Freshers’ week. A time to make new friends and become accustomed to new surroundings, whether that be a new borough, city, or perhaps even a new country. However, for many, freshers’ week also involves a few hangovers and a number of drunk food disasters. Don’t be that person eating folded squares of bread or dry pasta at 4am. Equally, you do not want to be remembered for attempting to cook an overly ambitious three course meal in the early hours of the morning. Your new hall mates will not thank you for setting off the fire alarm, forcing them to trudge down 19 flights of stairs (if you live on the top floor of the Woodward buildings) in their pyjamas and flip flops. Trust me – it’s not the way to make friends. The trick is to find a balance between good tasting foods that your stomach will thank you for, and simplicity that your tired alcohol-muddled brain can deal with. Thankfully, I’m here to give you a few ideas.
The Old Classic: Cheese and Crackers
I’m personally an advocate for cheese and crackers. Involves no cooking and the customisation possibilities are endless. Fan of a particular stinky blue cheese? Enjoy it with no fear of judgement in the empty kitchen. Like cheese out of a can? Ugh, but ok, go ahead, this is your time to avoid judgment. If you happen to have some hummus, guacamole, salsa, tzatziki, or whatever your dip of choice is in the fridge, then perfect, dip some crackers in that! If not, try adding pesto if you have some in the cupboard. Nostalgic for the days of Dairylea Lunchables? Cut up and add some ham to your cheese and crackers.
Instant Carb Gratification
If you’re a fan of the pot noodle, I would encourage you to diversify your range of instant carbs, as you’ll soon get sick of them (or perhaps not, I know people who swear by them). Try different flavours of microwaveable rice or even couscous. Of course, rice is easy peasy to make in a rice cooker or on the stove, but I think cheating with a microwave and avoiding boiling hot water is probably the safer (and definitely the quicker) alternative after a long night.
A Toasty End to the Night
Fancy a sandwich but want something warming after a night out in London? The obvious choice here is a toasty. Here’s a thought: pre-make it and stick it in a reusable (let’s be eco-friendly, this is Imperial after all) toaster bag. You can buy these for a few pounds in big supermarkets and being able to stick your toasties straight into the toaster and avoid waiting for your oven grill to preheat is a huge time saver. Too lazy to make a toasted sandwich? Well ok, then I guess toast is on the menu. If you’re new to Britain then I encourage you to try marmite. You will soon learn that this controversial savoury spread divides the nation in half into lovers and haters. Spread a very thin layer over margarine/butter – yum (you can guess which half I fall into).
Save some money and make your own takeaway alternative. Buy some oven chips, sprinkle some cheese on top (buy pre-grated for maximum laziness), and stick it in the oven on a baking tray. You could also easily make gravy by stirring gravy granules into hot water and pouring this over the top of your cooked chips to make the northern English delicacy of cheesy chips and gravy.
Of course preparing your own drunk food will take a bit more time and require a bit more effort than purchasing from your fast food outlet of choice. But where would you rather wait for your food? In your lovely warm kitchen, close to the warm embrace of your own bed, or in a long queue somewhere in the West End, Camden, or Elephant and Castle? I know what I’d choose.