I would not recommend reheating meat unless doing it a certain way. If I have leftover meat, I usually cut it into small bite-size chunks and fry it through with rice and make meat fried rice. Either that, or I just eat it cold with salad.
4. Use this time to try new things
While at university, I ate more vegetarian meals than I ever have in my life. Was it because I was surrounded by vegetarians in the West country where local produce was more commonplace? Maybe. But it opened a world of food that I had never delved into before. I want to try being vegetarian from now on, starting in 2020.
There are just under 200 countries on Earth, all brimming with new recipes to try. Bored of English food? Try Italian. Bored of Italian? Cook a Ghanaian curry with a side of fried plantain. Experiment with new ideas. I tried cooking Jackfruit for the first time ever. Did it go well? No, not at all. But I had fun and thats what matters.
5. Learn the basics of home cooking
While you have time to binge watch your favourite TV shows, why not learn the basics of cooking? There is something called the 5 Mother Sauces: Bchamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Tomato. These Mother sauces form the basis of many secondary sauces. Obviously, these take a lot of time to make. But home cooking can be a fun, rewarding and healthy hobby to pick up. Want to impress your friends? Give them a bowl of Bchamel for Christmas.
Learn how to cook vegetables. When I was younger I thought that vegetables were just generally overly soft and flavourless. No, this is because people over-boil everything. I dont even boil my vegetables anymore. If I can roast it, I will. If it cant be roasted, Ill still try. You dont know how good vegetables can get until you have tried Blackened cauliflower.