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Old 09-29-2014, 12:54 AM   #1
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Question Good bulk foods to make publicly available in dorm?

Hey guys, I'm an extremely amateur cook and I live in a dormitory at Auburn University in Alabama, USA. We have a meal plan - means that we're pretty much forced to eat at various (unhealthy) fast food joints on campus at least some of the time. But I recently reorganized the dorm's little rinkydink do-it-yourself kitchen and have been trying to encourage people to cook for themselves - even if it's just Ramen.

One thing I've done is set aside a cupboard for "FREE FOOD - DON'T HOG". And I have put publicly available items, which I've paid for myself, usually, in the kitchen (usually in this cupboard, marked with Sharpie otherwise). Current fr33 f00d:
  • Ramen
  • Kraft mac and cheese
  • Salt
  • Margarine (in fridge)
  • Tang (orange juice imitation powder)
  • Sugar
  • Mashed potato mix
  • Eggs (experimental - may take back offer if too expensive)

What would be some more good, cheap, useful, basic things to put in the kitchen, that a college kid could use, that I could buy in bulk, and that wouldn't go bad very quickly? Note that we have a fridge but space is VERY limited.

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Old 09-29-2014, 08:15 AM   #2
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Large containers of peanut butter. Don't forget the crackers.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:20 AM   #3
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Kudos to you but none of that is healthy food so I'm not sure what you are aiming at here. Why not just eat off the meal plan which is already paid for?

Or is this late night munchie stuff?
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:33 AM   #4
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking This sounds like an interesting idea, but as jennyema said, those aren't the healthiest choices. How about this? You could put a donation jar in the kitchen use the revenue to provide healthier foods like fruits and vegetables. At some point, it might be worthwhile for you and a couple others to go in on a warehouse club membership, like Costco or BJ's. And maybe you and some others could start cooking and eating together once or twice a week.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:07 AM   #5
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Oatmeal and/or grits are inexpensive, and good cupboard staples.

I'd also suggest keeping some canned foods, such as beans on hand. My daughter is a senior at college. Her first two years away I think she practically lived on red or black beans with rice (she grew up having it at home often, so it was a comfort food kind of thing for her. Plus she's also a vegetarian.).
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisismyrofl View Post
Hey guys, I'm an extremely amateur cook and I live in a dormitory at Auburn University in Alabama, USA. We have a meal plan - means that we're pretty much forced to eat at various (unhealthy) fast food joints on campus at least some of the time. But I recently reorganized the dorm's little rinkydink do-it-yourself kitchen and have been trying to encourage people to cook for themselves - even if it's just Ramen.

One thing I've done is set aside a cupboard for "FREE FOOD - DON'T HOG". And I have put publicly available items, which I've paid for myself, usually, in the kitchen (usually in this cupboard, marked with Sharpie otherwise). Current fr33 f00d:
  • Ramen
  • Kraft mac and cheese
  • Salt
  • Margarine (in fridge)
  • Tang (orange juice imitation powder)
  • Sugar
  • Mashed potato mix
  • Eggs (experimental - may take back offer if too expensive)
What would be some more good, cheap, useful, basic things to put in the kitchen, that a college kid could use, that I could buy in bulk, and that wouldn't go bad very quickly? Note that we have a fridge but space is VERY limited.
Pasta, canned tomatoes, dried onions (if you don't have storage for fresh), dried mixed herbs (or grow them on a window ledge), garlic powder (fresh is best but might smell and/or go bad), salt & pepper. With that you've more or less got a cheap pasta dish that people can add things to.

Also canned pulses (different types of beans, chickpeas, baked beans, etc.,) and rice - uncooked is cheapest and is easy to cook successfully in a microwave,

Canned corned beef and canned potatoes to make "instant" corned beef hash along with some of the aforementioned onions and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. (We aren't talking gourmet cooking here. You need cheap and cheerful food.)

I'd also invest in a bottle each of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and tomato ketchup. They will perk up anything that's a bit tasteless and they don't need the 'fridge.

Canned fruit if you don't have very good access to fresh.

But if you are one of the students why do you have to spend your money on all this for everyone? Why don't you organise a food "kitty" where everyone puts in a few dollars a week to buy basics. You would, of course, have to police it pretty strictly to avoid free-loaders.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:16 PM   #7
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A pound of popcorn and a bushel of apples!

Real popcorn made in a pan with a little oil not those expensive microwave bags. If you make a large pan people will come out of their rooms and find it. Buy a pack of coffee filters for a buck and use them as disposable containers for individual servings.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:28 PM   #8
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Good bulk foods to make publicly available in dorm?

Or nuke the bulk popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag. A lot cheaper and healthier than the microwave popcorn bags.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:13 AM   #9
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Good for you... I bet if you can get people cooking, they will get creative (and maybe contribute!). Is there a dollar store? Pick up a variety of herbs and seasonings. I used to work for our Extension teaching low income families to eat cheap and healthy. It sounds like you already know to buy bulk and shop sales.

If you are willing to take the time, lentils cook fairly quickly (30-45 min.), are good, cheap protein and don't give you gas (which might be important in a dorm). Moosh them up with a pkg. of taco seasoning or chili powder and make into burritos with salsa, cheese, vegies or rice or whatever you have.

For a surprisingly good five-minute taco soup that will feed several (especially if you top with some cheese and/or crushed taco chips and/or sour cream). A can of chili. a can of corn, a can of olives (sliced), a can of diced tomatoes, a can of water and a pkg. of taco seasoning.

Have some tuna around to mix with that Blue Box.

Sloppy Joe seasoning and a can of tomato paste...just add burger and buns.

Grab evaporated milk when it's on sale. Really handy for cooking if you don't have milk in the fridge.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:39 AM   #10
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can you describe your rinky-dink kitchen?

what tools (heat sources, sinks and sources of water, pots and pans, bunson burners, umm - and vents, etc.) do you have at your disposal?

have you thought about who is going to clean up?
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