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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:
- Plan your meals. Make a grocery list and stick to it!
- Go vegetarian for half the week. Have meat based dishes when you can afford them.
- Make dinner with your flatmates to keep costs down. Everyone can chip in.
- Freeze leftovers in serving size portions. They will last a long time and taste great.
- 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.
- Tinned tomatoes (season them well!) and chickpeas are great for bulking out stews and one-pot meals. Bread and eggs are great too.
- Spice it up! Salt and pepper are your friends. Your meals will taste so much better.
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