Tag Archives: Dorm Cooking

Brown Sugar and Chili Braised Pork Shoulder

Having a spare hour or two in the afternoon, I decided to braise a whole pork shoulder for dinner. Although I run a lot, I could count on the help of a few friends—six to be precise—to finish off the beast. Pork shoulder is intrinsically delicious (oh fat, oh crispy skin, so the ode proceeds), cheap ($1.99 a pound!), and extremely easy to cook. In fact, I left the shoulder in the oven for two hours unsupervised during my evening class. No harm done. It does, however, require time, and time’s attendant, patience, for a proper preparation. Do not undertake a pork shoulder roast lightly: it is not a dish to be trifled with. Continue reading


Filed under College Life, Columbia University, Recipes

College Dorm-Proof Lamb Chili

For my first meal in my new kitchen, I wanted to cook chili, a dish easily prepared in the space of a Lazy Sunday afternoon. Shopping at Fairway, a labyrinthine and beautiful grocery store at 132nd Street, I spied ground lamb. Although Serious Eats offers an excessively complex—almost self-parodically so—beef chili recipe, I prefer a simpler scoop of beans and meat. My dorm kitchen, shared with six suite mates, is a claustrophobe’s nightmare. There’s no room for voluminous ingredient lists, let alone a host of tabletop appliances set aside for processing coffee beans and esoteric spices. Fortunately, great tasting chili is, for me, a matter of imprecision, intuition, improvisation, and an ex-mad scientist’s soul, one turned away from Enlightenment rationalism and embracing of melodramatics.  Continue reading


Filed under College Life, Columbia University, Recipes, Theory and Criticism

Cooking with Cast Iron: Pasta Two Ways

Pasta is pretty hard to mess up, even if you’re looking for that precise al dente chew. More importantly, pasta, especially the whole wheat variety, packs in the nutrients and calories at a low price point, which makes it an optimal choice for starving college students. Dressed with a simple sauce, vegetables, cheese, and maybe a portion of meat, pasta is a complete, fast, and easy meal. Continue reading

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Cooking with Cast Iron: Salmon, Young Garlic, Yellow Oyster Mushrooms, M’smen

In my closet, I keep a cast iron pan, a Dutch oven, a Pyrex baking dish, a spatula, and a spoon. I have easy access to a kitchen this summer, and I intend to use it. My cooking implements, which will hopefully last through the next year, cost $80—I brought my knives with me from home. Stocking my pantry was similarly simple: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ancho chilies. Ironically, now that I have a kitchen there’s no fridge in sight. Perishables must be procured within a short window of opportunity. With that list of basic ingredients and a willingness to brave Westside Market’s crowded aisles, I should be able to cook most of my repertoire. Continue reading

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Adventures of the Kitchen Warrior: Part 1

Caleb P., New England Conservatory

As the second semester settles into a familiar groove, many college underclassmen find themselves facing the daunting task of deciding where they want to live next year. Most schools require at least one year of on-campus housing, and the dorms excel at fully immersing freshmen in the culture of the school. At New England Conservatory, undergraduates are only required to spend one year in the dorms, and after crunching some numbers last year, I realized I could save a lot of money living off campus. While dorm meal plans can be expensive, simply moving into an apartment and eating out every meal saves little to no money in comparison. I’m paying rent for the kitchen, so I might as well use it. Cooking while in college poses unique challenges to the novice chef, and hopefully the handful of strategies and recipes that I’ve picked up so far will shed some light for those considering cooking in an apartment or even in their dorm. Continue reading

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