Food, glorious food. Since starting university, it’s taken over my mind.
Food, glorious food. Since starting university, it’s taken over my mind. Forget the degree, my main priority lies with what to have for breakfast, lunch and the most exhausting of them all, what to cook up for my evening meal. Oh, and then there’s the snack ideas that I sit and creatively whisk up for in-between. These are what I like to call, ‘procrastination brain food,’ to deter my mind from my degree, yet again.
Before having the responsibility of cooking my own meals, I was completely oblivious to the hassle of ‘the full shop.’ It’s literally what I dread most about my week. In living so far away from any civilisation, stuck in my abode of student accommodation in Ranmoor, the closest, big supermarket is a Tesco Metro. And even this is considerably small. Every Monday after lectures, this deadly chore commences, having to wait for the always late 120, to then cart my heavy bags on and off the chaotic bus, to then hike up Shore Lane.
I appreciate Tesco’s efforts in trying to make my experience more enjoyable, kindly providing shopping baskets that you can actually pull along, quite like a suitcase, but almost on every expedition into the shop, I either run over someone’s toe with it or walk into someone else’s. Yet I must confess, on occasions I have used these clever baskets as my weapon to stampede through the pesky crowds—watch out people!
What I find most annoying about this ‘full shop’ is that it is actually never full. Tesco Metro’s shelves are pretty much empty every time I visit, with struggles to find simplicities such as cherry tomatoes, or even slimy chicken breasts other than the Tesco value brand.
As I stroll around the isles, I get so easily enticed by the offers they have on show, but its food I have to remind myself that I don’t even need. After spending way over my budget on food before Christmas, this semester, I now write a carefully planned list before every food shop, and even plan out my meals for every evening in advance; commitment right there.
Now I know what ingredients I need for each planned meal, my weekly spending budget for food is considerably reduced. However, witnessing the not so appetising meals written down on a piece of scrap paper, does cause much stress and worry as I then try to be more creative with my meals, which inevitably end up as, ‘Monday: Jacket with tuna, Tuesday: Fajitas…’
A great idea that stemmed from my ever so domestic mother is to cook meals in bulk. When buying meat, instead of splitting it up into portions, and having jars still half filled with sauce lying in the fridge for days, I now cook meals such as spaghetti bolognaise and chilli con carne in family sized portions, which I then divide into 4 meals after its been cooked, and then freeze them.
This is perfect as a lot of jars actually state that they serve 4 people, not just the one student that I naively believed back in September. This style of cooking is great for when I’m feeling lazy—I have ultimately made my own healthy microwave meals that I just whack out of the freezer and watch spin around in the microwave.
Consequently, I urge any student out there experiencing the same troubles, to invest in some microwavable containers to divide your meals into. This great trick also stops over eating, with a lot of last year spent eating 1 and a half sized portions, as I didn’t really know what to do with that little extra bit of meat I’d cooked. Solution solved.
As I’m getting to terms with my own cooking experiences and solutions, with my new method of a planned out list and bulk cooking, hopefully I can now enter Tesco with ease and enthusiasm instead of my previously stressed dawdling antics.