Why the University students need to learn some basic cooking.
Posted on January 23rd, 2013

Dr Hector Perera        London

When children are at home, they normally expect the parents to do everything for them, cooking, shopping, washing their clothes and taking them to school and many more things. They gradually grow up, passing the exams then some of them get selected to Universities. Very likely these places are not next door to home, quite often far from home and not easy to daily travel from home. In that case they have to seek some where to stay with the University accommodation or in other private accommodation that are not too far from the Universities. These children although a little bit older than the secondary school children but they have no idea how to prepare a meal, other than to make a cup of tea or coffee and boil some eggs. This sudden change of life style by attending a University means that they have to look after themselves for the first time in their life.

 Everybody needs to eat something to fulfil the common hunger, not just once a day but sometimes several times a day. When they were at home, all what some children do were to run to kitchen or to the dinning table where they find the all prepared food by their parents, servants or sometimes by grand parents. Sometimes they just open the freezer and put something found in the freezer, may be a pizza, a pie, some fish cakes, chicken nuggets or nut cutlets or something like that or ask their mum to cook some chips. They do not fry chips because they are not used for safe handling of fire. I doubt most of them go for any vegetables such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower or  green peas because they are used to eat nothing but fast food.

 Some of them burrow some money from the parents and cross the road to the corner shop takeaway or walk all the way to Mc Donald’s, KFC, Burger King or similar fast food restaurants. All these years have been fed with these kinds of fast food and they are addicted or craving for that kind of food. Before the takeaway is packed into a box or wrapped in several pieces of news paper, the food get generously showered with salt, vinegar and tomato sauce such as ketchups, pepper and mustard. Quite often they get a large fizzy drink bottle or a tall cup of fizzy drinks but nearly half of it is nothing but ice cubes but they pay lots of money. That single visit cost something and they think it’s quite normal. I have my doubts if they think about the ill health effects of excess salt, oil and loads of calories from fizzy drinks, do they?

Some parents ring to home delivery service to deliver Indian dishes such as chicken curry and rice or buriyani, Chinese takeaways or a variety of Pizzas in different sizes, Ham Burgers, French Fries, Cheese or beef Burgers then drinks such as Dr Pepper, Vanilla Shake, Milk Shakes, and Chocolate Milk Shake with syrup added and the never ending list of eating and drinking things. In anyone of them did you see any vegetables such as carrots and green peas?

Why not some parents cook something healthy and simple at home then share that with the children? May be because, either they have no idea of cooking or too lazy to cook or children prefer fast food. Who knows they are addicted to fast foods!

When the children are sent to Universities, they need to eat something either as takeaway or sometimes depend on University canteen food or sometimes depend on supermarket cooked, pre packed food packets or on a whole range of pizzas. Once they go on shopping for their own food, they always go for ready made meals such as pizzas, sausages, pies, frozen lunch packets etc because they have no idea of cooking anything from scratch.  It’s sad to notice some fill up the shopping basket with biscuits, cakes, crisps, chocolates than get a loaf of bread or something filling. There would be no fruits such as bananas, apples or any vegetables either in the basket. This is a brief list of shopping of some University students in England. Then find their way back to the accommodation and put a burger or two under the grill or in the oven and make a sandwich. In a way that is something than eating oil dripping chips showered with salt, vinegar and ketchup then wash down with a large cup or bottle of fizzy drinks.

One might ask so what is the solution?

One of my suggestions is to gradually teach these students how to cook something healthy and filling. That is why I suggest that these children must be given basic lessons of cooking; otherwise they would feed themselves with junk food or go virtually hungry. If they are clever and intelligent enough to be University students then following my easy techniques of scientific cooking wouldn’t be any difficult for these students. Some parents are fully aware of the ill healthy effects of fast food but sometimes they are helpless because it is up to the students to learn how to prepare some food when they are in Universities. Let me say again, they are intelligent enough to get selected to Universities, sure they must think positively about looking after their health by getting some nutritive food than depending on fast food junk. Actually they must find out more about the good and bad effects of this so called fast food and even educate the parents as well. I am writing this with lots of personal experiences starting from back home, Sri Lanka.

