Dorm Food 101


            A week or so has passed and the new college semester is under way. The books have been purchased class schedules filled and a new start underway.  If you are new to the dorm life there may be some changes that you may need to get used to. The dorms are cramped and the cooking facilities maybe next to adequate, but there are a few things you can do to fight against the dreaded freshmen 15 (or so). Yes I said it, with a few steps you can eat well and fend off that extra weight or at least eat better then your average dorm resident

If you are new to my articles let me tell you some basics so you know what you are getting into. I am vegetable enthusiast. What this means is that overtime I have recognized the benefits of eating more vegetables then meat products. That being said I do enjoy a good hot dog and a greasy cheeseburger. I have just changed my personal diet to not eat a dozen hot dogs when given the opportunity (I have done this trust me). I want to offer you, the current residents of the dorms around the FM area an option from just Ramen noodles and pizza or E-ZMac.  I will be working with in a shoe-string budget. I will also be divulging the best meals around town for the best prices.


With limited space and money the key to being able to eat well is to stock up on dried goods that can be stored almost anywhere in an airtight container. With a good supply of dried goods you can purchase fresh veggies and meat products as needed to finish any meal. Rice and beans, as unexciting as they may sound are a great place to start with a pantry. I also suggest taking a good personal inventory of the types of food that you enjoy. If you like to eat a lot of Mexican foods there are a few spices that you will need such as cumin, coriander, chili powder and any dried peppers you can find. I would also suggest canned tomatoes. With these few ingredients you have what you need to make a simple Spanish rice. With space being at a premium, the more you can use your ingredients all around the better. The trick is not to get bored of the things that you have and to make them convenient.


Starting school can be a bit expensive but even beyond the price of books there are a few pieces of cooking gear that should be purchased. With the right equipment cooking can be convenient and fast. Knives, pots and pans all of things can be a little pricey but well worth the purchase. A sharp cooking knife is an essential piece of equipment.  The Asian American Market on Main Ave in Fargo has 2 pieces of equipment that I think no dorm room should be with out. The AAM (Asian American Market) carries chef knives for less then ten dollars that hold an edge and rice cookers. Rice cookers are fantastic for easy rice preparation. This will more then likely be your first purchase of pots and pans I will say that stainless steel is your best bet, it isn’t the cheapest but it is the best bang for your buck. Ok so this is a basic start to the things needed for a small kitchen.


Simple Spanish Rice



  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup chunky salsa


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix rice into skillet, stirring often. When rice begins to brown, stir in chicken broth and salsa. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.

Eat well; your body will appreciate it.

Pete Nielson


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