For the last few months, every time I cook for Noah I think how close it is to the end of this chapter. He’s heading off to college next fall and his voracious appetite will leave with him. BUT, last night he happened to mention that college dorms these days have “common kitchens” – places where students can actually cook. Aha!  There’s life in the old girl yet.

Here’s a picture of a common university kitchen. I can work with this. I must pause here to say that I will diligentlyattempt not to be a helicopter. That’s what overly attentive parents of college students are called because they hover. I will not visit Noah every weekend to cook for him. I will not send him casseroles through the mail. But now I know that I can teach him how to make something to eat that doesn’t come in a paper cup or a Styrofoam container.

My own college cuisine was pretty pathetic. My roommate and I invested in a popcorn popper and used it to make macaroni and cheese. I was relating this to my favorite clerk at the convenience store the other day when she gently allowed as how by the time she got to college, the microwave had been invented. Ouch.

So tonight I was making supper when it occurred to me that one of the dishes I make all the time would be a great common kitchen recipe. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s healthy. As usual, it’s a procedure more than a recipe, which will be perfect for college-aged boys whose brains have not completely formed yet.

Sauteed Green Beans: Take a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and throw it in a skillet. (I know college boys will not have extra virgin olive oil, but I’m going to teach Noah about this and send some with him). Add some frozen green beans. That’s right, frozen. Salt and pepper. Add the juice of one half lemon (I’m sending lemons with Noah as well – you don’t suppose his new friends will make fun of him, do you?). Now just let those beans thaw and cook over medium heat. It takes about five minutes.

I am now on a new mission to think up all the recipes I can that college kids would actually cook in a common kitchen. I can’t tell you how relieved I am. This is only the beginning.


  1. RibDog
    December 1, 2009 at 3:59 am

    Back when I was in college, all you were allowed to have in your room was a popcorn popper. It was amazing what you could make with one if you put your mind to it.

    In my case, I got a job with the food service on campus a month into my freshman year. At least that way, I could cook my own meals. That worked out well for me.

  2. Terrell Jones
    Terrell JonesReply
    December 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Has he decided on a school yet?

  3. terrell jones
    terrell jonesReply
    December 2, 2009 at 1:24 am

    do you cover them while cooking?

  4. the south in my mouth
    the south in my mouthReply
    December 2, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    No school decision yet, unfortunately. As to the beans, don’t cover them. You want them to saute until they’re crisp tender.

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