It’s a common issue with people who are beginning their university lives. No more parents to make your food, do your laundry and clean up after you. It’s all down to you now! So what do you need to make sure you are able to do all of these things?
1. The Kitchen
Chances are, you will not be provided with anything other than a cupboard and maybe a drawer to keep your kitchen things in. Sometimes the cupboards will have a lock on them to make sure things don’t go missing but this is not always guaranteed so find a way to make sure you know what is yours. Loads of people tend to turn up with the same things.
Here is a list of things you will need for the kitchen
- Plates – if you’re like any other student, one plate isn’t enough. Laziness is likely to mean you choose not eating over washing the plate that is festering in the corner of your room (especially the guys out there – I’ve seen this happen). Having friends over for dinner will mean you’ll need more than one plate too. It’s best to take at least two and then you have a spare if one gets broken or goes missing!
- Bowls – again, more than one is always good.
- Cutlery – often cutlery is the thing that goes missing. If you can, get a cutlery set that you don’t think anyone else will have. Make it bright, make it stand out so you always know if someone has been helping themselves to your things! Knives, forks, spoons and teaspoons often come in a pack of 16. Start off by only having one set out to limit the amount you have to keep control of.
- Saucepans – These are dependent on how much you see yourself cooking. Normally, one medium saucepan will probably do. If you enjoy serving up three course meals with all the trimmings, this one pan will not cover what you need. Judge this from what you intend to cook. I’d say one small saucepan and one medium will probably be enough.
- Frying pans – If you’re a fan of fried food then the bigger the better. Just make sure it’ll fit in the standard size kitchen cupboard as this is all you will probably have. I started with a large frying pan and barely used it so downgraded in my second year. One medium frying pan does me just fine.
- Baking tray – I chose to take one completely flat baking tray and another with raised edges. These cover me for whatever I might want to put in the oven. Some people choose to take a pizza tray too but this just takes up space, especially if – like me – you’re not a fan of pizza.
- Cooking utensils – You will need a serving spoon or maybe a wooden spoon, dependent on what you prefer and often what you are used to at home. This is good for stirring, serving and dishing up food on to plates. A fish slice is always handy to get those chips that are stuck to the tray. Some of you might want to take things like a whisk for baking etc and a potato masher as there are only so many lumps a fork can get out of mashed potato. Don’t forget your vegetable peeler. I know, vegetables might not be at the top of the list of things to eat but you’ll need them to build up energy when the freshers flu kicks in.
- Sharp knives – I’d recommend taking at least two sharp knives. This will mean you don’t have to wash the knives between cutting each vegetable and each meat item (we don’t want food poisoning). It just makes your cooking experience easier if you don’t have to keep running to the sink every few minutes. One small knife and one large knife will probably do. I’d suggest at least one has a serrated edge for tough things.
- Chopping boards – again, two is often a good number. One for meat, one for veggies.
- Measuring jug – we need to know how much water to put into our super noodles don’t we?
- Microwavable bowl – for those quick and easy microwavable dinners.
- Oven proof dish – a casserole dish will do for things like pasta bake, nachos and roasties. A good investment as they often last a long time too!
- Tin opener – so many people forget that not all tins have the handy little ring pull (why not?!) don’t get caught out trying to open those beans to go with the last bit of bread you have!
- Bottle opener – someone will need it, guaranteed they will have forgotten it too.
- Corkscrew – for the wine drinkers? Often bottles come with a screw top but better to be prepared!
- Cheese grater – cutting tiny little chunks of cheese isn’t worth it. Get a cheese grater.
- Pizza cutter – fingers do the job just as well but aren’t great if you’re sharing.
- Sieve – even if it’s not for sifting things, a sieve is surprisingly handy to drain the water out of rice to save it falling through the holes in the colander.
- Colander – using a slotted spoon to scoop those frozen vegetables onto the plate takes ages if you’re trying to drain the water at the same time!
- Kitchen scissors – can save time cutting meat into small pieces and even good for cutting pizza if you don’t have a pizza cutter.
- Tea towels – Can be doubled as oven gloves if you don’t have any.
- Washing up sponge and liquid – I know, washing up isn’t the most common thought people have when they go to university but you will have to do it.
- Oven gloves – Best not to burn yourself. Tea towels work but not as well.
- Plastic boxes and lids – good for storing leftover food and can be frozen too. Get tubs you can put in the microwave for quick easy meals. Also, writing your name on the box and the lid will help you to keep track as often they look the same.
- Sandwich bags – for those awkward bags of rice or pasta that split.
- Cling film – to cover up the leftover takeaway food that will make your lunch tomorrow
- Tin foil – will make your baking trays last longer and look cleaner. Also can save on the washing up.
- Glasses – pint glasses often do the trick. Wine drinkers might want to take a wine glass but be careful as these break a lot easier. Plastic cups and shot glasses are better for pre-drinks.
- Bin bags – should be provided but even if you don’t use them in the kitchen bin, they can make good fancy dress for a night out.
Feel free to message me if there is anything you feel I have left out. I have added in everything that I took with me to university in the first year and everything that I forgot to buy initially. I know, it’s a lot and not all of it will apply to all of you but it’s better to have everything ready and be prepared.
Having a box that you can keep under your bed or in a cupboard in your room is often a good idea as you might find there is not enough cupboard space to keep all of your kitchen equipment and food items in the same place. This also saves on things going missing if you don’t have locks on the cupboard doors.
In the next post I will be talking about what you will need to take with you for your bedroom.