Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cooking in a college dorm kitchen

Or how I spent 3 hours making chicken, potatoes and salad, singing my bum off in the kitchen of Washburn House.

Earlier this week, I decided to offer up my services as a cook to the other girls who live in my house at Smith College. After some deep pondering, I settled on my great-grandmother's baked chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and a mock Caesar salad.

Unfortunately, much to my dismay, Washburn's kitchen is ill-equipped for much else other than microwave popcorn and instant Annie's macaroni and cheese. To solve this problem, I had to borrow a huge pot to boil the potatoes in from the dorm next door, and then I bought one of those cheap aluminum baking pans at our lovely local Stop & Shop.

After making a grocery list and pricing the whole meal out for the 13 people that signed up, I headed out to do some shopping. Shopping the sales and buying as little of each ingredient as possible, I was able to buy enough chicken, potatoes, salad, cheese, garlic, lemons, parsley, etc. for at least 16 people for only $50! 

Although I had to fight with the oven temperature (the chicken took about an hour and fifteen minutes when it should have taken only 40 minutes) and I had to use a glass platter as the cover to the potato pot, the meal came out very well! The chicken was moist and flavorful, the salad was tangy and full of cheese, and the mashed potatoes (smashed by my very own Breana) contained just the right amount of garlic. An overall success indeed! 

I know that this isn't the most exciting of posts, and the pictures aren't the most beautiful or enticing, but I wanted to share my cooking experience with you just the same. I used to think that I'd love to cook for my house every week, but I think that given the kitchen space, that might be impossible. There are no knives with a blade longer than 2 inches, no pots bigger than a quart or two, and the counter has an ever-growing film from at least the late 50's... I think I'll continue to cook every now and then, maybe in smaller batches, maybe something like a nice penne pasta with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and garlic.... Something to think about! 

Anyway! I already planning what to cook at Thanksgiving when I go home, so I'll keep you posted!!

Much love from Washburn's grungy kitchen!

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