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Cooking in the Dorms

posted by LIM College staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Short Takes Melissa GoodwinYorkville, Manhattan is an often-overlooked part of New York that’s settled between the posh Upper Eastside and Spanish Harlem. Standing 19 stories tall at 97th Street and 3rd Avenue is a young, hip, living space for college students, LIM’s Residence Hall. These hungry students are living the real Manhattan lifestyle: they have no typical college meal plan. How do these youngsters eat?

There are two options: Order out (hello Joy Burger!), or do the sensible thing and cook. Chose the latter. Be like your mom and make a grocery list. It makes sense and helps save money. Now you're ready to set off with your reusable bags and a grannycart, but wait! Do not even consider stepping foot into the grocery stores within a five-block radius of the dorms. Can anyone say "rip off!"? 

Instead take the 6 train to Union Square and mingle with NYU students as you shop Trader Joes. This place is Wal-Mart cheap. And it’s cool. It is all organic and the people who work and shop there are super friendly and keep an upbeat atmosphere. Be forewarned though: everyone loves it and there is only one in all of Manhattan, so it is packed. 

Once you have the food in your possession and have miraculously made it back to your room without crushing your chips, then what? If you truly love the earth, or just want to buy direct from the farmers who grew the food, go to the Union Square Green Market or the smaller green-markets around NYC. The CENYC website lists where to find them. But let’s backtrack a moment. Wherever you shopped, you must acquire heavy duty aluminum foil and...pasta. They are your new best friends. You will have good times and bad times. There will be times when you want nothing but to come home to a plate of pasta, and times when you would like nothing more than to flush it down the toilet. But it is cheap, relatively healthy, and easy to make. You'll learn to love it. Next, the aluminum foil.  I bet you don’t realize it, but you can cook anything in foil (except pasta, don’t even try it). Veggies? Roll them up! Chicken? Yes. Cookies? They come out perfectly on the shiny side of the foil. Leftovers? No worries, you have foil wrapping for them.

Now that you have the cooking part of college life down, it’s time to use the kitchen for its real potential: socializing. Cooking is the way to meet people in the dorms. At some point, everyone uses the kitchen. On any given night, you will hear loads of people in the kitchen watching the latest episode of what’s on TV that night, talking and laughing. You might share a stove top with someone you had no idea was your neighbor, or need to borrow salt from a girl that you have never met. Cooking and eating obviously go well with catching up with friends, comparing notes with classmates, and general gossip and chatter. So get out of your room, save money, and I’ll see you in the kitchen!

- Melissa Goodwin

More reading

Dorm Cooking 101

Cooking in the Dorm

Campus Cuisine: Dorm Cooking, Dining Hall Options

A cautionary tale not to be ignored!

Topics: New York City, food