Not all of us come to uni as fully-trained 5-star chefs, and our limited gyp facilities don't make things any easier. So, if you want to try cooking for yourself instead of going to trough (whether that’s to be healthier, save money or any number of other reasons), I’ve put together some of my best tips that will hopefully make the transition easier for you.
You can definitely start slow by making breakfast for yourself and eating lunch and dinner in trough. Not only is going to trough one of the best ways to socialise during freshers’ week, but your first weeks at Cambridge will already be exciting and intense enough without you worrying about recipes or cleaning kitchen utensils.
Stock up on the basics
Running to Sainsbury’s every other day to pick up
some pasta will inevitably lead to you blowing your budget on sweets and snacks, again. Bulk-buying anything non-perishable that you will need a lot of (like spices, coffee and rice) at the beginning of term will definitely save you a lot of money (and time).
Planning and prepping
You don’t have to come up with an elaborate meal plan every week, but roughly noting down what you want to make can be super helpful to make sure you don’t end up with a bunch of veggies but nothing to eat them with!
Corridors who cook together, stay together
Cooking in a group is a lot more fun and can provide a welcome distraction from work! It’s great if you want to be social over lunch and dinner but aren’t convinced by what trough has to offer. And a bonus: it’s cheaper because you can split the costs!
Food delivery for lazy chefs
Some people enjoy a good Sunday night Sainsbury’s shop and lugging their packed (reusable!) shopping bags back to Pembroke – I’m not one of those people. The most useful discovery I made in first year was having my supermarket shopping delivered straight to College.
Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore!
Try to treat cooking as a break from work or a way to relax rather than an additional thing you have to do. If you don’t enjoy it and it stresses you out too much there’s absolutely no shame in sticking to trough - but do give cooking for yourself a try!
Gyp cooking inspiration: Creamy One-Pot Pasta
What you’ll need: pasta
one red bell pepper
two cloves of garlic
a couple of teaspoons of red curry paste
a couple of handfuls of diced tomatoes
Heat some oil in a large pot and sauté the onion for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic, courgette and red bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add all the remaining ingredients, except the cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes (uncovered and on medium heat), then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!