Student cooking

From brupper to braais, students are learning to cook for themselves.

by: Kerry Gibbs: Food24 | 27 Oct 2009
Boy frying an egg

Advertising, particularly of the KFC branding, tends to typecast the student species, as a different breed of human. A type that graze on junk-food in-between their social gatherings, mating rituals and the occasional exam.

Food is an afterthought within their alcohol-driven desires, and is usually consumed from plastic packets in easy- to-read and commercially identifiable packaging.

I'd like to think that my friends and I don’t fit the stereotype.

In this current economic void, the constant snacking on take-aways and the restaurant visits have dwindled to a once-a-month occurrence. As our university transcripts and hopefully, minds have matured, we have ventured out into the gourmet world and invested in a cookbook or two.

Dinner parties
Throwing dinner parties or having a ‘social home’, as it is now being called, has become part of the routine in many of our lives. At least once a month we gather at a designated couple or hosts’ house and they prepare a tasty meal for us.

Though they are not anything out of Gourmet magazine, the planning and preparation is always fun and the proud looks on the hosts’ faces when we ooh and aaah over the dishes is wonderful.

Mum’s file
Many of us left home carrying a file of mum’s easy to prepare and staple meals. They are filled with delights such as a basic mince (which can be used in spag-bol, wraps, and lasagne) how to roast a chicken and mac’ n cheese .

Communal dinners
Communal/shared dinners are also a common occurrence, where each guest brings an accompaniment to the host’s main meal, meaning less work for the host and more money being saved by everyone involved.

One dish wonders
Many of us have evolved from the staple meal of boiled egg-in-a-kettle and toast with Bovril to some delicious and cheap one dish wonders (stir-fry, pastas and potjies) that are quick to prepare, and oh so tasty.

The occasional brupper (breakfast for supper) is still thrown into the mix, but students have expanded their vision from chicken-in-a-basket or French toast to snazzy omelettes and all-in-ones. Brupper is a staple late night boozing meal that will always be a favourite no matter how old you are.

Braais are on any South African student’s timetable, with beers, mum’s secret sticky chicken-wing sauce, potato salad, wors, salad and the much loved rooster broodjies all on the menu.

After a gap year, the different tastes and cultures that a young adult has experienced will most definitely end up in their meal plan. Hoping to replicate the meals they have tasted and keen to explore and taste different cultures, means that themes are a common occurrence in many student digs. Thai and Indian curries, Mexican wraps, Italian pastas, the list goes on.

So hopefully the myths have been debunked; students (most of them) are venturing out on their own and creating edible, even tasty meals. Mothers can sit back and breathe; most of what you have taught your child has sunk in and they are managing fine on their own... though mom’s home-cooked meals are always something that will bring a smile to any student’s face.

Do you have any student meals you would like to share with us – let us know?

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