More revision and “How to Eat like a Grad Student”

Bike outside Hertford CollegeToday was spent chewing over material from the quantitative methods lectures, looking up key terms online, reading about neorealism, and taking breaks to read The Economist. Such is the natural conduct of an international relations graduate student. Since I proposed the joint study session for the stats exam tomorrow afternoon, I feel I should be well prepared for it.

Looking through the Cabin Fever photos this afternoon, during a study break, I was reminded of how much I miss the people who were there: Tristan, Alison, Jonathan, Nick. Neal, and Meaghan especially. I hope I get the chance to see all of you somewhere, before I leave Oxford in summer of 2007. This is one reason I am glad to have digitized more than 5000 photos before leaving Vancouver.

Motivated largely by the desire to avoid stats, I made an unusually complex dinner tonight. I don’t even know how to categorize it, but I will explain for the benefit of people in similar living arrangements:

How to Eat like a Grad Student
An occassional new feature of a sibilant intake of breath

Preparation time: 20 minutes (if you stagger everything correctly)

Vegetarian (vegans could replace the butter with olive oil and cheese with vegan cheese-like stuff)

Nutrients: calories (potatoes), protein (cheese, beans, tofu), hot sauce

Requires minimal kitchen equipment

Costs less than 5 Pounds

His Dark Materials

  • Large bowl or plate (courtesy of Margaret)
  • Sharp knife (in my case, my Swisstool multitool)
  • Frying pan (courtesy of Sarah)
  • Microwave oven
  • Stove (apparently called a ‘cooker’ over here)
  • Optional: goggles (if your eyes object as much to the sulpher dioxide released by chopped and cooking onions as mine do)
  • Potatoes (3 medium)
  • Onions (red, 3 medium)
  • Kidney beans (1 can, in chili sauce)
  • Hot sauce of your choice
  • Tofu (about 100 cubic centimetres)
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese (about 30 ccs)
  • Butter (about 10 ccs)


  1. Wash potatoes, cut about halfway through lengthwise to release steam, microwave until cooked.
  2. Heat frying pan to maximum temperature, add butter.
  3. Peel and chop onions into small pieces.
  4. Fry onion pieces in butter until browning.
  5. Add hot sauce.
  6. Chop tofu into 1cc pieces, chop or crumble cheese.
  7. Add can of kidney beans to cooked onions.
  8. Add cheese and tofu.
  9. Add more hot sauce, cook until uniformly warm.
  10. Cut cooked potatoes into pieces or slices
  11. Put onion/bean complex on top of potatoes.

This makes more than enough for one hungry person and tastes way better than the same recipe with any of the components removed. If you add enough hot sauce, it makes a good decongestant if you have a bit of a cold.

With a few more potatoes, this could easily serve two people. It’s a scalable recipe. Actually, this one is good enough that I might even try subjecting another person to it. Cooking for more than one would obviously be dramatically more efficient, as the marginal time for preparing a second portion of the above is dramatically less than the marginal time for preparing the first portion.

The most sensible way to deal with reading for the first core seminar is to delay it until after the exam. The exam finishes at 4:30pm on Friday and the seminar isn’t until the following Tuesday. To do the reading now would waste valuable revision time (or, at least, time I can spend thinking and writing about revising).

  • As I am sure most people could guess, the two for one deal on strange Superdrug brand energy drinks can lead to brief periods of very high productivity, followed by a pronounced dip characterized by hunger and a weird inability to concentrate. (How to shop like a graduate student: yes, I would like to buy these cans of energy drink and four tubes of discounted toothpaste, paying with a foreign credit card.)
  • I am looking forward to a pre-departure dinner of Indian food with Louise tomorrow. Delicious, delicious vegetarian curry, dahl, etc on Cowley Road.
  • Looks like you can’t trust writable CDs for long-term backup. Good thing hard drives are getting so cheap.
  • Seeing all the IR M.Phils returned from miscellaneous places around the world tomorrow is a much anticipated happening. It’s always a lot easier to motivate yourself to work as part of a working group.

8 thoughts on “More revision and “How to Eat like a Grad Student””

  1. “His Dark Materials?” Cute.

    “…sulpher dioxide…
    …100 cubic centimetres…
    …onion/bean complex…
    …a scalable recipe…
    …marginal time”


  2. As a Mac devotee, you may be pleased to know that the first Intel based Macs have been released: a new iMac and a PowerBook replacement. So, there’s never going to be a G5 PowerBook. The built in iSight is a nice touch, I think.

    Of course, the real excitement comes later, when lots of people start porting OS X to PCs.

    Are you still running Panther?

  3. I am still running Panther. I can’t see the value in paying the cost to upgrade to Tiger and I don’t feel like messing around with the OS on a computer that I really need to have working at all times.

    I agree that it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens when people can pick and choose between Apple hardware and the OS. As far as laptops go, I am a huge fan of both. Being able to run Tiger on a cheap Dell box, however, has considerable appeal.

    I hope it proves succeptible to such hacking.

  4. Meh. Suckers bought the Powerbooks: a hugely expensive computers that has the same specs as the iBook and is much easier to break.

    Now, a new Intel iBook might catch my interest.

  5. Generally, technology isn’t good or bad in and of itself. If you need to lug a computer all around the world and have an employer who is willing to pay for it, why not get a PowerBook? They definitely look slicker.

    One of the big fallacies Mac users always commit is to assume that the same solution makes sense for everyone: an idea that betrays a misunderstanding of people and technology relate to one another.

  6. Milan, you make me laugh.

    your recipe makes me laugh especially. very cute. i need to come to Oxford to try it out for myself!


  7. Michelle,

    The recipe’s success is not contingent upon being in Oxford. Much more critical: cooking the onions for the right length of time.


    I’ve added an extra ingredient, just for you. The merciless peppers of Quetzlzacatenango! Grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatamalan insane asylum.

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