How to survive feeding time at the zoo… Or university I should say

Now, the thought of living on your own with freedom away from parents and siblings is a great one! And trust me since September, when I was given this freedom, it has been great. However as a student you DO NOT realise how tedious, boring and time consuming dinner is. I come from a family who enjoy good food, fresh ingredients and high end restaurants. I know how to cook but seriously my university persona lives off pasta and veg. I have attempted to cook but yeah, I vow not to cook proper meals until I have my cute, cosy, and CLEAN flat. On my own. There are several reasons for this:


1. Try fitting 6 growing 2 teenagers (2 of whom are boys and we all know they are dragons and eat for about 3 people each) around a cooker which has 4 hobs. Hello? This just isn’t going to work. Elbows nudging as you’re frantically trying to see whether your pasta is ‘el dente’, trying to flambé your mushrooms in a white wine jus to coat your Italian staple. No. Just stick it on a spare hob, stick the timer on for 14 minutes. Bish, Bash, Bosh, dinners ready.


2. I have cooked proper meals once or twice because I do enjoy cooking, I really enjoy cooking but then the dreaded question from your flatmate who is eating beans on toast.. ‘Ah that smells well nice, can I try?’. Right, okay. What can I say to that? ‘Er no, you eat your aldi microwave meal while I eat this exquisite meal I’ve just slaved over the hob with for 30 minutes?’ and risk losing a friendship or grin and bear it. Me being me, I grin and bear it. In my time at university, I have cooked a tuna pasta bake, an aubergine bake and a lemon, chilli and prawn pasta. They were delicious and my flatmates thought so too.


3. Any real cook will tell you that cooking is much more enjoyable in a clean kitchen with working appliances. Anybody that knows about student living will tell you this is a matter to rather laugh at. If you don’t laugh, you’d cry. Walking into our kitchen, the first thing you see is bins and bin bags and lots of them. You see my flatmates think that when the bin is full, you just leave the bag there. Something will happen to it. Yes that something is me walking down to the bins in my fluffy slippers late at night. We also don’t have a dishwasher so dishes DO NOT get washed properly. Looking at ‘clean’ frying pans, you’d think my flatmates thought the grease and oil on the pan was a clean shine. No its dirt. Dirty dirt. And I do not want to cook in someone else’s bacon fat. Not even to cook bacon.


4. Sometimes and this is shocking, it is easier to pretend that you, like your flatmates do not know anything about food. It saves exasperation and questions. Listening to one flatmate asking why my prawns were grey and another one telling her if was because they had been boiled rather than fried was truly deafening. Selective hearing is needed for university.


So all in all, university isn’t the place for cooking high end meals. I suggest you get a pan, a frying pan, pasta and rice. Along with some core essentials like chicken (no other meat as this would surprise and shock your flatmates). If you’re feeling really experimental put vegetables in your pasta sauce, from a jar obviously. Then why not throw in some pine nuts and say you’ve been influenced by China. Yes this happened in my flat. Hopefully now, you will realise that uni kitchens are not for cooking.

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