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Dorm Room Dining
For many young adults, dorm living will provide their first real experience of living on their own. Many people must learn to do their own laundry, drag themselves to class every morning, and cook the occasional meal when the campus cafeteria is closed. Thankfully, today there are more options than every for dorm room cooking.
Many dorm rooms include a microwave and refrigerator (see our MICREF combo by Avanti,) and these units can be great for cooking popcorn, hot dogs, frozen dinners, and more, but for some more innovative solutions, you might want to branch out.
Please note that many universities have strict rules on what appliances are allowed in their dorm rooms. You should check with your university before bringing any appliances into the dorms. Also, please exercise caution in cooking, and take all needed safety measures.
If you can heat water to boiling, there are many delicious meals you can easily make. As noted above, please be sure to check with your dorm to see what appliances are allowed, but here are some useful (and versatile) ones:
- A single burner range cooktop. These appliances are similar to the burners on top of a stove, but they plug into a standard 110 volt socket and can easily be stored away when not in use. With just a pot and a pan, your cooking possibilities are nearly endless
- A hot pot. These units are limited to heating or boiling water, but can be used to make anything from tea to rice, ramen noodles, cous-cous, hot dogs, and more. All you need is a little ingenuity
- A rice cooker. Like a hot pot, a rice cooker offers many options beyond simply rice. For some tasty rice cooker recipes, check out this article from the Augusta Chronicle.
- If you're a bit more adventurous, a coffee pot can also be used to cook many of the above items.
Aside from standard dorm room fare such as ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, rice, and microwave popcorn, you might also want to stock up on some healthy snacks. Pretzels, nuts, crackers, and dried fruits such as raisins tend to keep well, and they offer a healthier alternative to chips, pizza, and other late night temptations.
Now that you've dirtied the dishes, what do you do to clean them? Since there are generally two or even just one person per room, it shouldn't be too much trouble to hand wash your dishes in the sink, but the truly well-equipped dorm room isn't complete without a countertop dishwasher.
As a final note, it pays to be careful about what you eat. With many cafeterias offering essentially "All you can eat"-style dining, pizza places offering delivery into the wee hours of the morning, and the new environment and daily stresses of college life, the dreaded "Freshman 15" can be a reality. Remember to watch what you eat and exercise regularly, and you'll have nothing to worry about.