Help! My Dorm Room Has a Kitchen!

By Hsing Tseng on June 25, 2012
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If you’ve spent your first year of college in a residence hall, then you probably have gotten used to making meals with just the good old micro-fridge and maybe an electric water kettle if you’re ambitious. However, you’ve probably discovered that dining hall food, ramen, Easy Mac, popcorn and the occasional piece of fruit do not make a healthy diet. If you’re a rising sophomore moving into an upperclassmen building, it’s likely that you’ll have access to a kitchen of some sorts.

Photo by Peter Alfred Hess via Flickr.com

As someone currently staying in Nagel Hall, the University of Denver’s newest residence hall, I spent the first week tiptoeing around the stove and pretending that it didn’t exist, but my bank account suffered a harsh blow from all that takeout! If you’re worried about using the kitchen and are thinking about sending your parents an S.O.S., here’s what to do!

  • Examine the kitchen. Do you have a microwave? Sink? How big is the fridge? Is there a stove? An oven? Dishwasher?
  • Coordinate with the other people sharing the kitchen, whether this be your floormates or suitemates, to figure out who is willing and able to provide essential items like cookware, pot holders, utensils, bakeware, soap, dish towels, etc. This way everyone chips in an equal amount of time and more importantly, money.
  • Buy some groceries. Don’t buy everything you want! Groceries are more expensive than you’d think. Do you really need that ice cream? Walk on past that frozen aisle and stock up on some greens in the produce aisle. You’ll be eating healthier and, surprisingly, cheaper. Some other essentials you might need are eggs, bread, salt, butter, and milk among other things.
  • Get a beginner’s cookbook. These are invaluable resources for those moments when you have no idea what to make. Lots of these cookbooks also provide life-saving “Mom Tips” about cooking. Start with easy no-brainer recipes like Spaghetti or Pancakes and work your way up to more advanced recipes.

Not only is cooking in your own kitchen more resourceful and affordable, but it also will give you a sense of accomplishment. Your suitemates will be impressed with your bravery in tackling the Stove Monster. There’s also a  certain pride that comes from tasting one’s own cooking and thinking, “Yes, I made this all by myself.”

Grab your spatula and start feeding yourself! If you haven’t moved in yet, why not take advantage of summertime and gain some cooking experience in the safety of your own home?

Do you have any great stories about your kitchen quests?

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A second-year at the University of Denver, Hsing is part of the National Columnist team with Uloop. She loves covering the nerd culture and technology beat and aspires to work for Kotaku or IGN. You can find her gaming, watching anime, or blogging away madly. (Good luck finding her Tumblr, though.) She is super involved at DU, and wouldn't have it any other way.

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