Cooking in the dorms

Programs for this blog post

Community Public Health

Authored By:

Froukh M.

If you love food as much as I do, when looking into studying abroad in a place like Gaborone, Botswana, food may be one of your main concerns.  As I got closer and closer to my arrival in Botswana, my concerns continued to grow regarding what food was going to be available throughout the next many months.  Back home I was used to being able to cook, go to a supermarket, and easily finding fruits and vegetables. However, in Botswana, I saw that perhaps everything that used to seem within arm's reach would not be as available. 

After a while of eating the usual food at Curry Pot and Executive (the two main cafeterias on campus) I realized I needed more variety of food: my taste buds were craving something sweet that differed from Executive milkshakes and ice cream (I am a HUGE sweets fan) or the basic pasta the cafeterias provided.  And so, my journey began in order to find ways to create different foods in my dorm.  Let me tell you, it is definitely difficult to cook without anything but a kettle in your dorm (if you want to be innovative and find ways to cook in your dorm, I suggest you make the investment and buy one). However, with a kettle I realized you can cook so many different things, including truffles, lazy cake, and so much more. 

One dish that allowed me to introduce diversity to my meals was making pasta in a kettle. Although it took the most trial and error, I believe was one of the best ways to break the regular routine of eating Executive/Curry Pot.  Making kettle pasta became a tradition between my friends and I.  Just buying pasta, pasta sauce, butter, chicken from the cafeterias, and some cheese made us feel right at home.  This pasta was something that was not served at either of the cafeterias in UB, and was just an easy way to bring a change in taste.  All you have to do is boil the pasta in a kettle until it’s cooked, pour the pasta into a bowl with some cheese, butter and sauce, add the chicken (if you would like that), and mix it all together. 

For desserts, my friends and I made stuff like lazy cake, peanut butter pie and truffles.  One of the craziest things we learned is that you don’t need a microwave or stove to heat things up, all you need is your kettle to heat up some water and pour that water into a bowl.  Then put whatever you want melted (e.g., butter) into a cup that’s inserted into the bowl of hot water and it acts as a microwave or stove.  You can then pour some cocoa powder, sugar, and condensed milk, which makes delicious melted chocolate that you can use to coat some crushed biscuits, and all of a sudden you made lazy cake.  Or you can finely crush some Oreos and mix them with some condensed milk, then ball them up, pour melted chocolate to coat them, and you have some delicious chocolate Oreo truffles. However, something that I wish I had found out sooner was that Curry Pot has a microwave that you can ask the employees to use. This enabled me to get even more creative and start making brownies in a mug, something I genuinely missed.  With a simple online search, I was able to find a very simple recipe to make this wonderful treat, where most of the ingredients were easily available at the Sefalana Shoppers supermarket in the student center.

There are so many things that you can make with ingredients like peanut butter, Nutella, condensed milk and biscuits (most of which are all available for purchase just a few steps away from your dorm) that will help make your time at UB feel more comfortable and more at home. You may need to have appliances like a kettle, possibly a fridge, and an open, innovative mind in order to make these foods.  But one thing I know after these four months of experimentation is that it is definitely not impossible.