I think sorting out all my kitchen stuff for university was the most difficult part. I was already a pretty keen cook back then, and knew I really wanted to keep both baking and experimenting with dinners right the way through university – and not deal with non-non-stick pans and replacing things after every year. I know I spent quite a bit more than the average student on my bits and bobs, but at the same time the vast majority made it through my four years away and will be used more over the next few years.
Most annoyingly, the flat I’ve just moved into has an induction hob. The pans I’ve kept nice throughout university, carted up and down the country and made W carry up four flights of stairs? Yep, they weren’t induction suitable. But hello new shiny pans! #everysilverlining
Over the last few weeks I’ve worked alongside the Steamer Trading Cookshop to put together a list of student essentials, a Back to Uni bundle if you wish! It includes some pieces I’d definitely recommend to all new students, and some things I really wish I’d had…
Crockery and Cutlery. This is where I kept things simple and saved money. You don’t need a set, you don’t need a fancy pattern. I went for a plain white set and it’s lasted me well (plus it’s far easier to photograph new recipes on white crockery!). You’ll need a big plate*, a small plate*, a large bowl* and a mug*. I’d suggest grabbing a small bowl too – and possibly pick up a few duplicates as you will most likely break something.
Spiraliser. These have become SO popular in the last four years, I picked up a julienne peeler just before the craze really kicked off but am loving have a ‘proper’ spiraliser* with varying blades. It makes the perfect courgetti for my low-carb-onara.
Pots and Pans. This is definitely where I spent most of my kitchen budget, I was SO hoping these would do me through university and beyond – and they would have done had I not been moving into a flat with an induction hob. At absolute minimum I reckon a student would need a small saucepan, a large saucepan/casserole dish and a wok*. The wok can double up as a frying pan, and also as an extra saucepan if it’s deep enough – definitely worth picking one up.
Microwave Gadgets. My kitchen in halls was disgusting. Our white chopping board was black by the November, we had ants in the fridge, the floor was permanently sticky and I wanted to spend as little time in there as possible. I did a lot of cooking prep in my room (I genuinely mixed up cake batters in there, carrying the filled tin straight to the oven). During that year, little gadgets to help me cook using the microwave (as I could clean it quickly before each use!) were lifesavers. Egg poachers, steamers, soup pots, popcorn makers* – I loved them!
Water Bottle. When I moved to uni, the one thing I noticed was I didn’t drink enough. At home someone always had the kettle on, was always making a pot of tea. Left to my own devices, I didn’t make myself drink and I quickly found myself getting dehydrated. A good water bottle definitely helped me combat this, I’ve talked about my love of Infruition bottles* before and it’s still strong!
Knives. These are definitely worth spending a bit more on, I’ve never enjoyed using a basic-level knife (something about the light-weight of them makings chopping seem like a lot more effort). A good knife set* will definitely last you through your time at university, mine certainly still looks as good as new.
Toastie Maker. This is definitely something I wish I’d had in my first year. With my kitchen being as filthy as it was, I’d have loved the grill function of a 2-in-1 machine* to be able to cook myself meat/fish/veg/almost anything without having to clean the oven or hob first. Plus it makes gorgeous panninis. Need I say more?!
Along with a stack of student cookbooks (though I’d also recommend grabbing a copy of Jack Monroe’s book to flick through), I reckon this lot would do even the most keen cooks through university. Yes, there’s some rather ‘extravagant’ bits there, but I know they’d have made some of my time away easier and a lot more enjoyable!
What are your kitchen essentials?