Cooking on Campus

As a tour guide, I get asked a lot of questions from prospective students about food – what is the food like here? How do meal plans work? Are there gluten or lactose-free options? But one question that I usually get directed to me and my experiences is, “Do you cook?” I do, actually! I know I’m not emblematic of the whole campus, but I thought I’d share a little about your options.

Even the first-year dorms have some kind of kitchen space, typically one that is shared by a hall or floor. I personally didn’t spend a lot of time cooking my first year, mostly due to the fact that I had a meal plan with unlimited swipes, but I did have a microwave and fridge, like many students choose to. You can buy plenty of snacks on campus that don’t require refrigeration at all – chips, fruit, pretzels, pistachios. If you want, every hall or floor will have a shared kitchen space, and I knew plenty of people who cooked every week.

However, once you move out, the options for kitchen spaces range much more widely. Some people don’t even bother taking kitchen space into account when they choose their living situations, but many do. Many of the apartments at Riverview, for example, have full kitchens with sinks, ovens, even dishwashers! Many of the suites in Phase have a stovetop, sink, and microwave, and some other housing locations have a shared kitchen, just like first-year housing. While the kitchen in Drama House wasn’t the main reason I chose to live there, it certainly factored in, as I love having a place to cook food for myself and my friends, and with an oven, stove, two fridges, and all the cabinet space one could ask for. The photo above is a delicious stack of pancakes that I made.

But what if you’re stuck in first-year housing, or even upperclassmen housing, without much in the way of kitchen equipment, you still have options. What can you do with a microwave and an electric kettle? For this I turned to my brother, a first-year at Champlain College and an aficionado of mug meals. He’s made everything from cookies to cakes to mac and cheese to crepes, and he’s a firm believer in that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make good food in your dorm. Just Google a few simple recipes for mug pastas, pizzas or desserts, and you’ll have a plethora of options to choose from. They’re easy, they’re fast, they’re delicious.

No matter where you choose to live, you can always have access to the Douglass Community Kitchen, one of the most unique aspects of our campus. It’s a kitchen space on campus that is reservable for student organizations or individuals. All you need is a person from your group to get kitchen trained (they hold trainings multiple times throughout the year) and you’re good to go! They have stovetops, an oven, even an overhead mounted camera to make professional looking cooking demonstrations. And their dishwasher can do full loads in three minutes. Three!!!

Really, while you aren’t going to make Michelin star dishes in the comfort of Sue B. or Gilbert, there’s no reason that you can’t use on-campus resources to make fairly decent meals on a regular basis. If you grab a banana, an apple, oatmeal, and a jug of maple syrup at Connections, you can make some pretty gourmet breakfasts. The same is true for eggs, cheese, peppers, and tomatoes at Hillside. So if you’re really worried about the food on campus, I’d say it’s more of a planning problem than a lack of food problem. (And remember, Wegman’s delivers for only a $6 fee and the green lines runs to one of their locations every Saturday.)

About the author

Madeleine Fordham

My name is Madeleine Fordham, I'm from Amherst, Massachusetts, and I am a sophomore at the University of Rochester. Right now I am planning to double major in American Sign Language and theatre, with clusters in web design and British history. I also do every extracurricular activity I possibly can, including (but not limited to) ASL Club, Debate Union, TOOP, Todd Theatre, Campus Times, and Quidditch—go UR Thestrals!

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