A student's essential guide to the kitchen

Meg Howe tells us about the essential items every Fresher should have in their kitchen

Meg Howe
1st October 2020
Image credit: Snappy Goat

Imagine this: it’s December and you are on your last few pounds of your student loan. The weeks are painfully slow as you wait for your second payment to drop. You are unable to afford those expensive food items you’d really like to eat... But wait! You remember that you did a ‘big shop’ in your first few weeks in Newcastle and still have some essential food items because you read this article. Read on to find out how you can save yourself from a tasteless December...

Coffee (and sugar):
Image Credit: Flickr

Coffee has become a huge essential in my cupboard since starting university. I did drink coffee during my A-level years, but maybe only once or twice a week. However, I now drink coffee every day! While I do enjoy an expensive cup from an independent coffee house, I could waste all my money that way (those are only treats), so I keep a huge jar on coffee in my cupboard. I would also recommend buying a huge bag of sugar to last you the full year in your initial shop (if you like your coffee sweet, of course), meaning you don’t have to carry another heavy bag back from the shops with you.

I always enjoy my coffee from a rather large mug, so one of these is an essential to have, too.

Base foods (ones that can be served with almost anything):
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I conducted some market research via Instagram stories, and over half of the responses that I had said rice, pasta and/or beans. Morrisons sell a 3kg bag of pasta for just under £3. So, if you’re me (someone who doesn’t eat huge portions of pasta), that would last you a pretty long time! Stocking up on these carb-enriched foods ensure you have the perfect base to go with any sauce.

In order to properly prepare pasta, I like to have two pans. One to cook the pasta, and the other to heat the sauce. I prefer this over cooking the pasta and then throwing the sauce straight on the top; it seems the taste of the sauce fades less when they're cooked separately. Add some Italian herbs, paprika and a little cayenne and you’re pretty much Gino D’Acampo!


Of course, when we think of student ‘cooking’, we think of beans on toast or canned curry. While you can make adventurous home-cooked meals with fresh vegetables from Grainger Market, the tinned substitutes don’t age and are often a better option than walking into town in the North-Eastern breeze. Chopped tomatoes and baked beans both make staple items in a full English breakfast, can be served on their own with toast, or if you’re feeling like a five-star-chef, they can be mixed in a chilli.

Another staple can has to be soup! There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup (and a soft bread loaf from the SU Co-Op) when you’re back from a cold walk home from campus.

If you’re microwaving these items, make sure to have a microwavable lid. It saves time having to clean the since of the microwave after!

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AUTHOR: Meg Howe
Passionate History student and Educator

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