ADULTING 101: Conquering Mainsbury’s
A fresher ventures into the perilous waters of adulthood after finally conceding that one cannot live off curdled milk alone
Alas, today's the day. After a week (maybe two) of putting it off, you've finally run out of milk (or worse, it's curdled), the last of your cookies has been midnight-snacked away and the only thing left is that one lemon your mother brought you when she came to drop you off. You're ready to make that long and arduous journey, braving both the herds of Kings tourists AND the punting tour guide people (What is their job? Who employs them? Where do they come from? Where do they go?) because no you don't 'have a minute', before you finally end up at the one stop shop that is Mainsburys.
How should I walk through this terrifying and adult labyrinth you ask? What should I get? Where should I go? Buckle in. Lettuce enter this brave new world together.
Enter. Basket. Tunnel vision. Let's go.
Rule number one – at the entrance, there will be a stack of 80p cookies. Get the cookies. Get one, get five. Knock on people's doors to surprise them with cookies *guaranteed frien- making* and also they expire in a day so spread the love.
Next stop, fruit. Your mother will call and ask if you've 'had fruit', it is just something that mothers do. Make her happy. Buy the greenest bananas you can find. Not only can you eat them at all stages of the ripening cycle, bananas are the perfect breakfast. No bowls or cutlery required? Check. Healthy snack? Check. Can eat while running to Sidgwick to make 9 am? Check.
Once you have the fruit (one type is more than enough, fruit is disgusting), the real shopping starts. Acquaint yourself with the delightful world of ready-to-eat meals. Are they delicious? No. Are they as good as hall food and probably a fraction of the price? Yes. Be smart and pick food not based on taste (who has time to taste their food anyways, we all have reading to do) but on furthest expiry date. Stuff at the back of the pile will expire later. This is ADULTING.
Milk. British people are able to enjoy many varieties of milk. This is strange because all milk tastes like milk (pearls of wisdom). Again, get whichever one has the furthest expiry date, because milk curdles and I can confirm that coffee made using curdled milk does not taste good. At all.
Genius tip (that I discovered today) – buy bread. Sounds profound, I know. Not any old, sliced bread. Get a baguette. It's ridiculously cheap and I am also pretty certain that the worst thing that can happen is that it'll go crunchy – which as I'm sure French people will tell you, is a pro for baguettes. Also Sainbury's has a really cool bread slicer thing machine, so even if you don't own a knife, they got you covered.
Get ravioli. Very easy to cook in the microwave, if you're living in a gyp with no other cooking equipment. Buy a bottle of sauce and voilà, that's like three meals right there. Buy food based on gyp amenities, no oven-baked pizza if you don't have an oven. Sounds straightforward I know, but this is a Dummy's guide (not that I'm suggesting any Cantabs are dummies when it comes to doing the shopping…).
That's grocery shopping done. What a wild ride. Calm down. There's cooking to do.
Do not use the kettle in your gyp. Just don't do it. There is weird white flaky stuff that comes off and it will 98% poison you. Even if there isn't any as of this moment, there has definitely been white flaky stuff before. Get a new kettle.
Don't keep food in the kitchen. Fight your natural instincts. Let’s be honest you’ve known these people for like a month and trust is a finite commodity. Adding to that, do not brag about your grocery shopping skills. It'll lead to you getting "hey, you have food downstairs?" texts, and saying "no, I haven't had time to go shopping" isn't going to sound very believable if you've been going on about sliced baguettes to your housemates (which for the record, I don't have because, like, I haven't had the time to go grocery shopping).
Finally, hall. Hall is the most convenient and groceries are more for snack/ supervisions at lunch time reasons. However, if and when you can't find anyone to go to hall with (and I mean anyone, even the people at the bottom of your asking list), you have the ready to eat meals you spent twenty minutes deciding over (which is strange, because 80% of them will be some type of pasta). Eating alone in your room is less sad than eating alone in the oldest secular building in Europe still used for its original purpose (fact).
Last tip – find someone that enjoys cooking, a lot. Make the most of their politeness and invite yourself over. Thoroughly enjoy their food, give lots of praise. Spread the word about their culinary talents so that other people also invite themselves over. Make sure to continue praising talents. Keep inviting yourselves over. Now you have a weekly curry night to look forward to. You're welcome. (Sorry Kristen, your curry is the best).