Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tools for your Dorm Room

When you came to college, you probably didn't have much in the way of possessions that would help you get by. Towels, a box fan, maybe some underbed boxes, laundry accessories, etc. Maybe someone was really thinking ahead and gave you some eating implement, like plates, silverware, or bowls. Little did they realize that you'd have to walk down the hall to wash these things each time you used them, and you're in college, so you can't be bothered to do that.

So I've compiled a list of items you should have in your dorm room, especially if you don't have a meal plan, to ensure you don't starve.

  1. Paper plates and bowls, and plastic flatware. Yes, being wasteful is a terrible thing, I know. And if you can stand washing dishes in a bathroom sink, then go for it. For the rest of us, disposable plates, bowls, and flatware is the easiest way to go - just avoid foam at all costs. Make sure you get plates and bowls that have a thin plastic coating on the eating surface, because the super cheap ones don't and will leak through. Good paper bowls, like Dixie paper bowls, will stand up to cereal with milk, and not leak. Likewise, paper plates like the coated ones I find at Walmart, will stand up to microwaving wet substances and eating very hot foots from. Disposable flatware type is less important... get whatever's cheap!
  2. Microwave & Mini-fridge. Know that each time you make popcorn in your microwave, it will never pop it quite as well as the last time. Get one that's reasonably priced, but don't bother with the very cheapest. They will only last 6 months at most, and won't cook well enough to be worth it anyway. Also, mini fridges need a bit of maintenance to ensure their ice boxes don't completely clog up with ice layers.
  3. Pyrex containers with lids. You don't need a lot of them. I purchased this set a while back and, probably partially because I have no dishwasher to put the lids in, they have been one of the best investments I've made. You can store a lot of stuff in them, and they hold up really well. Microwave safe, too.
  4. Microwaveable baking dish with glass lid. The glass lid is the most important part - instead of having to stretch saran wrap over this thing to steam veggies, you can just use the lid and zap! I got one of these from Walmart a while back, and it too has stood up to a lot of abuse. These things are great because you can go to the store, pick out any fresh veggie you like, stick it in this dish with a splash of water and the lid, and zap it for 3-4 minutes, and you have steamed fresh veggies! In one dish, no boiling required!
  5. An electric multi cooker pot similar to this. This this has allowed me to cook a HUGE batch of pasta in one go, and continues to impress me with its versatility and nonstick properties. It might be of questionable legality to have in your dorm room, but I think it's worth the trouble - it's so versatile and easy to deal with, you'll be happy you got one.

Well that's it for now. The next recipe will probably be something like my ghetto chicken parmesan... stay tuned!