Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What-to-Know Wednesday : Unwritten Rules of Sharing a Kitchen

As many of you juniors and seniors may attest to, making the transition to cooking for yourself at school can be a very new experience for many people, as can sharing a kitchen with up to four or five others. However, with a few unwritten rules and tips kept in the back of your mind, navigating a shared kitchen can be a breeze, and even fun! So far, I've really enjoyed cooking for myself, and I look forward to sharing more tips and advice throughout the year!

Rule #1: Keep it organized.

Once you and your housemates have designated your separate cabinets, drawers and fridge/freezer space, it's your responsibility to keep your designated area orderly so as not to invade on other people's space.

* Tip #1: Group items you use most often together for quick access, and get everything else out of the way.
* Tip #2: Shop conscientiously. By planning out weeknight meals before your weekly trip to the grocery store, you'll avoid coming home with extra groceries that end up sitting in the fridge and taking up space.

Rule #2: Keep it clean.

This also factors into space consideration: not only is cleaning up after yourself a given in a shared space, but it also ensures that you're keeping what limited space you have cleared. Don't leave dishes sitting in the sink, pots on the stove, or cutting boards on the counter.

Rule #3: Keep an eye on the clock.

Unless you're all having dinner together, five (or more) of you need to get in there tonight and make your individual meals, all in a relatively close timespan. With such a small space to navigate around, time spent in the kitchen is space taken up. Be considerate of your housemates' time and be aware of your own.

* Tip #1: Prep. Limit your time spent cooking by preparing different parts of your meal ahead of time. Chopping up all your veggies at the beginning of the week and storing in individual bags, making your salad dressing in a large batch at the beginning of the week, and other similar preparations will ensure that you're speedy when it comes down to actually putting your meal together.
* Tip #2: As you make different meals throughout the year, you'll start to get a sense of how long different things take. Be aware of this and plan accordingly- start earlier for lengthier projects, start a little later for quickies.

Rule #4: Communicate and be patient.

You and your housemates may not always be able to coordinate mealtimes to avoid a traffic jam, and nor should you be expected to. That said, be patient, communicate your needs to the best of your ability, and be conscientious of the space and time you're taking up in the kitchen.

Happy cooking, and stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 11th!

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Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

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