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Breakfast at Sophie’s: essential tools for dorm kitchens

Sophie Leopold
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by Sophie Leopold

It’s spring quarter; somehow this is the already the fifth installment of my student foodie column. Those following along have mastered grocery shopping, overnight oats, and chia pudding. After taking those steps forward, we need to take a few steps back, specifically, to stocking kitchen tools. Inedible items in a kitchen are just as important as the ones you do eat. How are you slicing that avocado or measuring an amount of almond milk? There are only a few key instruments standing between raw ingredients and delicious breakfast or snacks. I’m a sucker for collecting kitchenware, but only when I have access to the abundant square footage in my parent’s house. At school, I am wary of accumulating single-use gadgets since I never seem to have enough space to store or time to enjoy them. Just as it is with filling the pantry, it’s best to stick to the basics with kitchenware. Let’s say you purchased plates, bowls, utensils, and cups from day one, but what’s next? The items listed below provide a solid springboard for launching into streamlined breakfast prep.

Cutting board (wood is beautiful, but plastic is sanitary)
Knife (residence halls cap blade length at four inches)
Measuring spoon set (tablespoon, teaspoon and its divisions.)
Dry measuring cup set (1 cup, ½ cup, ¼ cup, etc.)
Liquid measuring cup (1-2 cup capacity is a good dorm size)
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Kitchen scissors
Vegetable peeler
Small colander
Dish drying rack or mat
Mason jars
Small to medium-sized Tupperware containers (glass lasts the longest) Thermos (keep food hot or cold on the go)
Kitchen towels (old school flour sack kind is the best)
Dish soap
Sponge and/or scrubber
Reusable water bottle (eating well? Stay hydrated too)
Reusable straw and cleaning brush set (to enjoy smoothies without threatening the ocean)
Toaster (if residence hall allows)
Small/single serving blender (if residence hall allows)

Setting up your campus kitchen doesn’t have to involve taking out another loan. Before the start of my freshman year, I covered all of the fundamentals in a sweep through IKEA. In addition to pantry staples on the cheap, Brandless.com is also a great resource for tools. Target always has a great selection of housewares, and most grocery stores carry reasonably-priced cooking devices. When it comes to economy, both literally and in storage, less is more with dorm kitchens.

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