Cooking in the Dorm

Cooking in the DormWhether you are just sick and tired of cafeteria food, studying for an exam, or you just feel like having a snack, it is nice to be able to cook a little something in your dorm room on occasion. If you want to consider this option, you first need to check with the Office of Residential Life or your Residence Advisor (RA) to understand whether you can keep a hot plate or microwave in your room, or if there is a regular stove in the lounge of your dorm. Do not bring in any forbidden items, because if you start a fire, you may be held responsible.

You may not want to keep lids or covers to use for microwaving foods, but you can use a paper towel or keep a box of plastic wrap on hand. Just in case you didn’t know: NEVER use tin foil or metal dishes in a microwave. You will blow out your microwave and cause a mini fireworks display! Go to a tag sale (or steal a few utensils from your parents’ pantry). You will need a knife, fork, spoon, wooden spoon or serving spoon. You should also bring a can opener and some plastic or Corel (or other unbreakable dinnerware). Don’t forget a plastic tumbler or glass for your beverages. Bring a dish towel and a sponge to wash out your dishes and utensils in the bathroom or in your kitchenette if you have one. If you leave dirty dishes around your dorm room will start to smell like a garbage dump and you will attract bugs!

Now for the menu: You can buy canned soup, or the serving size soups you can microwave (try to choose a soup that has less than 400 mg of salt (sodium) to eat healthier). You can also buy burritos and veggie burgers in the frozen food section of the grocery store or your college store (if your school sells packaged foods). Look for boxed Macaroni and Cheese, or any of the single serving pasta dishes and keep some of these on hand for a quick, hot meal. Keep frozen dinners or frozen stir-fry meals on hand in your mini-freezer.

Buy peanut butter and jelly, canned tuna and/or other canned or prepared foods you can keep on the shelf in case you don’t even have the energy to throw something in the microwave! And don’t forget cereal. If you keep milk in your refrigerator, you can always grab a bowl and a cereal box and fill up quickly. Try to pick the healthier brands of cereal and stay away from the high sugar stuff. You will feel better in the long run!

Last but not least, protect yourself by plugging your computers, refrigerator and microwave into a surge protector plug strip. Don’t overload plugs. Check with your RA to be sure that you do not have too many things plugged into your electrical outlets. Be safe and enjoy the Dorm Du Jour!