Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

Food experiments and guinea pigs

Food experiments and guinea pigs

Hello and bon appétit! My subject today is food experiments! I am studying Food and Nutrition, but food has always been a good part of my background, probably because I am Italian.

However, I don’t disdain food from all over the world, as I am quite a food explorer, and I could probably even be part of the “Bizarre Food” team.

Some of you would probably find the idea of octopus disgusting, but in reality, it is good and healthy.

My experiment modes and rules

I eat healthy at home (vegetarian as much as possible, but I am flexitarian), whatever outside (but I try to avoid junk food). I try to eat a balanced meal, more or less like the one on the Eatwell guide. New ingredients, especially vegetables, are always welcome, as a more varied diet can benefit gut health.

There are delivery services that I use from time to time. One delivers at-home boxes with new recipes to try and instructions on how to cook them from scratch. However, my favourite service delivers boxes of fruit and vegetables that otherwise will be discarded for some weird reason. Sometimes the production is too high, sometimes the vegetables are too small or too big, or have a weird shape (do you know, for example, that the bananas in the centre of the bunch are straight instead of curved, and they go to the landfill for this reason?).

At the supermarket, try to save some “single bananas”, so you can keep them from being wasted.

Sometimes, I just see a new ingredient (for example, water chestnuts), and I want to try it.

When I am lazy, I prefer the service with the recipes – they arrive with exactly the right amount, and it is easy to follow the instructions. I found every dish very good, and it is possible to choose the recipes that arrive at home every week. You don’t waste a gram of food, but you have to run to the supermarket if you burn something. Plus, it provides a nutritional chart.

When I want to experiment, I prefer the fruit and vegetable box. Almost every time I find something I’ve never cooked, I have to find a suitable recipe that I’ll probably like (the result is not 100% guaranteed, sometimes it is a flop).

The last time I received pak choi, and I tried pak choi noodles (I am sorry for all the Asian people who will watch their millennial food culture wasted in a single go). I am not ashamed to say that I use my flatmates as guinea pigs, and the flatmate I chose this time told me it was good. I still have to check if he’s alive, but I’ll let you know.

There should have been some broth, but I forgot to take a picture before eating!

I had loads of kale, so I tried this pasta with pesto and kale.

No flatmate has been harmed in the making of this picture

The good thing is that you save food from the landfill. The con is that it is more expensive than it would be going to the market. But I like the fact that I have to cook what I found in the box because I hate to waste it (but I know the content in advance and I can make some changes), and in this way, I try new recipes. If I go to the market, I will always buy more or less the same things that I am used to and cook them in the same ways.

If you want to try the recipes in the pictures, you just have to ask for them in the comments. I can assure you that those two were good and easy, and they can both be vegan with some variants. You can even ask how to cook that ingredient you forgot in the fridge and you don’t know how to use. I am not a chef, but I am quite good at cooking, and I’ll try to figure something out!

Thank you for reading and cook a nice meal!

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