Ghosts of dorm meals past

Fifty shades of white and green
Lily Yu

My first-year residence was at the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto. There were no cooking stations except for two microwaves, and students were forbidden to cook in their rooms. However, my room came with a stainless-steel kettle. The kettle’s top was large enough to allow small eggs to fit through, and after three minutes, those eggs would be perfectly soft boiled for breakfast. 

Fast forward to December, I was cleaning out my fridge for winter break and saw that I still had some eggs left. I didn’t want to waste them, so I boiled them for the trip home. Unfortunately, in my rush to the airport, I forgot my half-boiled eggs in the kettle where they soaked, half-raw, for three whole weeks. When I returned, I was assaulted with a truly indescribable odour. 

A gelatinous film had spiderwebbed across the nozzle of the kettle from where the water had boiled over and coated the lid with slime. It also appeared that, in my effort to fit all the eggs in the kettle, one of them broke and its contents aided in creating a horrid mixture of white foam and green chunks in the most foul-smelling semi-liquids I’ve ever been in the vicinity of. 

I abandoned my virtues that day as I scrubbed that kettle, knowing that I would have to drink out of it for the next several months. And with this, I wish you, reader, a wonderful school year.

A rushed job never ends well
Tia Cummins

When I first moved into the dorms, I knew I had limited cooking skills, so I always tried to keep things simple. I made pasta, sandwiches, and practically lived off leftovers. One day, when I rushed my lunch and left for class, I decided the best option was to heat up my leftover fettuccine and garlic toast from the night before. I put my garlic toast in the oven and threw my glass container of pasta in the microwave. After setting my timer, I immediately left the kitchen to get dressed for class and packed my backpack. In my scramble, I forgot to put the plastic microwave cover over my pasta, and instead left it on the stove top. To make matters worse, I also turned on the stove element instead of the oven beneath. One mistake plus another left me with a pile of burnt, melted plastic. When I went to investigate and saw what happened, I opened the oven and in turn, knocked the glass lid of my container onto the oven door, shattering the glass screen. In trying to keep my meals quick and easy, I ended up with the exact opposite—and a big mess to clean up.

Disasta: Attack of the sauce
Madison Ireland

The first two years of my university experience were spent living on campus, where I primarily subsisted on poutine from Colman Commons, noodles from Thai Express, cheap instant ramen, and Red Bull. In my third year of university, I decided to make a change by moving off campus and becoming more independent, which meant I finally had to learn to cook “real food.” I decided to start with some simple meals like pasta with meat sauce; it couldn’t be that much more difficult than ramen. Boy, was I wrong! 

Everything was going smoothly until I had to put the pasta into the pot of boiling water. I misjudged how much pasta could fit in the pot, which caused the water to overflow, hissing angrily as it splashed over the hot burner. As I tried to wipe up the water with a dishcloth, I accidentally burned my wrist on the side of the pot. In the meantime, I proceeded to splatter ground beef and tomato sauce all over the stove in my attempt to stir it. I grabbed a fresh cloth from the back of the cupboard, which somehow DISINTEGRATED in my hands, leaving red dye everywhere as I tried my best to clean up. By the time I managed to get the mess under control, my pasta had burned to the bottom of the pot. 

Most sane people would have given up on the whole meal at this point and ordered their food through DoorDash, but after the ordeal I faced in the kitchen, I retreated to my bedroom where I ate my disasta with meat sauce in shame. 

Pyrexplosion: When steak meets shatter
Elizabeth Prydatka

The summer just prior to beginning my first year of university, I came to develop a love for well-seared steak. My brilliant mind decided I would get a great, dorm-friendly sear on a steak by getting a Pyrex dish unfathomably hot and then dropping a steak into it. In theory, this would achieve a nice, crisp outside and a juicy pink centre. In reality, the steak sizzled marvellously for a few seconds before the entire glass dish exploded into a million little pieces. 

The result of my experiment, needless to say, did not go as planned. There were bits of broken glass and steak juice in every corner of the shared kitchen space I was cooking in. The moral of the story is that glass dishes may not be as shock tolerant to such endeavours, and that maybe UberEats would have been a justifiable expense.

Associate Opinion Editor (Volume 50) —Tia is a third-year student completing a double major in Anthropology and Sociology. She uses The Medium as an outlet to do some creative writing that can't be expressed through the countless academic papers she writes during the semester. When she's not writing for the opinion section, you can find Tia getting gains in the gym, working at the campus pool, or volunteering with UTM ECSpeRT!


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