A magical moment dwells within reach of all catered hall residents, waiting to break free and shower those privy to its genius with the rich, heady flavours of its sacred knowledge. It is the moment in which a fantastical foodie revelation is born of gastronomical neglect.

For decades, students have dealt with the realities of dining hall catering. From miscellaneous meats to unidentifiable desserts to that mysterious ingredient known as ‘quorn’, we clutch at potato straws, hoping that next week, Sunday roast will, miraculously, be delicious. Fortunately, necessity-driven inspiration will lend your taste buds a reprieve and keep you from losing your mind to MasterChef escapism.

Epiphany One

Hall coffee machines will produce decent hot beverages. Remember one simple rule: water costs nothing, and therefore adds no value to your cup. Capture the milk, coffee (and if you’re feeling really indulgent, a shot of chocolate), but avoid the water stream. You are henceforth the proud owner of undiluted caffeinated bliss.

Epiphany Two

Late night drunken pizza dialing is often necessary, but you needn’t do without dessert. Nutella packets can be frozen into neat little chocolate blocks or kept at room temperature for finger-dipping, post-Dominos fun.

Epiphany Three

Thin, tasteless gravy is comfort food for nobody. Bulk it up with equal measures of HP sauce and brown sauce. If you’re feeling particularly industrious, crumble up some toast to thicken the concoction. Add a pinch of sugar, a dash of pepper and a teaspoon of vinegar for extra zing. Be a purist and mix it in a separate bowl to get the ratios right, before setting your steak a-swim.

Epiphany Four

DIY cheesecake can be yours at breakfast. Take a slice of thin, brown bread. Run it through the toaster twice, so it’s hot and a bit crumbly. Slather liberally with whole fat Philadelphia cream cheese. Add a layer of strawberry jam. Cue food-gasm.

With these tips in mind, may you navigate your way around dry Yorkshire pudding, ginger-tart-induced broken teeth and hitless cappuccinos. Oh, and for God’s sake, step away from the quorn.

Symonne Torpy

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