Eight Kinds of Cooks You’ll Meet in Halls
For the majority of students, living in halls will be their first time living with people other than their family. For some, it may be the first time they have to cook for themselves – others, not so much. Living with strangers can make for an interesting insight into how the other half lives –and how they cook.
Beans-on-toast. Cheese-on-toast. Jam-on-toast. Spaghetti-on-toast. Cereal-on-toast. Toast-on-toast-on-toast. You get the idea. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if it is food, then it can be put on top of slightly burnt-around-edges to transform it into a meal.
Are they even cooking if the air in the kitchen doesn’t hurt to breathe? From bacon to broccoli, there’s nothing they can’t burn – you’re pretty sure they burnt water once. Of course, if the fire alarm isn’t going off, it’s not done yet.
You’re pretty sure they’ve earnt your kitchen a Michelin star. They know exactly which herbs and spices will pair perfectly with any dish, and their presentation skills are unrivalled. Every night it’s something different – and every night, it’s something amazing. You have no idea how they have the time, or how they fit it in their budget.
They’ve been cooking since 7am. They’ve made 25 portions of lasagne, 22 portions of chili, three litres of macaroni cheese, and 12 bowls of veggie curry. It’s all just cooling down to go in the freezer now – with all the sausage casserole, spaghetti bolognese and lentil soup they made yesterday, that should be enough frozen dinners to last until at least their last exam. It looks repetitive, but they assure you they’ve freed up so much time that it’s worth it.
Come to think of it, you’ve never seen them in the kitchen. Do they live on Xananas? Do they have a secret passage to Rootes Grocery Store in their room? Do they photosynthesise? The world may never know.
You hear kitchen cupboards slam and the frying pan being put on the hob. The fridge door opens, and you glance at your phone. It’s 03:17 on a Tuesday, but that doesn’t surprise you – same time every week. You’ve got a nocturnal flatmate, and this is normal now. Ah, well – as long as they don’t set the fire alarm off…
Every so often, you come back from lectures and there’s a note on the counter: “Please help yourself! J”. It’s next to some baked delicacy, fresh from the oven – apple pie, carrot cake, chocolate muffins, gingerbread – you name it, they’ve made it. They’re a wonderful person, and cake nearly always appears when you’re having a bad day.
This flatmate knows the exact times that Tesco starts marking their food down, and shops entirely based on the whim of the reduced section. Looks like it’s an onion and a tube of Primula cheese tonight – but sometime they turn up gold, like that time pizzas were reduced to 14p.
Of course, not everyone will fall into one of these categories – most people will be a little bit of everything at least once or twice. It’s all just a matter at figuring out how to get along with a variety of cooking styles in the same kitchen – and just hoping they don’t set the fire alarm off in the middle of the night!