RECENTLY I wrote about students being “bribed” with biscuits. Now we have Waitrose being hammered by both cash-strapped students and parents for its pricy list of student store cupboard “essential” ingredients, described by the supermarket as “a starter kit for the fledgling cook about to fly the nest”.
This includes rose harissa paste, organic cider vinegar, organic soy sauce and Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder – the whole list costing freshers £13 and they still wouldn’t have anything to eat!
But hang on, where’s the avocado? Or the wholemeal organic multi-grain toast from Waitrose’s Fairtrade line to slather it on?
To be fair, though, students no longer restrict themselves to the traditional diet of Pot Noodles, baked beans and cold pasta. Mainly due to the internet, a new generation of young food ‘vloggers’ and YouTubers have shown students how to cook creatively and cheaply.
In fact, all the Waitrose items listed have a long shelf life and, though an initial outlay’s involved, should last for quite some time. The bouillon powder is really useful, lasts for ages and a superb suggestion. Even the rose harissa works out relatively economically considering how much, err, bite it can give to umpteen meals before the jar’s used up. Maybe all the carping’s just a classic example of people sniggering because it’s upmarket Waitrose? Good quality seasonings help turn cheap, simple ingredients into nutritious meals. Presumably some of those whinging wouldn’t think twice about a student forking out £13 on a pizza?
Years ago when I was a student (Vesta curries, Angel Delight, anyone?), one flatmate used to whip up incredible roast dinners for us (buying “sell by” date meat and veg from the supermarket just before closing) and loads of other delicious meals. Our store cupboard was rammed with lots of weird and wonderful-sounding herbs, spices and sauces.
But then another flatmate existed on Fray Bentos pies and cigarettes. He always swore Fray Bentos was hugely underrated. Too true – after a few fags, no way could you taste it!
Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity