Words by Robyn Cowie, Online Production Editor & Claire Cunningham, Alumni Writer
Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the various student residences of Brighton the whispers of the notorious student christmas dinner are beginning to be heard.
The student Christmas dinner has often been a thing of only the most organised of flat/friend groups, but with our helpful tips anyone can host a student friendly festive meal. No matter the lack of skill, budget or equipment – whether you are hosting or just attending. We hope these ten tips and tricks ease some of the anxiety and help to remind all those partake to enjoy this student right of passage, which for many is the first christmas meal they have made or first some outside of the family home.
In halls, houses or your shared accommodation, we have got you covered.
- Don’t Overwhelm… delegate and team work – A christmas meal can be split into many parts (meat, potatoes, veg, gravy/sauces, desert, drinks) if you break it down and everyone just has one or a couple things whether big or small. It can really make the task a lot more manageable and fair … you can just buy the wine if cooking is really outside of your wheelhouse.
- Be resourceful in ingredients and dishes … Think smart and plan ahead, working out what you need, how much and where it is best (and cheapest) to buy it from. Not everything has to be from scratch, box of stuffing mix, gravy granules and perhaps some frozen veg can go a long way, whilst also cutting down cooking time.
- Does not have to be too traditional – Sometimes the perfect student Christmas dinner is one which strays away from tradition … Perhaps roast chicken over turkey or a delicious nut roast shall suffice. Cook what you and your house enjoys – making you all appreciate it more. One of the joys of a student Christmas dinner is you are in charge, so if you hate sprouts, don’t cook them.
- Looking pretty is always a bonus – even the smallest things go a long way in adding to the ambiousn of the affair, clean the kitchen, set the table and decorate! Ask your friends to dress up and treat your student Christmas with the ceremony it deserves.
- Work out timings and check equipment – May sound simple but it shall save you a lot of hassle when it is all stations go and you are in full christmas meal cooking mode. Taking a few minutes to sit down and work out (and preferably write down) what you are cooking, how you are cooking your items and how long each one shall need is the best way to avoid any unexpected hiccups. Cause no one likes cold roast potatoes or overcooked carrots. Moreover, making sure you have all the kitchen equipment you need, again, shall save you from pulling your hair out when you realise you need another pan or roasting tin last minute.
- Is there enough? (the more the merrier) – Nothing is worse than not being able to have seconds or enough for all of your guests. A simple fix for this is to always cook more potatoes than you think, because let’s be honest … they are the best bit.
Our last tip… don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy the chaos, if that is what it turns out to be. Don’t take it too seriously, this along with a lot of uni is about trying new things and making memories. And if all else fails, a flat christmas takeaway…