Although this blog’s mainly been about the more technical aspects of the law student’s life I thought it might be a good change of pace to make a comment about actual student life. I don’t mean where can you get cheap drinks in Glasgow – there’s much more highly paid people working at advertising that. I’m thinking about the simple things in life, cooking for example.
There’s always a bit of charm inherent in seeing a ruffled looking student wandering through his student union with a Pot Noodle in his hand but that’s not how you build muscles or indeed, stave off malnutrition. There’s better alternatives out there involving real meat.
One of my schoolmates who is starting uni this autumn was given a cookery book as a present for getting in. This is an ingenious move and a much better gift than other choices – it’s much better than pens for a start (to all parents – they’ll honestly have them there, I’d recommend replacing stacks of ballpoints for a single nice one that’s more momento than notetaker) and it’s a great way of starting out in higher education. Eating (and living) healthily is the single best way to perform better at university than any other. No matter how much guilt you feel, it’s nearly always better to get an early night before an exam than to sit up trying to read what you think you don’t already know and people have pounded out essays in a state of stupor that they’ve not even been able to read, it’s not the right state of mind to be in when you work your academic magic.
The particular cookery book that my friend was given was Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food which I think has exactly the right message and aim that the average student needs – he costs everything out to a few pounds a head and focuses on food that’s nutrious and quick while still including dishes that look good enough to cook as a bit of showing off.
I’ve always really enjoyed Heston Blumenthal (his “World’s Best Burger” was something I told complete strangers about for about a week after seeing it) for the wonderful over-the-top search for quirk and quality that he pulls off but while I’m happy to let a professional chef go to that hassle for his book I’m not so interested in the concept of starting from the absolute scratch for everything and being told to use supermarket pasta is much more convenient.
That’s a good thing for students, simple, cost conscious and quite easy.
Jamie Oliver does a very good set of free video podcasts for the Ministry of Food which are available on the iTunes Music Store – each is about 5 minutes or so long and lays out an entire recipe from pot to plate and doesn’t need much more than an oven and a frying pan. The book is available from frankly nearly every bookshop out there.
You don’t necessarily need to use Jamie Oliver’s book – any book is a good foundation to being able to cook simply and well. Don’t underestimate how good having a filling meal after a long day can be, it’s worth investing a little bit of time in.