The kitchen can be the heart of your student house, somewhere that everyone comes together to be sociable no matter what is going on in terms of hangovers, study deadlines, exams and relationships.
Keep your kitchen tidy
Perhaps other than the bathroom, this is the one room in a student house that really needs some cleaning love. Do you really want to eat your morning toast off a dirty counter because there are no plates and can you really handle cooking in dirty pots and pans. There’s really no reason for student kitchens to be any more out of control than any other kitchen and it will be a much more pleasant environment to be in if everyone agrees to wash up, wipe down surfaces, wipe the cooker top and empty the bin regularly.
Perhaps one of the main bonding moments in student houses is mealtimes. If you and your housemates cook and eat together you’ll find you’re able to save money and also be a much tighter group when it comes to dealing with any issues that arise. Plus, it’s a great social occasion and much more fun than sitting in your room with a pot noodle. You might even find that you’re a bit of a Heston Blumenthal when you’re trying to create a lasagna out of macaroni and tomato puree.
Invest in accessories
It doesn’t cost a lot these days to get a decent toaster and kettle and a few little extras that will make your life easier and make the kitchen feel like home. A bread bin, drying rack, good chopping boards and knives can make for a better cooking experience and your housemates might be more inclined to wash up and look after better quality kitchen equipment too.
Kitchens can be a source of hot disputes so set the boundaries from the start. Allocate food cupboards and have a no thieving rule – or admit to it and replace it if there’s a milk emergency or a pasta drought. Make it clear that everyone needs to do their own washing up as soon as the plate/pan/fork is finished with. Once kitchen stuff sits around covered in grease and food for a day or so no one is going to want to go anywhere near it.
Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean that you can’t really enjoy feeding yourself (and maybe your housemates too). Plus, you’ll find you have better concentration, more energy and a clearer head if you’re not existing on a diet of pizza, toast and fizzy drinks.
Soup – the king of the cheap meal, you can make a soup from any vegetables that you have, plus a stock cube and 500ml of hot water. Add rice, barley or noodles to bulk it up and herbs and spices to give it flavour.
Pasta – a student classic and fantastic in terms of cost but don’t go for a jar of sauce filled with sugar, make your own instead with chopped tomatoes, olive oil and fresh basil.
Kebab – doner kebabs really aren’t that nice are they, and with your entire calorie allocation for one day in a single portion it’s a quick way to pile on the pounds. Make your own kebabs instead – grill chicken or fish covered in dried herbs or go for halloumi and vegetables like courgette, pepper and mushroom. Serve with yogurt and rice for half the calories and twice the taste.