So you're living in a college/university town with no kosher restaurants. How can you get hot kosher food?
This doesn't exactly answer the question (the other answers seemed satisfactory), but I thought this might be useful - a map of kosher meal plan/food options on every college in North America: theheart2heartproject.org/koshermap
Some are through Chabad, some are through Hillel, although the majority are through the university's dining services.
from my experience, I have found 3 solutions:
- cook it yourself (assuming you can get raw ingredients that are kosher)
- get your food service people to buy you kosher airplane meals and keep them on campus, and heat them up for you at meal hours (I did this for a semester, until I convinced them to let me take the meals back to my dorm so I could heat them up whenever I wanted). Kosher airplane meals range in quality and flavor, depending on the company and how much you want to spend. I never liked having to schlep to the cafeteria (which, at my grad school, was a 5 minute shuttle bus or 15 minute walk away) and then explain (EVERY TIME) who I was and what i wanted to the workers, only to then have to wait 40 minutes to eat a meal. I happen to love the meals but 1 was never enough so when I struck my deal for autonomy in terms of storage and timing, I was much happier.
- buy online LaBriut meals (self heating). These meals range in quality (though a person's taste is a personal thing). Some are fleishig, some milchig and some parve/vegetarian and it is nice to have a hot meal within 15 minutes. I also believe that there might be more varieties and possibly brands than when I tried these.
Another option which wasn't around when I was a pup is simply to buy ALL your food online. You can get shipments of meat, fish, cheese and most anything else, kosher, shipped right to your door.
The Grandma meal plan:
- Ask your grandmother if she could cook and freeze some kosher food that you could pick up next time you visit. Lots of grandmas derive pleasure from feeding their grandkids.
Campus food services:
- Ask your campus food services department if they'll bring in kosher meals. Many will: perhaps frozen double-wrapped oven-reheatable airplane meals. The meals may be mediocre and expensive. Try not to pay for a full-semester meal plan in advance: you may not use up all the money.
Try really hard to live in a unit where everyone keeps kosher and where there's a kitchen used only for kosher. Rent or share an apartment if necessary.
Here are some things you can cook yourself:
With hot water from a coffee shop's urn (if kosher), or from an electric kettle (I assume kettles are allowed in a dorm room):
Instant mashed potatoes.
Instant soup. (These are often high in salt and fat. The added glutamates improve the taste. Better yet, make your own soup; add glutamate-filled soup powder to the soup, or glutamate-filled soy sauce to the noodles.)
Fine couscous pasta.
With a rice cooker:
- Rice, hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, chicken, fish, etc.
With a toaster:
Cheese on toast. Before making this, turn the toaster on its side.
With a toaster oven: (Some aren't much bigger than a toaster.)
Anything baked: pizza, chicken, fish, potatoes, casseroles, etc. (depending on how you designate/kasher the appliance).
With a pot and a metal spoon: (Look around campus and find a non-smoothtop stove. Either gas or conventional electric coil-top is fine. Then ask your rabbi how to kasher an element. Kashering an element usually takes somewhere between five seconds and five minutes to do. Or, buy a portable, plug-in element.)
Anything boiled: pasta, eggs, rice.
Anything stir-fried: meat, poultry, vegetables.
Anything fried: fish, chicken, green tomatoes.
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I can't promise this will work, but here's a guide I wrote to help students advocate for kosher food on campus with the university: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Kw10aYHUUPW4dUJqKcYpjWNDSb22wXjF56ZLt5FvroY/edit# Some of the other answers here are also included, but if feasible, getting the university to add kosher food would be so much more simple, useful, and sustainable.
I sometimes travel with an electric saucepan. It should work in a dorm room also. With an electric saucepan, you can cook almost anything. It can fry and saute. If you buy one that is deep, you can make spaghetti and even soups. Obviously, it can be used to heat foods. The problem is that it only makes one food at a time, so you have to plan your meal, or make one dish meals.