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March 20, 2016 | by  | in PGSA |
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PGSA

When I look back at my undergraduate days, I shudder at the amount of fast food I ate (coming from America, this is not uncommon). I did not know how to cook, and when I did it usually ended up a tasteless disaster.

One would think that after graduating college I would have learned how to cook. Well, not really. I was spoiled by my family who were making me delicious meals.

Then postgraduate life happened. I moved to a foreign country and realized that I needed to learn how to freaking cook.

Moving into my current flat was one of the best things that happened to me. I moved in with three people and they decided that each flatmate should take turns cooking for everyone. At first, I was against the idea; “I don’t know how to cook.” “I might not be home during the evenings, so this won’t work out.”

I realised that none of my excuses worked. So I gave up and started cooking. And guess what? It wasn’t that bad. It’s hard to find my favorite American soul-food dishes, so I’m forced to make them from scratch.

Here are some tips for cooking on a budget:

  1. Plan your meals. Make a grocery list and stick to it!
  2. Go vegetarian for half the week. Have meat based dishes when you can afford them.
  3. Make dinner with your flatmates to keep costs down. Everyone can chip in.
  4. Freeze leftovers in serving size portions. They will last a long time and taste great.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. Spending five minutes chopping an onion is boring, but with practice you’ll be able to do it in under a minute.
  6. Tinned tomatoes (season them well!) and chickpeas are great for bulking out stews and one-pot meals. Bread and eggs are great too.
  7. Spice it up! Salt and pepper are your friends. Your meals will taste so much better.

This column is brought to you by the Postgraduate Student Association. Contact us at pgsa@vuw.ac.nz, and let us know if you’re keen to contribute to future columns.

 

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