Our Physics master was too strict for no reason then I slowly dropped science subjects even without informing the parents and did arts subjects. When I came to Colombo to attend my science education, first I had an accommodation in a private house then moved to a just a room only. The only way was to cycle to hotels in Borella or Punchi Borella, either to eat in or for a takeaway parcel. This was always not possible if it rains, further when I got a lunch packet, all virtually mixed up, not pleasant to eat. There was one medical student as well in the hostel then both of us tried to cook; actually at the start it was just cooking experiments. Then two other friends who studied in the same college moved in then we all started to cook something than depending on takeaway food. The other two friends also became medical doctors but I couldn’t that is because I didn’t pass all my theory and practical in all four Advanced level. Now it’s only three subjects. One thing, during our studies, we managed to prepare our meals than depending on takeaway food. We found the method was quite economical, could prepare some healthy food. I used to travel from home in Gampaha but my mum found this daily travelling to and from home was not convenient.

When I moved to England for further studies then again, I had to find my own way of making food than depending on takeaway. To begin with it was just a single room with a hot plate. As a University student I had lots of responsibilities unlike the present University students. Soon I realised there was this common kitchen but no one used then I started to cook with a small cooker that even had a grill and oven. I was supposed to be on full time education otherwise I had to face official problems. Just imagine, I had to attend my lecturers, pay my fees and to find my food. I gratefully admire my dear sister who lives in Paris and helped me financially.

Even from those days, I thought this gas and electricity were expensive commodities and thought about a method of saving energy than wasting. One other point, I tried my best not to get cooking smell on my clothes, so I devised my method of cooking. My years of hard work and experiments on cooking, eventually came up the present scientific energy and time saving cooking technique. The technique cuts down even time spend in the kitchen, for students time is important. I can remember our servants took hours to cook on firewood.

My aim is clear

Now I honestly need to help these University students in their studies and one way is to show my kind of scientific cooking so that they would benefit in many ways. Hopefully then they could cut down this junk eating habits and save some time for valuable studies. Just imagine if they rush up and down from takeaway shops for all the meals and spend lots of money for supermarket pre-cooked food, wouldn’t they meet financial difficulties as well as ill health effects by eating junk food? Unlike in any other country, England has a time of extreme cold weather with slippery roads and pavements then walking to and from takeaway shops become quite tedious. Not many of them ring and order any pizzas or just depend on biscuits or sometimes go hungry, due to short of money. Please tell me how would the parents tolerate these sorts of adverse conditions for their University children? When their children virtually go hungry how the parents would eat well at home? Let me say again they must be given a chance to educate themselves with my scientific energy and time saving cooking techniques. The method has many advantages, too much to mention here. They must see it by demonstration than limited to words.

This is my challenge

If any scientist, energy saving expert or an environmentalist could prove that my cooking technique does not save energy and time, the method is a fake or rubbish then I am prepared to pay £5000 or one million rupees, yes you heard it correct. Why not someone responsible testify this method? I have briefly demonstrated the technique to ITN TV in Sri Lanka, had interviews with them also with TNL or Young Asia TV. Probably the energy saving experts assumed that I would not challenge with that kind of money if I couldn’t prove my scientific energy and time saving cooking technique. I was a chemistry teacher and not a cook but I apply many laws of science for cooking, energy and time saving also to cut down food smell depositing on them while cooking. Just one question, what would be my reward if I was right? My method is based on scientific theories and according to the science I know, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. Let me say again, these University students must try and make an effort to see my kind of scientific cooking and stop eating junk food. Am I correct, healthy minds on healthy bodies? Any comments are welcomed [email protected]

One Response to “Why the University students need to learn some basic cooking.”

  1. callistus Says:

    Excuse me Hector, what is your ‘my cooking technique’. And this is not the first time I asked this question. And I know of at least one other regular contributor (not just a commenter) to this site asked the same. So, rather than telling us about your reward, tell us your cooking method so that everyone can benefit from it. We know you are an expert tutor for GCSE students in North London, and we want to know ‘Your Method’. I am going to thaw out a leg of lamb from the freezer waiting for your reply. Please do not disappoint me.

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