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Matt’s Morsels: Don’t be a dull student, and definitely don’t be a dull chef |

Matt’s Morsels: Don’t be a dull student, and definitely don’t be a dull chef

Space in college is limited. You can’t have a fully stocked kitchen with all the bells and whistles. Being strategic is crucial and often leads to some meals being unavailable. Want to grind your own meat for burgers? Or have an assortment of differently sized bowls, pans, skillets and tools? If you don’t want your room looking like storage space for a restaurant, then you need to cut back, a lot if you really like to cook. But what should you have? What is worth that all important space in your cabinet? I have some suggestions that will keep your kitchen capable for any meal, while keeping some space open in your kitchen.

Sous Vide Setup

I recently learned about the wonders of this style of cooking. All that is needed is a circulator, vacuum bags and a way to create the vacuum. Sets usually include reusable bags and a simple hand-powered plunger. Sous vide works by heating circulating temperature-controlled water for hours to perfectly cook whatever you need. This method ensures that your steaks will be perfectly cooked, vegetables will keep their crunch and chicken will never be dry and unappealing. The one downside to this method is that meat will look ugly as no crunchy, delicious, brown crust will develop, but that is easily solved by a quick trip into a skillet. Sous vide also has the benefit of being a very hands-off method; so, you can sneak in some productive work time in while your dinner is cooking.


Crock Pot

The ultimate fall cooking method, crock pots are a must in college. Stews, soups and chili are made better with time. A crock pot allows you to get all of your ingredients ready in the morning, go to a full day of class and come home to a slowly simmered, guaranteed pick-me-up. I first tried a crock pot when I wanted chili. But not just any chili: I wanted state-fair-worthy chili. Instead of staying in a hot kitchen for eight hours, I dumped all my ingredients in, set it to low and went about my day. I came back to the best chili I have ever had, all thanks to this wonderful device. Do yourself a favor and get a crock pot.

Cast Iron Skillet

Another staple everyone should have, a good cast iron skillet can last decades and cook almost anything. Steak? Done. Omletes? Done. Desserts? Done. Cleaning is also easy, and the more your skillet is used, the better it becomes.

Knife-sharpening tools

A dull student is dangerous to your GPA, and a dull knife is dangerous to your hands. Keeping your knives sharp is key to preparing bite-sized food and keeping you out of the hospital. To keep your blades sharp, you’ll need three things: a whetstone, a knife sharpener and a honing rod. A whetstone does most of the heavy lifting and should only be used every few months. Ten passes on each side of the knife on each side of the stone will be sufficient to get your knife sharp enough to cut paper. A knife sharpener is used for a touch up and should be used maybe once a month to keep the edge sharp and ready between whetstone uses. A honing rod, that metal rod with ridges, should be used maybe once every few meals as it microscopically hones the edge. These 3 things take up minimal space, and keep your knives cutting food instead of your hands.

Pyrex Set

What’s better than just-cooked food? Leftovers. I don’t know why, but leftovers can sometimes taste better than when you first ate it. Finding adequate containers is a journey, as some plastic ones melt easily or become permanently discolored after a few uses. Pyrex, being made of glass, avoid this problem and can not only be a storage space, but a cooking vessel. From the fridge to the oven to your mouth, a good Pyrex set will become your new favorite.

Kitchens are endlessly customizable and can take up an ungodly amount of space. Being able to cook whatever your heart desires is a key to a good life, but that isn’t always an obtainable goal, especially when your space is limited. Using your space wisely and valuing versatility and durability will help any chef, beginner or advanced, continue to keep their love of food flowing forever.

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
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