Moving into your own place, it quickly becomes apparent that just buying five chicken breasts, a jar of sauce and a bag of pasta every week isn't going to cut it.
The key to being able to whip up a tasty meal at short notice is to have a kitchen that's not just stocked with fresh ingredients but also with all of the essential condiments.
Sauces, oils and dips are what tie a meal together and bring it from basic to downright AMAZING.
Here are six that we definitely can't live without:
1. One good bottle of olive oil
This is the Chanel nail polish of the kitchen cupboard – an investment piece that is pricey but oh-so worth it. Olive oil not only works as a base for cooking but also with bread, fish and in salad dressings. Spend a little bit more on a good extra virgin bottle and you'll never look back.
2. Sour cream
A quick fix for dips, a great base for creamy sauces, and a tasty addition to soups and curries. Keep a tub in your fridge at all times!
3. Dijon mustard
The king of condiments! Add a helping to sandwiches, burgers, or salads, or shake up with honey and balsamic vinegar for a truly mouth-watering dressing. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Balsamic vinegar
Oh, sweet nectar. Pretty much everything tastes better with balsamic, we reckon. A splash over some cherry tomatoes and green leaves make the perfect base for a salad, or add some to veggies before roasting them for a lovely tangy kick. It's low in calories and fat too, so it's a great alternative to creamy salad dressings!
5. Soy sauce
Every twenty-something cook should have an epic stir-fry in their arsenal of go-to recipes. A good glug of soy sauce over pan-fried veg, meat or chicken will take a boring meal to the next level. Yum!
6. Relish or chutney
A good tomato or jalapeno relish brings even the most basic ham-and-cheese sambo to life. Add it to burgers, serve it up with an Irish brekkie or use as a dip if you're stuck. Delish!