Hannah Moran gives us her top tips and tricks in how to reduce food waste and ways in which to avoid a fight for fridge space with your housemates.
One reality with moving away from home for college is the fact that your Mam will no longer be there to stock up the fridge and have the dinner ready for you every evening.
Unless you end up living with someone who eats out all the time or is never in the house, it’s likely you’ll be sharing shelves in the fridge and fighting over rings on the cooker with your housemates.
The people you live with may not always be of your own choosing, and even so, may not end up being the easiest with whom to share a cooking space.
Some may end up with a housemate that only eats cereal, but then there are those lucky few that get landed with the “food hoarder”.
We all know that roommate that comes up on a Sunday evening with heaps of food from home and loads the fridge with umpteen packets of meat and vegetables. Most of which, I might add, don’t even need to be refrigerated in the first place – 10kg of potatoes, I’m looking at you. This person likely makes the long trek to Aldi twice a week to get all the deals, at the expense of the rest of the house.
Then there’s always the “makes a dinner on Monday and loads the fridge with lunchboxes for the week” roommate. Those Tupperware types that love the taste of week old meals and refuse to throw out the lunchbox of pasta bake even after the pasta is as solid as it was pre-cooked.
But even the lunchbox lovers could never be as bad as the worst of all the fridge abusers; the “it only went off two weeks ago it’s grand” type. Having lived in a house with one of these previously, I can honestly say you never really forget the smell of cheesy milk.
If food begins to take a different form, grow roots or if it’s been in the fridge so long you don’t remember what it was when you bought it, it’s probably time to throw it out.
A good idea to reduce the amount of food in the fridge, and cut down on mouldy stuff that gets thrown out each week would be to share food.
It’s maybe not such a great idea if you despise the people you live with, or if in the second semester you’re still not sure of their names. But, if you live with people you like that eat similar meals and food as you, why not combine the cost?
Buying things like milk, eggs, vegetables and meat in bulk usually works out cheaper than buying more food than you need for one person and throwing half of it out.
Another idea to save space and money may be to cook meals together. Not the solution if one housemate is vegan and another lives on a diet of ham and beef. Pick days where you make spaghetti bolognese and another when someone else makes a chicken curry.
Aside from potentially realising your housemates can’t cook after getting food poisoning, it could make it easier for you to eat proper meals on days when you’d rather ring for a pizza before boiling an egg.
Sharing a fridge with people isn’t easy, and I’m not saying you should move all of your food out whenever someone else buys a packet of easy singles. But if you’re living with three others and there are only four shelves, maybe you should check if they’re alright with you taking up three of them with yogurt pots.
Otherwise you might find the second you go home for the odd weekend you’ll come back and all the space that’s left is in the freezer.
Photo: Eloïse L/ Flickr