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Freshers Survival Guide:

Self-catering checklist

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Here are some points you may find useful if you are catering for yourself:

  • Find out what cooking facilities you will have (oven, rings, grill, microwave, gas or electricity?)
  • How many others share them?
  • Are there restrictions as to when they can be used?
  • Make sure you know how to operate them properly.
  • What about cooking utensils, pots, pans, cutlery, crockery etc?
  • Make a list of things you know you will need and check whether they are provided. A basic list could start with:
    kettle
    saucepan(s)
    frying pan
    chopping board/surface
    sharp knife
    bread knife
    wooden spoon/spatula
    ovenproof dish/bowl
    dishtowels
    tin opener
    jug
    mugs
    glasses
    plates & bowls
    cutlery
    then add whatever else you, personally, cannot do without – bottle opener, fish slice, lemon squeezer, garlic press, potato peeler, cheese grater, sieve, corkscrew.
  • What food storage space is available – particularly, how big is the fridge and who uses it? It can make a big difference if there is somewhere secure for you to store supplies rather than shopping each day.
  • Many students prefer to share buying and cooking food – it saves time and it’s good for bonding in a flat/house. It pays to be organised about it, especially where money is involved: set up a kitty, or a book where everyone writes down what they spend on communal food. And agree early what is communal and what is not: milk, coffee, cleaning stuff etc. Keep some sort of emergency supplies so you will not starve if your cook gets a last minute invitation on the way home.
  • If you have not done much cooking before, there are lots of student cook books – you’ll find them in supermarkets and bookshops.

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