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My new favourite thing: the air fryer

Greg Devine


Air fryer on white table top with white background

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Moving to university was something I’d been excited about for months. Now I’ve finally arrived at Newcastle University, it’s everything I expected, and probably more. Finding friends hasn’t been an issue, and I’ve not struggled to find my way around the city yet either.

Shot of Newcastles Arch bridge

Cooking, however, has been the biggest surprise.

I’m definitely not a chef. My cooking skills go about as far as shoving something in the microwave or making a sandwich. Despite my lack of culinary prowess, I’ve made some really nice meals in my first couple of days—all thanks to an air fryer.

I’ve only been here a few days, granted, but I’ve not yet fallen down the ‘instant noodles rabbit hole’ that students tend to succumb to. Instead, I’ve made myself chicken and pork chops, both with a side of rice. I know this doesn’t sound exciting, but for someone who’s never really cooked before, I’ve been amazed at how easy it is with an air fryer. It really is as simple as putting the meat in the basket, setting the temperature, then the time, then pressing ‘start’. Cleaning up is easy, too—just grab some kitchen roll and give it a wipe down. If it needs further cleaning, I just scrub it in the sink.

The air fryer isn’t the only cool gadget in our shared kitchen either. One of my flatmates brought a rice cooker with him. He plans to bulk buy big bags of rice and live off that, just adding some meat to accompany it. Another brought a panini maker, which I’m sure will be a lifesaver when they’re hungover the morning after a heavy night out. There’s also a smoothie maker (which, I’ve been told, can concoct the perfect hangover cure as well as healthy protein shakes).

Chicken in an Air Fryer

People often like to complain at how useless students are when it comes to life skills, but I’ve seen both sides. Yes, I’ve walked in on a flatmate cooking bacon in a pan with butter, because he thought it would stick otherwise. I’ve also seen a student make a gorgeous looking dish with asparagus, chicken, potatoes, and plenty of seasoning. I didn’t get to try it, but if it tasted anywhere near as good as it looked, that flat will be in for a treat with his prowess in the kitchen.

Unfortunately, those in our flat have been limited to what they can eat. Both of the ovens in our kitchen are broken, so even heating a frozen pizza hasn’t been possible; however, I’m sure the university will sort this out for us soon enough. We probably need to invest in a new toaster as well—the flat has one, but the only options are warm bread or cremated cardboard.

I expected to eat fast food and instant meals all the time, yet I’ve not touched them. Maybe there’s something about this first taste of independence that’s clicked something in my brain…helping me migrate seamlessly from teenager to young adult. I’m sure, once my lectures actually start, this feeling may change, but I’m proud of how I’ve adapted in these first few days. In truth, I needed to go to university and, so far, I’m really enjoying it.

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