With our first month on quarantined campus drawing to a close, many of us have started to settle into a routine. But for this freshman, eating daily meals out of square plastic take-out boxes has been a bit of an adjustment. Many students have taken matters into their own hands and started hacking the food to get that gourmet quarantine experience. I’ve saved you some trouble by testing these recipes out myself. Here are some of the best, grossest, and most creative snack hacks from your fellow students.
Starbucks Could Never—Hot Chocolate/Mocha in Your Dorm Room
If, like me, you emerged after the snowstorm only to find that every single tin of cocoa mix had been taken off the shelves at the Nassau Street CVS and our Wawa, you’ll be happy to know that you can make hot chocolate yourself in your dorm. All you need are those Hershey’s bars they gave us in the first-week welcome snack bag and hot water from your kitchen. For bonus points, you can snag a packet of instant coffee mix from the cafeterias to make it a mocha.
- Break chocolate bar into squares. For a cup, you’ll need about 6 squares—fewer and it will look pathetic and thin, like your resolve to finish this semester. Break into small pieces and put in the bottom of the cup.
- Put your mask on, go down the hall to your dorm kitchen, and fill the cup with boiling water, stirring with the handle of a plastic fork for that true Princeton dining ambience. The chocolate bits should be fully melted. Stir in instant coffee powder if you want a mocha.
Not bad! It’s a little thin (adding more chocolate than you think you’ll need helps—I ended up using almost half the bar), and it’s significantly improved by one or two packages of creamer from the cafeteria. Overall, though, the result is a fully drinkable, surprisingly average cup of hot chocolate, and it will keep you warm while you huddle in your miserable hole of a room writing your D1.
Basement Pudding—Bread Pudding in a Microwave
It’s finally here! The recipe that will magically turn all of your stale bread rolls into something delicious. Hopefully. I heard about this recipe second-hand and won’t vouch for its edibleness. It requires milk, butter, and honey from the cafeteria, and a whole bunch of stale bread.
- Fill mug or paper cup about halfway with milk, then add 2 chips of butter and 1 or 2 packets of honey, to taste. Stick it in your dorm kitchen’s microwave (unless you’re one of the lucky bastards with a microfridge) and heat until the butter melts, about 30 seconds. Stir together until you have a delicious, creamy heart-attack soup.
- Time to tear up one of your bread rolls! Ideally, pick one that’s slightly hard but not rock-solid. If it has mold, throw it out—you’re disgusting. Put the bread into your mug, allowing it to soak up all that buttery goodness.
- Let it sit for a few minutes to marinate, then zap the whole thing again for about a minute. Serve with apple slices if you wanna be bougie. (Also a good vehicle for snack bag Hershey’s!)
Enlisted a baker friend for advice on this one and headed down into the kitchen basement below my building to test out what we appetizingly termed “basement pudding.” We initially tried it with two butter chips and only one honey, and found that it was not quite sweet enough (the cafeteria bread rolls are slightly salty, which the second packet of honey helps to balance out). It took exactly one bread roll, torn up into little pieces, to fill the cup, and then we proceeded to poke the bread repeatedly with a plastic knife (fine dining!) until it squished down into the liquid ingredients. After one minute in the microwave, it came out blazing hot and with a surprisingly pudding-like consistency. We tasted it, hesitant. The result was rich, moist, and unexpectedly good given its humble origins. The verdict? Basement pudding—whether you make it in a basement or any other sketchy improvised kitchen—is a surprising success.
“But my classes are starting to ramp up. I have a paper to write. What if I don’t have time to become Gordon Ramsay in my dorm floor kitchen?” you ask. Never fear, the Nass has got you covered with…
One Minute Mini-Recipes! Like the regular ones, but for lazy people!
Comfort Food—DIY Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Who knew there were so many uses for the peanut butter packs?
- Break off a square of Hershey’s bar.
- Smear generously with peanut butter.
- Cover with another chocolate square. Foolproof!
Extremely messy. Very good.
Portable Provisions—The Princeton PB&J
Bread roll + peanut butter package + jam package = the perfect portable snack! Take it with you on a walk. Bring one in your pocket when you study at Firestone (don’t). Yet another use for all that leftover bread.
- Cut bread in half.
- Insert condiments.
- Come on. Don’t you know how to make a PB&J?
10/10. Smucker’s strawberry jam fucking slaps, or you can go classic and use the grape jelly.
Apples, but Fancy
Does this really need instructions?
Somehow not quite as good as you’d think it would be? An improvement on the ubiquitous green apples.
Recreate That Missing Eating Club Experience—Ferment Your Fruit!
Use all that rotting fruit to make bootleg moonshine in your dorm kitchen sink. The roaring 20s, but worse.
Plug sink. Fill with expired apples, oranges, and pears. Smash to a rotting pulp. Wait.
I would like to add that I am not personally liable for injury, death, or University consequences resulting from anyone actually trying this.
That’s all from the Nass! Good luck in your quarantined culinary adventures—may your cafeteria bagels be ever fresh.