What John Lewis thinks you need for uni

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Just after writing my last post, I was dashing through John Lewis and this little leaflet caught my eye:

 

What John Lewis thinks you need for going to uni

 

So, it seems John Lewis and I have some similar thoughts. I mean, a kettle is a no brainer to me, although I do notice that there are more and more “young” people who don’t do hot drinks. At least not at home.

But a food processor/smoothie maker/blender? Certainly not all three. And possibly not any. I mean, you might pack them off with a Nutribullet and good intentions, but do you reckon it’ll still be in use three weeks later?

I reckon the sandwich toaster is a much sounder idea. I mean, 3am drunken toasted cheese sandwiches feel like they’re going to be a much more regular occurence than 9am healthy smoothies. Or perhaps that was just my life at that age.

And a corkscrew is on there, but not a bottle opener. Surely just as many wine bottles come with screw caps as beer type bottles come with twist off lids, so why plan for one oddity and not the other? Or does every single corkscrew come with a bottle opener these days?

Other than that, the nation’s favourite and I are pretty much aligned.  What do you think? What’s a uni catering essential in your view?

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More to food at uni than PopTarts and Pot Noodles

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university-beckons

 

So, the results are out, places have been accepted, courses have been changed and plans are really taking shape. Which means planning for life without the parental kitchen.

How do you make sure your kids are set up for success, and at least given the skills to consider some sort of cooking and healthier eating?

It depends where they’re starting from of course. If they’ve been your kitchen helper from being small, then probably your only worry is frisking them on the way out the door to discover what kitchen equipment they’re trying to take with them.

If they’ve never, ever cooked, not even toast, then you have two approaches: one, ignore it. If you haven’t taught them anything so far, unlikely to get much to take in the weeks left. Or two, crash course, work through Delia’s Complete How to Cook Book at some pace. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Maybe skip Christmas dinner if that’s in the book.

And if they’re somewhere in between, then send them off with some decent knives, some decent saucepans and possibly a casserole dish or slow cooker. A slow cooker is one of my favourite bits of kit for turning cheap cuts into delicious dinners, and with not a big impact on the electric bill.

If you want some more detailed ideas sorted by what level their current cooking ability and interest is then check out my post “You’re going to uni. Now what?” Or if you want to send them off with a cookbook or two, then I’ve written about alternative student cookbooks, and a personal perspective on the five books I’d dispatch MGG with.

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Students are changing their eating habits

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Dine well at uni: more of a reality than it used to be

I had an email about some YouGov research just a few days after I wrote about students going off to university. According to this, it would appear that there are more novice or gourmand students than the non cooking types, which is surely good news.

Apparently almost two in five often cook food from scratch, and I don’t think it means a Pot Noodle. Around a fifth like experimenting with food and recipes, so it certainly gives me hope that not only are the students improving their skills before heading off, but it must mean that as parents we are hopefully giving them plenty of skills in advance.

Whether this means there are reducing sales of baked beans or Pot Noodles I don’t know. I’m quite partial to beans on toast myself, and I’ve not been a student in many years! Might mean that local stores might need to rethink their stock though. One former colleague shared a story of a student being upset to find that her local store did not stock capers. That’s a girl that’s been brought up properly in my view!

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What would you give a student going off to university?

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It’s that time of year when parents are waving off their offspring as they embark on degree courses. I wrote before about different kinds of student culinary habits, and what they might need, but wondered if things might have changed in the (unbelievably) five years since I wrote it.

 

Dine well at uni

 

Sadly, I am sure there are still students going off with very limited cooking skills, but wonder if it is becoming more unusual? Do you think Jamie Oliver has had any effect on young people?

I would hope that novices are at least in a majority, because I would hope lots of us as parents would set the kids up well, to at least give them a basic repertoire. Even if it’s only a dozen different things to do with mince, or pasta. Or both. I am sure it will still stand them in very good stead with room mates and friends, and not just through university.

Personally, I’d be still packing them off with a copy of Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater. Not just because it was the first cookbook I ever bought myself, but because it doesn’t rely on lots of skill, or fancy equipment. And it has (or at least in the first edition) a recipe for a Smartie sandwich.

Now if that isn’t perfect student food, I don’t know what is!

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