What It Means to Cook Dinner in a Dorm

Today marks the 3rd day that I have been trapped in my dorm building. Now, when I say ‘trapped’, I seriously mean trapped. I have not physically left the building since Saturday night. I have mostly found entertainment in lying in bed listening to music, and even watching the 2-night premiere of ‘The Bachelor’. What can I say, I have spent every day looking forward to going to sleep because that’s how bored I’ve been.

Moreover, I have seriously lacked appetizing food. My building  has 3 places to eat, but for the most part, only one place has been open. It’s a mini-mart style place, and much resembles what a gas station would offer food-wise. So after 3 days of it, a friend and I finally decided that it was time to stretch our dining options.

Now, I’d be lying if I didn’t say at first we thought, “we should just order Papa John’s”. Although an easy and always delicious choice, it was also a frequent and more expensive choice.

So nevertheless, we decided to stray downstairs and see what food the mini-mart had that we could use to make dinner for ourselves. Although the kitchenette really lacks modern kitchen appliances and has next to nothing, we still decided we wanted to embark on the task of creating dinner for ourselves for the first time all school year.

Downstairs, we were able to find spaghetti noodles, a jar of spaghetti sauce, canned green beans, and dinner rolls. Unfortunately, the only rolls were gluten-free and wheat-free, but we decided to still get them since we were running out of options. Next, we began looking for some sort of meat option for our spaghetti. To our dismay, our only real option was to either buy frozen chicken nuggets or put a hot dog on our pasta. So we decided to forego our meat idea and pick up an appetizer of chips and queso and for dessert, individual, microwavable chocolate cakes.

After checking out the kitchen key and all essential supplies, we headed upstairs. We cooked the noodles on the stove of course, and slipped the rolls into the oven. Because we only had 1 pan to cook anything in, we had to get our only bowl from the dorm room and heat up the spaghetti sauce in the microwave. After the noodles were cooked and drained, we began to “prepare” the dish. And by prepare, I mean dump 7 little packets of salt and pepper on the noodles because the dorm doesn’t sell butter and we wanted some flavor on our pasta.

Once our spaghetti was finished and our rolls were baked, we headed back to the dorm. We got out the only dishes we had and served dinner. Because we only had one bowl, we had to put the queso in the same bowl that the spaghetti sauce had been cooked in. Gross maybe, but we persevered. The rolls were harder than our cinder block walls because seriously, who wants gluten-free, wheat-free rolls? But the highlight of the dinner were the canned green beans. Seriously. Good vegetables are definitely lacking on campus, so green beans tasted a little bit like heaven.

So maybe our dinner wasn’t exactly fine dining, but I guess that’s what you get when you’re in college. You use the resources you have to the best of your ability, and deal with what you have, and this is what you get: a dorm cooked meal.

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