The York St John Student Cookbook: a time capsule of student food culture and resilience
Published: 07 September 2023
York St John University is pleased to launch the YSJ Student Cookbook, created by students for students. The book will be offered for free to all students in York St John University accommodation this September. This aims to provide new students with valuable tips, literal food for thought, and an opportunity to connect through shared culinary experiences.
A digital version is also published online so that students at any university can access the recipes, stories and budgeting tips.
The book offers an array of tasty and cheap recipes as well as guidance and inspiration for navigating a student kitchen, often with minimal ingredients. It is a comprehensive resource designed to empower students with essential cooking skills, budgeting tips, and innovative ways to minimise waste. Alongside the recipes are personal food stories and self-help resources designed to help students survive and thrive in their kitchens as they find their feet with university life.
Recognising the significance of food as a unifying force, the University is distributing one physical copy of the cookbook per kitchen in all its accommodation units. By doing so, students are encouraged to come together and create meals collectively, fostering a sense of community and friendship.
The cookbook has been put together by a team of student volunteers as part of the Living Lab network from the University’s Institute for Social Justice. The award-winning Living Lab is entering the second year of its Feeding the Campus project, which aims to create a campus food system that better meets the needs of both people and planet.
Student Ellie Calvert from the YSJ Student Cookbook Editorial and Design team said: “We all know that student life can be a bit hectic; as you navigate your way through exams, part-time jobs, placements, lectures and nights out. It can be really hard to get that work-life balance, whilst nourishing your body with a range of good food.
"That’s why we wanted to create a cookbook, that inspires students to cook with a variety of ingredients, whilst also being simple, flexible and mostly budget friendly. What’s not to like?
“We also wanted our cookbook to have that personal touch, to highlight and record our diverse food stories. Many of our food stories show our efforts in coping with current challenges such as, the cost-of-living crisis, post-pandemic, food poverty and environmental predicaments. We think it’s especially important to highlight real-life issues that many students face today, by bringing you on our YSJ cookbook journey.”
Dr Elodie Duché, Senior Lecturer: Modern History and part of the Living Lab team said: "The YSJ Student Cookbook is an extraordinary testament to the resilience and creativity of our student community. It not only celebrates the richness of our diverse culinary experiences but also addresses the pressing issues that shape students' lives today.
"The shared narratives create a tapestry of student life, reflecting the diverse identities, values, and challenges that shape the student community at York St John. We are immensely proud of our student volunteers for their dedication and the invaluable resource they have created."
Vic Hamilton, Head of Library and Learning Services and Induction and Transition Lead said: “The decision to distribute the cookbook aligns with York St John University's commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all students. By providing practical resources and opportunities for social interaction, we want to ensure that students feel welcomed, supported, and engaged from the very beginning.
"We believe that food has the power to bring people together and create lasting connections. By offering the YSJ Student Cookbook to new students in our accommodation, we hope to encourage them to explore the joys of cooking, share meals, and build relationships that will enrich their university experience."
The YSJ Student Cookbook is also available to download here York St John Student Cookbook 2023 (PDF, 2.9 MB)
It is offered free of charge but the student team encourage you to make a 'pay-as-you-can' donation to York-based food support charity The Collective Sharehouse.