Student Living

Perusing through classic literature of the last few centuries, it seems Britain and its authors have a volatile relationship with food. Whether one is looking at Nineteenth century Dickens or Twentieth Century wartime literature, it seems that British writing likes to emphasise both poverty and excess throughout both periods, with little in between. It occurred to me that student living isn’t too dissimilar. Whilst I know some students who heavily tightrope the breadline trying to make their final porridge oat last, I also know some, ostensibly male, who will eat fifty chicken nuggets in one sitting as if trying to emulate King Henry VIII in his prime.
   Quality is clearly far more of an issue than quantity when it comes to a student’s frugal food shop and therefore I believe 20 year olds might be able to relate to a Dickens’ description of gruel or benefit from a war time ration recipe.

Weekly rations consisted of:

40z. Butter 2 oz Preserves

8oz. Sugar 2pt. Milk
4oz. Bacon/Ham 2oz. Cooking Fat
2oz. Tea 4oz. Cheese
1 egg 3oz. Sweets
14oz. Meat

Weekly war rations - 1941

With the money left over from a student’s allocated loan (after rent is paid and alcohol money is set aside of course), my cupboard doesn't look too dissimilar to the collection of food pictured above. It seems that if a student prefers to buy fresh produce, the helpings get a lot smaller – of course it is very easy to head to the frozen section of any supermarket and buy obscene amounts of anything bread crumbed if preferable.

My cupboard this week - 2014

Pictured abovet is the contents of my fridge and cupboard. As you can see, there is little that can be created just from these products alone. Unlike some of my student friends, I like to stay away from frozen items where possible. This does however come at a cost, meat will often have to be forgone and vegetarian recipes, as well as countless omelettes, will have to be made and eventually exhausted. All this food photography has made me hungry, may treat myself to a bacon omelette while I have the meat available...   

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