Living independently-Part 1
First of all, congratulations to all the Freshers coming to Warwick this autumn! I hope you’re all excited to start the next chapter of your lives.
Moving away from home and looking after yourself can seem daunting, but remember that everyone else is in the same boat. In every accommodation block there are Residential Tutors that are there for the purpose of helping you and supporting you, especially during the first few weeks. In Arthur Vick, there was a kitchen meeting with the tutors and all the students on my floor, so this was a good way to see everyone.
To set yourself up well for starting university, I suggest that you think ahead for when you will need to cook and shop for yourself, these being skills that are so important for helping you be in good health. I have always loved cooking, so I was quite confident about cooking when I moved, however, I do know that a lot of people did not know how to cook at all. Over the 2 years that I have been at Warwick, I have learned what works well for me, and I have some tips to help you think ahead for when you arrive:
-Ensure that before you move, you know how to cook staples such as potatoes, pasta, rice and eggs.
-If you eat meat, it is vital that you know how to cook and prepare meat safely, especially white meat.
-Ask your family members or friends to show you how to cook their signature dishes – for me, I asked my Dad to show me how to make his signature vegetarian chilli and my Mum how to make her Cottage pie.
-Learn some speedy recipes – after labs I usually have a jacket potato with a filling and salad (a comforting and hearty meal to reward myself!), and other speedy meals you could chose could be omelettes or stir fries.
-Buy some student cook books because the recipes usually involve buying inexpensive ingredients and are easy to make. They often have good tips on how to cook the basics like rice, and have meal planners. But do bear in mind that some may expect you to have some utensils/equipment that you don’t have- one of mine has a lot recipes using loaf tins and food processors which I didn’t bring to university. You could also have a look online at some suggestions for what to cook, and maybe have a range of nicer meals to have over the weekend.
-Consider buying a slow cooker- all you have to do is load the ingredients in the morning, and after lectures you’ll be greeted back with the nice aroma of a meal all ready for you.
-Learn how to make simple sauces, as these are easy to make and are useful in a range of dishes. A simple tomato based sauce for pasta dishes (then just add vegetables/meat), a white sauce is great base for most dishes (easily made into a cheese sauce for pasta dishes or add parsley to make a sauce for fish), and a simple curry sauce. These are so much healthier and cheaper than buying jars of sauce.
-Bring/buy some spices and herbs to liven up your meals. I only have a few – Italian seasoning, curry powder and cinnamon seem to be enough to cover most types of meals.
If you have any questions about cooking and food prep please do get in touch J