What Food Network Staffers Wish They Had in Their Dorm Room

Make sure your college student has all the essentials!

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August 13, 2021

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Moving into a dorm room or first apartment comes with many new, exciting experiences, but being responsible for your own meals is not always on that list. While most dorms don't allot much space for kitchenware (there is typically a dining hall nearby for that), you'd be remiss to skip that category altogether. Afterall, there are plenty of gadgets and tools that can make anything from staying hydrated throughout the day to making a quick breakfast easier, that even the smallest dorm or apartment kitchen can accommodate. We asked our staffers for the one thing that would have changed the game for them.


I don't think I ever drank enough water in college, and a giant water bottle might have helped me fix that. This gallon-size bottle is affordable and perfect for filling up for your 8am class and lasting you all the way until dinner. Plus, the fun sayings on the side of the bottle may have kept me motivated in my hydration goals, even when a syrup-y latte would have been my real drink of choice.

-T.K. Brady, Senior Editor

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My pick would definitely be a mini steamer. My clothes would always be a wrinkled mess in college, and wrinkle release spray always left things super wet and chemically. In my quest to never learn how to iron, I discovered these mini steamers which have changed my life since (not just in college!). You can literally get a wrinkle out in minutes. RUN, DONT WALK. or should I say, STEAM, DON'T IRON!

-Toren Weiner, Senior Director, Social Media

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My roommate and I had a mini fridge, but I realize now a mini freezer would've been an incredibly useful addition. Our mini fridge had a pathetic freezer — you could hardly fit anything in it! A mini freezer would've allowed us to keep everything from quick frozen meals to ice cream on hand. And let me tell you, buying Phish Food at the campus grocery store was expensive. Think of all the money that mini freezer would've saved you in the long run, Mom!

-Meghan Hynes Cole, Associate Editor

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My freshman roommate and I had different morning routines, and I didn't want to disturb her with the smell of the coffee brewing or the sound of it percolating on the days when I got up before her. Having cold brew on hand would have been great so I could just pour and go.

-Hadiya Presswood, Editorial and Content Intern

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College breakfast was always grab-and-go, no time for dining halls before early classes! I wish I'd had a Dash mini waffler — it heats up in a minute or two. With a spritz of cooking spray and some quick-stir batter on its nonstick surface, it makes a 'real' waffle or two (they are tiny, after all) to plate up or eat on the walk across campus. My son is a sophomore in college and I still worry about the most important meal of the day, so a no-brainer no-space-no-time-needed gadget is just right.

-Deb Puchalla, SVP, Digital Programming & Video

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When I was in college and still dorming, one meal I would usually miss would be breakfast. Sometimes I would have extremely early classes or simply just wanted to catch up on sleep and would snooze through the hours that breakfast was being served at the dining hall. Having a blender, let alone a portable one, would have been such a life changer because I could have had a smoothie or shake anytime I wanted whether it was on the go to an early morning class or at the comfort of my own dorm room without scrambling to make breakfast time!

-Lauren Tom, Associate Content Producer

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I had a laundry bag because there was a small laundry room on my floor that I could usually grab a washer/dryer unit. There were times when all the units were occupied, and I had to travel to different floors to find one that was available. A rolling hamper would have been more convenient to haul everything in.

-Hadiya Presswood, Editorial and Content Intern

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I couldn't have been the only one who snuck extra food from the dining hall back to my dorm room to snack on later, right? Nonetheless, having a proper set of food storage containers would have made this little trick far more efficient. Afterall, those cardboard containers don't do a great job of keeping anything particularly fresh. Even in my small dorm room that didn't accommodate any cooking, having this set would have made it much easier to store fresh fruit and veggies for snacks without relying so heavily on the dining hall.

-Rachel Trujillo, Associate Content Editor

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We stocked my daughter's college dorm room with both the expected gear (including a collapsible laundry basket and a long phone power cord for charging from bed) and the less expected (a cheerful low-maintenance fake plant and large bottle of hot sauce). But there are definitely two things she says she would do differently: Ditch the handheld vac in favor of a full stand-up model that can really get the job done on those days when you are motivated to do a big clean-up. (I would have gotten her this cordless stick model from Shark.) And go for a full-size Keurig coffee maker with a water reservoir that holds enough water for several cups of coffee and tea. (Her mini Keurig only holds enough for one cup, which means lots of refilling.)

-Lygeia Grace, Culinary Editorial Director, Food Network

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