Next week we’ll have the conclusion of our Tuesdays on packing school lunches.
For many families this week marks the departure of college freshmen for dormitory life so we’ll be discussing college survival cooking. Yes, I know…”meal plans” are a popular option. But let’s face it, the food you get on those is “industrial”…it can quickly seem boring and redundant (not to mention less than healthy). There is always pizza, there always will be. Regardless of what is said about nutrition and the perils of fast food I am certain many kids will survive college with that as the main staple of their diet. There are however more healthy ways to nourish yourself while living on campus or in any other simple setting. Try these simple ideas to survive with a microwave, a frying pan (that does not go in the microwave), and a few other basic tools.
Space can be lacking when you are sardined into the typical college dorm room with a roommate (or two). Because of this it is essential that you bring only what is needed and are savvy about how you store it. Most dormitories are equipped with “community kitchens”- but these kitchens normally only offer the bare minimum of dated appliances in a less than spotless setting. Fortunately you can still survive if you have access to a microwave (you can often bring your own- though you’ll need to check for wattage restrictions) and a good non-stick frying pan. Though other small appliances like toasters and crock pots might seem that they would make dorm living more convenient- there may be rules in place that make these items illegal. Carefully read the guidelines for your residence hall before wasting your money on something you cannot use.
You should however consider the following basics for your kit:
- medium non-stick frying pan (with this you can cook eggs, quesadillas, grilled cheese, etc.)
- a HEAT PROOF plastic or silicone spatula or egg turner (do not even try to use a metal one on your nice new pan!)
- baking sheet (how else will you cook frozen pizza or break and bake cookies!
- medium sauce pan with lid (to make macaroni & cheese & spaghetti in)
- can opener
- liquid measuring cup
- dry measuring cups & spoons
- silicone spatula
- medium whisk
- medium mixing bowl (glass would be great if it is microwave proof)
- a sponge (sanitize this once a week by wetting it an microwaving for 90 seconds)
- dish detergent
- food surface sanitizer
- colander (the collapsible ones are really neat)
- small knife
- cutting board
- microwaveable mug
- dish soap
- paper towels
- permanent marker (to label EVERYTHING that is yours, especially your food in the fridge)