The Daily Evergreen

Apartment cooking made easy

MAXWELL REISTER | Evergreen columnist

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Cooking in Apartmentland

Students freshly hatched from the incubation of the residence halls must consider many qualities when looking for a new nest. Apartments are a popular choice, and those considering moving into that northeastern quadrant of our fair city known as Apartmentland would do well to remember these standards. The bedroom needs enough space to rest your body, the bathroom should help keep your body clean, and most importantly, the kitchen needs to be up to the task of sustaining your body. Independent living can help you develop your innate culinary skills, but an inadequate kitchen can lead to an expensive and unhealthy habit of delivery dinner.

The quality of apartment kitchens depends on a few criteria: the equipment installed, the storage capacity, and the working space. If a stove or fridge looks aged, be wary. If possible, talk to previous tenants or people you know who live in the same complex and find out if they have any temperature troubles. An oven that can’t reach a high enough temperature to roast a chicken or bake cookies should be avoided. Likewise, a refrigerator that can’t preserve food or coats everything in ice will limit your new freedom as an independent cook. Asking the apartment owners or agents when the appliances were installed can help to gauge their quality.

Cupboard size and location should also be inspected. Good cooking requires good ingredients and the space to store them. You need enough space for both your foodstuffs and your cooking and consumption equipment. Make sure you can easily reach the cupboards and that the drawers open smoothly. If you are going to have roommates, account for their stuff as well.

Working space is perhaps the most important quality of a good kitchen. Counters can fill up quickly with microwaves, coffee makers, and dirty dishes. A cramped food-prep spot will limit your cooking abilities and enthusiasm. Rolling out pizza dough or just chopping up vegetables can become infuriating if there isn’t enough room. Try for at least a 2-foot by 1-foot area of free space to accommodate a reasonably-sized cutting board.

Life outside on-campus living can be daunting but liberating. Gone are the resident advisers to schedule social events or govern intra-building conflicts. But now you can enjoy the novel experience of walking indoors more than 5 feet in one direction without hitting a wall. And connecting with your neighbors, while uncommon, is not impossible or unrewarding.

Knowing who lives around you could save you a trip to the store for a cup of sugar or a cooking gadget and provide a source of kitchen wisdom to boot. Establishing communication channels can help in case noise negotiations occur in the future, and the benefits of meeting new people are often underestimated. An organized community of apartment dwellers is much more effective in changing a company’s renting policies or amenities.

So once you find a satisfying apartment, utilize your new kitchen to meet your new neighbors. Food is a method of communication and everyone understands the message of a batch of homemade cookies. The following recipe makes a chewy, hearty cookie that is equal parts lip-smacking and nutritious, passed down from my mom. Use it or your own favorite cookie recipe and find out who lives on the other side of the wall.

Laurie’s Munchable Mountains

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup of chocolate chips

¼ cup applesauce

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

¼ cup of peanuts

½ cup of raisins

1 cup liquid like coffee, cocoa, or water

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup of white flour

2 cups of oats

1 tsp. of soda

2 tsp. baking powder, mix with wet ingredients

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Method:

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately and then combine in a bowl. Drop onto lightly greased cookie pan. Cook in an oven heated to 350 degrees F.  Share with others.

Maxwell Reister is a junior communication major from Leavenworth. He can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.

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Apartment cooking made easy