Unless you live in or rather near London and you can bring a few tools from home, whether you’re a local or international student you may need to devise a list of utensils to ensure you cook nutritious and delicious food throughout your time at university. Some questions to consider are whether you are doing a one-year or three-year programme, living with friends or strangers and how often you envision yourself cooking?
Every student will make pasta and use the oven rather regularly throughout their university days so a baking tray and colander will be rather essential. Although if you can find pots with holes in its lid it will help you to avoid having to buy a separate colander altogether. Don’t forget to buy an oven glove to keep yourself safe from burns, you need your hands for writing those essays!
The core of your kitchen should consist of: a good, large frying pan, one smaller and larger strong stainless pots, and a large and two smaller knives. Dunelm has a rather affordable set for only £16. For pans, if you’re looking for something with an ideal surface for protein or eggs and convenience non-stick would be your choice. The only pitfall to non-stick is its sensitivity as they break down at higher temperatures but cooking above medium heat is strongly advisable. Further, non-stick is easily damaged and scratched so make sure to put those wooden or silicone spoons to good use and if you look after your pan well, it can last for years! TK Maxx sells one for a mere £9.99. For single-sized servings, approximately 20-21cm in diameter is sufficient but it doesn’t hurt to upgrade if you find yourself meal prepping or having friends over often. On the other hand, a stainless steel pan lasts longer and is easier to scrub as it is almost indestructible but it will not have the non-stick factor and therefore require more oil and butter to help grease the pan.
Furthermore, wooden spoons are not only great for cooking but can be used to force pomegranate seeds out of their shell too! Then there are the items you forget you want until you need them – kitchen scissors, chopping board, spatula, peeler, lemon squeezer, a bottle and can opener. If you’re living in student accommodation or move in and find that others or your friends already have common appliances such as a kettle, toaster, blender or microwave, sharing your respective items is an even more cost and space-efficient option.
Try to avoid going out and buying every utensil you see, however tempting. Here are some tips if you’d rather not dole out the cash for extras:
- Instead of relying on a can opener make use of an older knife
- Bottle caps can be pulled back on window sills
- A small knife is just as efficient as a vegetable peeler
- Lemon and citrus fruits can be first poked with a fork and then squeezed with your bare hands instead of using a citrus juicer
- A good spoon can substitute a spatula for egg and pancake flipping
- Keep an eye out for multifunctional items