College Bound...and Hungry
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to teach a cooking class to a dozen high school seniors who are a part of the National Charity League. They were bursting with excitement at the prospect of making their own dinner AND learning some tips on how to do some cooking when they are away from home next year during their first year at college.
Cooking while they are living in the dorms? Before you ask if I am nuts, consider this: college schedules are nothing if not hectic - sometimes hunger beckons in the middle of a marathon study session or classes may conflict with the operating hours of the dining hall. Yes, pizza places deliver to dorms, but healthy minded students appreciate being able to have control over the ingredients in some of their foods. The "Freshman-15" can be avoided if a little creativity and caution are used when making meal and snack decisions.
Before I could share my menu and equipment recommendations, (and risk getting sued by the university housing administration!), I had to take a variety of issues into consideration. Safety in a dorm room is of the utmost importance. Given the small work space and tight living quarters, it is important that college students use equipment that is allowed in their dorm and that doesn't pose a fire hazard.
The logic goes something like this: Students are easily distracted. If they are using something hot and forget to turn it off, the whole dorm could burn down. But, if they use electronics that turn themselves off (microwaves, crock pots or rice cookers), the danger is minimized. Blenders are also often a good choice, because they require your attention and are not likely to be left on.
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