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As the new school year is in full swing, first years and upperclassmen alike are reentering the dorms and many of them will be wondering how to fend for themselves (Especially since right around now is when the food stockpiles from parents are starting to run out). Here are some basic tips and tricks to help keep yourself safe in the kitchen and make all of your food taste better (even if it came out of a can). 

1. Be aware of cross contamination! 

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The biggest mistake a person can make is placing raw meat or eggs around other types of foods. Anything raw is a perfect carrier for bacteria that would love to give you food poisoning.

2. CHICKEN IS NOT COOKED LIKE STEAK.

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Scream this for the people in the back. You are asking to get sick if you cook your chicken ‘medium rare.’ Chicken is done when the thickest part of the chicken is white all the way through. If your chicken is pink, cook it longer. Your bowels and roommates will thank you.

3. Don’t be afraid to season!

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The most valuable thing I could have bought to use in my first year dorm was a container of salt. Literally, even the most bare bone basic seasoning will help bring your food to the next level and keep you from being miserable. If you’re feeling really daring, a container of dried basil will bring out the flavor in everything. It’s one of my biggest kitchen essentials.

4. Watch the timers and triple check all cooking times.

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The worst mistake you can make is to cook something for too long or too little. Too long, the meal will become dry and have risk of burning. Too little, you take a chance of getting yourself sick. Most of the time, the cooking times are accurate and you should adhere to them until you become more comfortable in the kitchen. And once you do that, you can mess with the cooking times to your preference.

5. Wash your fruits and vegetables.

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You never know what pesticides, bird crap, and other such disgusting things have been lurking on your food. Not to mention all the hands that might have touched them. Yuck!  

6. Check expiration dates before you buy.

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If you aren’t going to use it by the time, you shouldn’t risk wasting your money. Nothing is more demoralizing than throwing out food that you were totally gonna use tomorrow and spent a gajillion dollars on just because you didn’t get a chance to.    For real, just don’t do anything stupid and actually give a crap. The manufacturers know what they’re talking about and really do have your interests at heart. If you follow the steps carefully and don’t just not care, you’ll be just fine. 

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Check out Part Two here or Part Three here!

Rebekah Grimes

Gettysburg '20

Originally from Southern California, Rebekah is a senior History major and Classics minor (And former Co-Campus Correspondent) at Gettysburg College. She loves the theater, electroswing, unique teas, the Fallout franchise, red lipstick, DMing Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, experimenting in the kitchen, her partner, and is working on her first novel. She has interned at Gettysburg National Military Park and at the Seminary Ridge Museum as a Brian C. Pohanka Fellow. She is also a Ravenclaw! You can check out her chapter's profile on her here!
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