Shared kitchens in college are synonymous with a few things – untidiness, clutter, lack of space, unsatisfactory/broken utensils (I used a frying pan without a handle for about a month – enough said).
But one thing about shared college kitchens is that, inevitably, at some point in the semester, there will be some ~drama~ and everyone will enjoy watching it play out for a while until it gets incredibly infuriating.
Being an exchange student and inserting myself into a well-established kitchen environment, I was shocked/angered/tearful about a few things and much to my distress, my emotional/psychological ‘transition’ from home kitchen to my college kitchen was not always as smooth as I had anticipated.
So, ladies and gentlemen, let me take you on a journey, from some of my more expected to some of my more crazy college kitchen struggles …
I don’t mind sharing and I understand that in a shared kitchen, you gotta give a little.
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t get a little upset when smokers sit in the kitchen, puffing away and clogging the small space with smoke while I am cooking.
Or when people would literally FILL the sink with their dirty dishes and sit and talk rather than washing them.
Or when people decide to claim the kitchen for their own parties.
Or that time that a group of students decided to bake a cake. Which in itself was fine. Except it was a freaking big graduation cake and they took up the WHOLE kitchen for HOURS.
Forever unsatisfactory fridge/freezer space
Once again, I understand very well that sharing space is hard. But the freezer was a nightmare. I repeat: nightmare. There were twenty rooms alone on our floor and we all shared one kitchen, there was only one medium sized fridge for all of us. So, apart from the fact that there physically wasn’t enough space for all our food, there were some people who loved to bulk-buy and freeze shitloads of meat, thereby claiming all freezer space for themselves. I once watched a fellow college student unpack and individually Glad Wrap about twenty servings of meat, consuming three quarters of the freezer space in the corner and most of the newly-purchased 50-metre roll of Glad Wrap in the process.
So where’s the microwave?
There was no microwave. I repeat NO MICROWAVE.
That’s right folks, no reheating last night’s dinner or cracking out the packaged meals – not easily, anyway. Microwaves are still relatively new to Italy, apparently, and we did not have one. Nor were we allowed to introduce one to our kitchen – new appliances were STRICTLY. AGAINST. REGULATION.
The kettle drama a.k.a. Lost and Found
So, you know that thing about extra appliances being a biiiiiig no no? Well, our kitchen had a kettle which had mysteriously lived under the radar for as long as anyone could remember. Until our beloved, blessed, and illegal kettle got stolen and disappeared for three weeks straight. No one knew how, no one knew where, we all could guess at why. But then confusion struck once more when the kettle suddenly reappeared and graced us with its glorious, quick-boiling presence for the rest of the semester.
Kitchen … strike?
Yep, there was also that time that the kitchen was on strike. Yep, it was a thing.
For two weeks, the kitchen was closed because some students decided to strike from taking out the bins without really discussing it with anyone else. So we awoke to find a notice on the door and all our precious foodstuffs locked away inside.
Okay, so it was still accessible, but we had to go upstairs, hope someone was at the desk, ask for a key, sign off for a key, and then sign off when we returned it, the idea being that whoever had signed off would be responsible for the state of the kitchen. Except, if someone needed to use the kitchen while we were there, we had to give the key to them, and then they would pass it on to the next person, thereby invalidating the signing on and off process. Thereby invalidating the idea of us being held “responsible” for the kitchen, and the concept of locking the kitchen in the first place …
The whole thing lasted two weeks, and led to much culinary trauma, me yelling on the phone to my parents about the injustice of the world, and arguing heatedly with an Italian student in front of a kitchen full of onlookers while viciously chopping broccoli and carrots.
Needless to say, returning home to my gloriously spacious, uncluttered, clean, ordered (the relevant adjectives are endless) and just down-right beloved kitchen. To my parents: I promise never to complain about anything to do with our kitchen ever again! ❤