How to cook in your dorm without violating your housing contract

This story ran as part of a VCU Student Media Center summer special publication, The Compass, which serves as a guidebook for new students.

Hannah Eason, News Editor

Illustration by Evan McGrady

OK, listen. You told your mom that a full set of pots and pans was unnecessary. Three times. But now you’re in your dorm alone with a microwave and a growling stomach. Let’s even throw into the pot that it’s 3 a.m., and everything’s closed. This article is all you need for a banging meal that should be ready around 3:10 a.m., just in time to get back to studying. 

 The microwave is about to become your best friend. Sure, there may be studies on how dangerous the radiation is, but you can worry about that in your 30s. There are surprisingly a lot of “normal” meals you can cook in that huge hunk of metal you carried up five flights of stairs. 

Illustration by Evan McGrady

 The first is scrambled eggs. Eggs will stay good in your fridge for a couple weeks, and all you have to do is whisk them in a bowl and microwave for one minute. Feel free to add seasoning, cheese and hot sauce after cooking. 

 Because I don’t think it’s possible to write a “dorm cooking” piece without referencing ramen noodles, I would like to start by saying, please don’t eat them every day. Secondly, don’t forget you can add things to that sad noodle packet. When I lived in a dorm, I kept a small bag of veggies in the freezer. I steamed them in water in the microwave. Cook the veggies a little more in the water while you’re boiling noodles, and you’ve got a slightly healthier dinner. If you really want to get fancy, add a scrambled egg to the mix. 

 If you’re worried about waking your roomie up at an ungodly hour, opt for some cereal instead.

Illustration by Evan McGrady

Pro tip: for those concerned milk will expire before you finish a whole carton, opt for almond and skim milk, as they last much longer in your minifridge. Also, bulk-sized boxes of cereal are generally a dollar or two more expensive, but they come with multiple cereal bags so your midnight snack won’t go stale.

 For anyone with a sweet tooth, this is about to become your saving grace: a brownie in a mug. All you need is 1/4 a cup of flour, 1/4 a cup of sugar, 1/4 a cup of water, 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of oil or butter. Voila! I know these ingredients may seem tedious, but most of them are non-perishable. If you’re a coffee drinker you probably already have sugar, and cocoa is great for making hot chocolate in the winter … and your roommate will love you on snow days. 


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