How to cook
It's not rocket science. But without a few key tools and cupboard staples, you're going to struggle.
Money aside, being able to fix up your own meals is a good skill to have anyway. It's a great excuse to get some friends over for a night in, and it might even help you out in the romance stakes. Think about it: 'I'd love to cook you dinner tomorrow night' sounds better than 'yeah, we can grab a kebab before the film starts' if you've got seduction in mind.
In the time it takes to heat up most ready meals, you can rustle up a pasta or a chilli done just the way you like it, and at a fraction of the cost. You just need a simple cookbook for ideas (there are loads of student cookbooks out there) and a few bits of kit to get you started.
Basic kitchen equipment:
Two pans with lids
Baking dish with lid
Salt and pepper
Margarine or butter
Mixed herbs or Italian seasoning
Curry paste or powder
Rice, noodles and dried pasta
Tins of chopped tomatoes
Tins of beans
On top of this, all you have to do is buy milk, bread, potatoes, other vegetables, fruit, and meat and fish, or vegetarian alternatives. Fruit and veg is cheapest if you get it from the greengrocer or off the market, and it pays to make friends with your local butcher or fishmonger.
Okay, sometimes you don't have time to cook properly, especially if you're rushing out to meet friends or have clubs and societies meetings. You can still throw together a snack like beans on toast or an omelette without too much stress before it's time to head out the door.
If you can't get home, there are still a few takeaway options that are reasonably cheap and healthy. Go for baked potatoes, noodles in soup, chicken shish kebabs, or pizza (but not with extra cheese or pepperoni) if you want to keep your diet balanced.
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