When I moved to Southampton for university I went shopping with my mum and step-dad for food, duvet sets and various other bits crucial for every student (or at least crucial according to a guide my mum found on line). The main thing however, was of course food, it took up the majority of the trolley and most of the receipt.
This being said, over the past year and a half I’ve spent at university I have started adding bits to my own kitchen. Just a few essentials which I didn’t feel I needed until I started cooking proper food as opposed to frozen meal deals.
So, what food is needed to build a student kitchen?
There are 5 categories when creating meals; bulking up, spices and seasoning, frozen goods, cupboard basics and diary products.
This is pretty much covered by pasta and rice but if you’re a fan of porridge then oats are a great addition. Most major supermarkets offer 1kg bags of pasta and rice which are perfect, because they will last ages and aren’t massively costly either. So in the long run you end up spending pennies on a portion of pasta.
Spices and seasoning
A large tub of olive oil is crucial, especially because if you try to fry sausages without oil you will end up possibly burning the house down. Not that I ever did.
As for seasoning to start with you only really need to basics; salt and pepper. However, if you feel like being more adventurous a couple of great staples are; chopped garlic, Italian herbs, fajita seasoning, chilli flakes, sesame seeds, soy sauce and sesame oil.
When cooking for one you need to ensure you don’t buy too much food which will go off quickly, things like chicken and mince taste better if they’re fresh, however have short date lives.
So, my suggestion is to invest in freezer bags. These are great because you can bag up individual chicken breasts and portions of mince and then grab a bag out to defrost in the morning and make a meal in the evening.
You also want to ensure you have a bag of frozen vegetables in your freezer as they work to bulk up any meal. Frozen fruit is also a crucial element as you don’t have to fear about it going off and you can remain healthy.
Okay, this is going to be a long list but an important one. Judge how much cupboard space you have before you hit the supermarket though.
Tins; tomatoes, beans, soup and tuna
Carbohydrates; new potatoes, cereal and bread
Sauces; mayonnaise, tomato ketchup and peanut butter.
Essentials; onions and eggs
Most students only get one shelf
in a fridge, so you need to be strategic about what goes into the fridge. Personally, I don’t keep much in my fridge due to eating mostly out of the freezer and cupboard.
There are some key bits which you will want to keep in your fridge though; milk, yoghurt, butter, cheddar cheese and a bag of salad leaves.