How to prepare a home cooked meal in a dorm

Stovetops like this one in Nelson, can quickly become crowded.

Stovetops like this one in Nelson, can quickly become crowded.

Skipping a trip to Kise doesn’t have to mean leftover pizza or takeout Chinese food. We all know that cooking in the dorms is less than ideal but fine cuisine isn’t impossible in tight quarters. There are some tricks to keep in mind when trying to prepare homemade cuisine in a dormitory kitchen.

“You have to learn to work with what you have, and to do it quickly,” said Kelsey Slattery, a freshman pre-law student and Nelson resident.

Use the right tools
Stoves are sometimes unreliable. Having microwave safe plates and dishes are a must. A good way to test if a dish is safe is by filling it with water and microwaving it for 30 to 45 seconds. If the water is hot and the dish is still cool, it is safe.

Utensils can take up a lot of space. Having a few universal tools will save preparation room. A spatula and an oversized mixing spoon will go a long way. The same goes for pans. A frying pan, baking tin and spaghetti pot cover all the basics. English education freshman Courtney Edmand uses a small pot and frying pan to do all of her cooking in Nelson.

“I think it works just fine since I’m only cooking for one person,” Edmand said.

Aluminum foil, paper towels, plastic wrap and dish soap are also necessary. If a fridge is available, plastic bags and Tupperware are good to have around for leftovers.

Don’t go Costco on ingredients
Fridge space is limited, so don’t over-purchase. Make sure to have a plan when grocery shopping. Buy perishables such as milk and eggs as needed. It’s also important to be aware of serving size. Cramped refrigerators mean less room for leftovers.

Counter space is another problem. The less chopping the better. Frozen vegetables often come sliced and most grocery stores carry fresh sliced veggies, ready to throw in a pot.

Share the kitchen
Remember that there are usually 20 people sharing one kitchen. Quick meals are easier on everyone during dinner time rush. Edmand recommends dishes that can be fried or boiled to save on time. If someone else is in the kitchen, give them space and wait until they finish.

“People are always on top of each other. It’s common courtesy to wait until others are done,” Edmand said.

Get creative
Not all floors have a stove or oven and when they do, ovens are not always reliable. Learn to cook in a microwave, it’s good for more than ramen noodles. Baked potatoes, chocolate fondue, and even scrambled eggs can be nuked.


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