The Gourmand’s Guide to Gluttony: What does your degree say about your diet?

PHOTO// Steven+Alison Hoober

This week, the Gourmand goes all sciencey with a carefully conducted bit of research into how the subject you study affects how, what and when you eat. In the interests of fair experimentation, we interviewed a test group of fourteen second year Lincolnites with only two variables: subject studied and gender. A good range of subjects are represented here, from the scientists to the artists, and the results have been…increbidle.



The careful, sensible life of precision that a medic leads is reflected in their eating habits: one medic, a certain A. Franciolini, says of this: “I’ve got quite a structured timetable so I have to eat in quite a structured way”, interspersing 9am lectures with balanced meals such as his daily “chicken tikka baguette with mango chutney and a Sprite”. A leaning towards the unhealthy is already perceptible, corroborated by the selection of Lucozade bottles and baked goods found in his room. Indeed, Dr. Franciolini admits that he “like[s] a bit of glucose – maybe a cherry bakewell” when powering through an essay, whilst our other medic, Lutfi, turns to dairy products: “I just wish I had more time for cheese at college”, he sighs mournfully, though this love is apparently not shared by our first subject, who declares: “I hate cheese. Solid cheese.”



Non-medic scientists, it seems, live a somewhat healthier life; Sarah, a biomedical scientist, eats a typical meal of “soup and veg, microwaved. It’s quick and I can kid myself that it’s healthy when I follow it up with a chocolate bar.” The curse of knowledge, however, hounds her, as, whilst knowing that the pseudo-science of ‘low-fat = healthy’ is quite untrue, she admits that she occasionally buys into it, particularly during an essay crisis: “My comfort food of choice would have to be malt loaf. It says low fat, but I’m not sure that applies when you eat a whole loaf.” Meanwhile, Olivia, a chemist, bemoans the fact that “on Monday and Tuesday I don’t really eat until 6”, due to her extensive labs. However, the dietary pitfalls so often caused by essay crises don’t seem to plague her, as she scoffs: “I don’t write essays!”, though she admits to being “a sucker for a nice cookie.”



Moving away from the sciences, the gastronomic changes are remarkable. Alex often opts for “a half-price panino or a buy-one-get-one-free burrito”, noting that “cheaper food maximises welfare”, as his economics has taught him. Tom, meanwhile, prefers Fasta Pasta to “get my carbs up”, adding that “philosophy has led me to pesto-based solutions”. In the nocturnal hours, as well as during essay crises, he appreciates the “convenience and beauty of Hassan’s … with the possible addition of a Jägerbomb”. Alex instead embraces the Zen lifestyle of a philosopher with “a cuppa camomile and some meat-flavour McCoy’s”.



Lawyers seem to be an odd bunch, with Becca proclaiming her undying love for cereal, even consuming it tactically. She lets me in on the secret of “wholegrain cereals to get me started on an essay, sugary ones to help it along”. Claire, however, truly takes the term ‘working lunch’ to heart, often scoffing a tin of cold baked beans whilst hard at work. How has her work affected her? “I now know all about the contract between me and a restaurateur…and how to get away without paying!”, she cheekily replies. Indeed, she adds that “we get all of our weekly vitamins and minerals at law dinners”, making up for an otherwise measly diet.



History is markedly lad territory, with our own dear news editor, James, admitting that he is “ashamed to say that dinner is all too often McDonald’s or Hassan’s.” Despite this, he recognises that “mealtimes in hall are a nice, sociable way to punctuate the day”, a sentiment shared by Tom who will, however, just as eagerly opt for a fish and chip dinner – “Posh Fish for a posh twat”, he jokes. Whilst James will use “a fuckload of chocolate digestives with a hot drink” to fuel his essay-writing, Tom flippantly remarks: “I’m an arts student. Work doesn’t stop me eating.”, adding that he “knows a lot about medieval banquets.”



Uncultured oik and French student, Matt, shamefully admits that his usual meal is “a sandwich and pasta from Tesco”, although he adds that his studies have “made me a wine snob. All this culture’s going to my head.” Matt does, however, note that “The influence of Stevie G has made me appreciate poultry much more.” Unlike more studious types, he never sacrifices his stomach for work, declaring that “food is paramount.” Meanwhile, Italian and German student Cat is much more in touch with her cultured side, happily avowing her love for Italy’s great export: “Kettle pasta. I love pasta. Any kind of pasta. … Pasta’s pretty Italian.” Her position as Cookie Fairy cannot, however, make similar claims.


English Literature

English students lean towards hipsterish refinement, it seems, as both Harriet and Rachel declare their partiality for Alpha Bar: “You can create your own salad!”, notes the former, whilst Rachel calls it “a particular favourite, for lunch or dinner.” Harriet’s eclectic selection of teas suggests her essay crisis crutch is “a nice cup of tea in one of my many rainbow mugs”, whilst Rachel is ever the health nut, preferring “muesli with fruit and natural yoghurt” as it “doesn’t make you feel like shit”. A little healthier, then, than a certain medic’s sugary world of pure imagination…