As Freshers’ Fortnight comes to an end, we can say an official goodbye to summer – in other words, the brief heatwave in June and the sporadic sunshine since then (for those of us who spent the summer holidays in London) – and a reluctant hello to autumn. However, as the daylight gradually vanishes and the ground becomes littered with shades of red and brown, we must remember that the end of summer is not all doom and gloom. It’s time to forget salads and light lunches, and instead, bring on the comfort food.
Nothing says warm and cosy like soup. Especially for those of us with dry throats at the moment due to freshers’ flu, which, for the record, does not exclusively affect first years. The classic Heinz tomato soup is all well and good. But if you want to try something a bit different for a change, try swapping your fancy Pret A Manger avocado-and-something sandwiches for one of their soups of the day. They offer a nice mixture of flavour combinations for vegetarians, which are far more interesting than just tomato, such as kale, lentil and roasted spices. They also have meat varieties , such as red Thai chicken and veg, which should appeal to those that are so inclined and make a nice change to overused cream of chicken soup.
“We must remember that the end of summer is not all doom and gloom”
One pot dishes also come to mind when I think of comfort food. Investing in a slow cooker would save you lots of time. Just chuck all the ingredients into it in the morning and voila, as if by magic (but actually by super organisation), your delicious dinner is ready for you when you return home after lectures. Your hall/flatmates will be jealous of your time-saving strategy and likely be equally surprised and confused by the unusually pleasant smell when they stroll into the kitchen. You could try making a hot pot, stew, or even a curry in a slow cooker or saucepan.
My favourite one pot dish has got to be chilli con carne though. I usually cheat and buy a flavour packet from a supermarket rather than all the separate spices. Maybe one day I will truly commit and make it all from scratch.But in the meantime, I think not. If you lack the time or inclination to cook it yourself, you could always opt for chilli on your baked potato in the Library Café. Adding cheese is also a good shout if you can spare the extra pennies. My Old Dutch, a fantastic pancake house with branches all over London, including Kensington High Street and King’s Road, offer a pancake with a mini mountain of chilli con carne on it, plus nachos and guacamole on the side – always welcome additions in my opinion. I can highly recommend.
So the take home message here is simple. If you find yourself stressing about a lab report or panicking about leaving the lecture theatre with no understanding of what just happened, sit down, put on your slippers, and eat some comfort food.