Mistaking crab sticks for rhubarb and eating puddings meant for dogs - your kitchen horror stories as UEA launches new cookbook

UEA students in one of the residence kitchens with a new student cookbook.
Photo by Simon Finlay. UEA students in one of the residence kitchens with a new student cookbook. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
9:08 AM

For many young people and students, living away from home for the first time is a rite of passage which leads to a series of kitchen calamities.

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We asked readers to share the kitchen horror stories from their youth. Here’s a few of their tales:

When I was 16, my sister asked if I would like to housesit for a weekend whilst she was away.

I jumped at the chance as you can imagine!

I was instructed to use whatever I wanted from the fridge/freezer as long as I cleaned up, so I thought I would try my hand at a rhubarb crumble.

Sounds lovely you’re thinking.....

I’m sure it would have been, had I not mistaken CRAB STICKS for rhubarb!

Needless to say, it put me off rhubarb for some time.

Yours in embarrassment.

Tracey Cooper, Norwich

Husband came back from pub and, feeling peckish, ate what he assumed was a bread and butter pudding I’d made earlier and left on the side.

Next morning, he tells me the pudding I made was awful and he had terrible stomach ache.

I had little sympathy, as far from being bread and butter pudding, it was actually a cake I’d made for the dog.

Lesson? Don’t be mean about my cooking.

Lauren Rogers, @somerogers

In my first year at UEA I existed on pasta with cheese grated on top, and Angel Delight, apart from once when the cupboards were so bare and we were so broke we had a revolting meal of plain pasta and celery.

Third year (back on campus) was better although memories of the smell generated by the misplacing of two defrosted chicken breasts in our shared kitchen still haunt me.

Once they were located we realised binning them wasn’t enough, they needed to be as far away from our residence as possible, resulting in a midnight run carrying our bin through the building to the wheelies, scarves wrapped around our faces to try to block out the outrageous smell.

I would like to apologise to fellow citizens of Nelson Court in 2000 - the smell was like nothing on earth!!

Lucy, Norwich.

My wife’s first attempt at roast beef! Would pass for shoe leather! Mind after 40+ yrs., she’s got the hang of it!

Biglingers, Norwich.

Whilst grilling, one of my housemates put a plastic washing up bowl on top of the grill. It exploded and set fire to the kitchen.

Polly Grice @pollygrice

Late night (slightly drunk) pasta cooking session, fell asleep, fire alarm. Quickly opened window and chucked the burning pasta outside, completely forgetting I was in a flat - grovelling apology to the neighbour when I realised I had decimated their balcony garden and covered it in congealed carbonised penne.

Steve Adams.

I’m allergic to penicillin. At university, our halls of residence squalor reached such depths that the mould set in - and I came out in a rash due to the allergy. The wonders of science... and filthy students.

We also had a shepherd’s pie in our fridge for so long that we felt inclined to name him... Winston, if you’re asking.

Rob Setchell, @robsetchell

Sat down to munch my way through a pizza only to find a crispy beetle perfectly placed in the middle of one slice. #ruined

Also setting fire to parchment paper under the grill trying to heat up some BBQ pork. Why did I do that? #stupid

Christopher Ashwell, @chris_ashwell_

But now the University of East Anglia has unveiled a new cookbook, featuring the culinary top tips from students past and present.

The 65-page book, called A Taste of UEA Residences, brings together the best in affordable, tasty and healthy meals to give a helping hand to those who may not have lived independently before, or shared a kitchen.

UEA’s executive chef Giuseppe Longordo worked with head of university accommodation Paul Bailey to select 45 of the best recipes submitted.

Designer Emma Bailey turned them into a colourful, stylish book, one of which will be placed in each on-campus kitchen for housemates to use as inspiration.

UEA’s head of accommodation Paul Bailey said: “Our aim was to provide a student cookbook that would enhance the culinary abilities and enjoyment of all our residents and promote healthy eating and the use of local products.

“It was also important that all the meals could be made using the equipment we provide in UEA accommodation. The book has exceeded even our own expectations and provides a testament to the creativity and commitment of UEA’s diverse student population.”

A Taste of UEA Residences includes recipes for meals from across the globe, ranging from pasta, pizza and pies to curries and celebration cakes.

There are recipe ideas for a wide range of dietary needs and budgets, from basic meals for students in a hurry to spreads that could grace a table in the most sophisticated of settings. Each recipe is introduced by the student who provided it and tells where and when they were in living in the accommodation.

As well as hard copies in each flat, every student will receive an electronic version of the book to make sure they don’t miss out on the recipes.

For those students who need a little extra encouragement to test their skills, there is further cooking information and demonstrations on UEA’s Student Cooking online television site, provided with partners Campus Life.

“We hope that this book will inspire students with a love of food and cooking and make it central to everyday life,” said Guiseppe Longordo.

To support the project, the book is available to the public to buy on campus.

Do you have a quirky story? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772474 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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