I would like to start a series called "Why Don't you Have?", where I go over certain kitchen items that people, or certain groups of people should have.
For the students out there. Why don't you have a rice cooker?
Let's face it, students generally don't know the first thing about cooking for themselves. "But I can make a mean (insert what you think is edible food here)" you say! Even if you're good at cooking one or two things, you sure as hell aren't going to survive on those items alone.
One of the basics is having a starch with your food, and one of the simplest starches to make is rice. There are two main methods to use for making rice, and I'm not going to go over either one. Mainly because you're going to burn it and then burn your apartment to the ground. Besides, all you care about is if you're eating something other than cereal, right?
A rice cooker makes cooking rice so easy that I'm not even going to bother coming up with a creative adjective for it. You simply put the rice in, twice as much water as the rice, push the button, and then walk away. It will cook it, and then keep it warm for you. The best part? You can add whatever you want to the rice. Salt, pepper, some spices, a little oil, whatever you want really. Just make sure that you don't leave it out for a long time (2+ hours after it has finished cooking). You could make yourself ill, and your roommates will gag at the smell of your vomit.
"But that's cheating!" A snarky foodie may argue, but who cares? You have food, right? Besides, half of decent cooking methods can be considered "cheating". Later on, I'll go over other items like slow cookers and how you'll kick yourself for not having one.
So put the cereal bowl down, and go get a rice cooker. It's not going to give you a complete meal (most of the time), but it's a good place to start.