Dorm Room Cooking
Open letter to Corpus Christi College Administration
To whom it may concern,
I have noticed that a rice cooker has been removed from my kitchen during the electrical testing on my staircase. I am not questioning the fact that rice cookers are or aren’t allowed in accommodation, which is quite clear. I do question however the reason behind why it is in the college rules at all and also the validity of the ruling in question.
I can see only one reason which the College may justify the removal of a rice cooker. The first is that it is a fire hazard. However by the very design of a rice cooker this is extremely unlikely. Rice cookers are designed with thermal switches to turn them off, this is achieved at between 60oC to 80oC. Should it go higher than this and the rice cooker itself will turn off, should this circuit be broken, by the way they are wired the rice cooker will just fail to turn on, just as if the switch was off and it wasn’t even plugged in, no fire hazard if its broken. When it is in use it limits itself to a fairly low temperature, nowhere near the likelihood of starting a fire. Indeed all kitchens must have a kettle a toaster and a microwave, all of which have heating elements which are not on thermal cut-outs and all of which are much more likely and have many more cases of fire related incidents than rice cookers, indeed the only documentation of a fire started at a rice cooker was in a factory which appears to be the location of many fires each year, appearing to be the employees negligence than faulty unattended equipment, rice cookers are usually used at the same time as other meal preparation so it is not unattended. The college rules also provide no provision for any electrical equipment in rooms; irons; hair straighteners and even states hair driers as an example of allowed equipment. All of this equipment is much more dangerous, consuming much more electrical power as heat and going to much higher temperature and have had many more fire related incidents. Allowing these things completely unjustifies the disallowing of rice cookers, especially when a fire has been caused in Cambridge years prior by hair straighteners and no provision in ruling or even safety guidelines are really available. If it is the College’s opinion that hair straighteners are an essential item then it could be readily claimed that rice cookers are essential items to some people, those who come from cultures that consume rice on a daily basis and are completely unused to the lack of choice of starches in hall apart from potatoes for example. Surely the college can see that rice cookers are not justified as a fire hazard, aren’t causing anyone harm and would bring much convenience to the students.
The College rule which cites the banning of rice cookers reads as follows:
1.5 COOKING IN ROOMS
Cooking in rooms is FORBIDDEN and only automatic kettles may be used. Very limited facilities for cooking are provided in gyp rooms. Private equipment (e.g. boiling rings, ovens, microwaves, pans, toasters, rice cookers etc.) is not allowed.
My first point in response is that this appears to only forbid cooking equipment in rooms, the rice cooker was in the kitchen when removed. My second point is that in this list of “Private equipment” it cites some ridiculous items. It would be ridiculous to suggest that someone might own their own personal oven, and microwaves and toasters are already standard in kitchens. My concern is with the other item, pans. Next to the forbidding of rice cookers the college also forbids pans. Is it the opinion of College that all pans be removed from the kitchens? This is surely not the case and would be ridiculous to suggest so, however if the same requirement was carried out as in the case of the rice cooker then surely that would be the consequence.
So in conclusion I would like to say that there is no real reason that College should ban rice cookers in kitchens. Any attempt to justify this can be easily construed as cultural negligence on the College’s part. So if this is not the case can the rice cooker please be returned to the 2nd floor kitchen of 6 Trumpington Street please?
Originally posted at: http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~ayz21/
Take a look at some of our easy rice cooker recipes that are perfect for dorm room cooking. You may also like to check out the Dorm Room Diner Cookbook – A cookbook for college students who are sick of Dining Hall, Vending Machine and Fast Food options and crave a home-cooked meal – No Oven Required! What to prepare with limited time, limited budget and very limited appliances. Great for singles as well!