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Opinion Piece: Dorm Cooking

After spending my break enjoying home cooked meals and cupboards full of snacks, I have been struggling to readjust to college dining. Don’t get me wrong, the food Colby offers isn’t bad by any stretch. In fact, I think the dining service does an excellent job of offering students vegan and vegetarian options and having a wide variety of food for every meal. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to regulate the quality of mass produced food. Undercooked vegetables and overcooked pasta is an unavoidable reality that most college students encounter. Tiny salt packets become an essential part of every meal. Recently, I invested in a bottle of ketchup because I realized it plays an essential role in many of my  meals. College students adjust and move on, enjoying our meals when we can. 

My return to school has sparked an interest in dorm room cooking. I am enjoying making overnight oats and mug cakes, but I am considering the possibility of cooking more complex meals. There are a few things that make cooking in my room difficult. First, groceries are expensive. Many of us were lucky enough to have parents who made weekly grocery runs. Although items are generally between three and five dollars, ingredients add up. Second, finding a clean surface to prepare food on is a challenge. Our desks are (hopefully) used for studying, and our dressers are used to hold whatever we can’t fit on our desks. It’s challenging to cook when you don’t have a place to chop or stir. Finally, I am notoriously bad at doing dishes. Even when I had a dishwasher at home, I had a bad habit of allowing dishes to pile up in my room. My family began calling the perpetual pile of plates and cups my “dish farm.” At school, it’s even more difficult to motivate myself to wash dishes because it is done in the bathroom sink by hand. 

Maybe a few of the obstacles could be overcome, but it seems to me that cooking at school complicates life in a way most of us don’t have time for. Colby kids are busy. I’m not sure I could fit in “chop vegetables” between class and practice. Living in a dorm complicates every aspect of cooking a meal, but sometimes you just need a break from Bob’s pizza. I think cooking in a dorm room requires a level of commitment and motivation that I don’t currently possess. But who knows, we’ll see where the semester, and more importantly the dining halls, take me. 

I'm a student at Colby College from Seattle, WA. I am on the rowing team at Colby and I'm planning on being a molecular biology major. I enjoy watching movies and baking.
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