Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Extreme College Cooking: An Electric Kettle

The title, which I think is quite snazzy, is somewhat inaccurate. Frugal Son refuses--on environmental and clutter grounds--to take a dorm fridge we ALREADY have or to get a microwave. So his attitude is somewhat extreme.

His eating situation is not particularly extreme, because he has a hefty meal plan. He just gets hungry a lot. Having rejected the above-mentioned appliances, he surprised us by requesting an electric kettle. With an automatic shut off (CHECK--not all have this feature), this is a safe appliance, allowed in many dorm situations (BUT CHECK your rules).

I had amassed some microwave-free snacks: crackers, peanut butter. Now what? With the electric kettle, you can make instant coffee, hot chocolate, instant oatmeal. Not to mention the ubiquitous ramen packet, which is OK now and then, as long as you don't think salt, msg, oil, and noodles constitute a nutritious meal.

Frugal Son requested instant grits. He said Cajun seasoning mix (now widely available) is all that is required to jazz up the bland base. All of the above would seem to suffice for the late hours of hunger or caffeine deprivation.

Other ideas are couscous, which can be reconstituted with hot water, and those powdered soup mixes, some of which are not too vile. We will report back if we try them.

Frugal Son decided to buy a stainless steel electric kettle because many people complained about the "plastic" taste of water boiled in plastic. We have a plastic one at home, but have never noticed an off taste.

Any other ideas for boiled water, no refrigerator cuisine? An interesting problem to be solved.

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