Tell us your roommate-food horror story

Illustration for article titled Tell us your roommate-food horror story
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Whether it’s homemade kimchi forgotten on the counter over spring break, a secret snack stealer, or something even worse, everyone’s had That Roommate Food Story. College dorms are a breeding ground for plenty of unappetizing things, not least of which are conflicts, drama, and general weirdness surrounding food—if only such issues ended with college graduation, though. Please, share your worst food-related roommate behavior in the comments so we can collectively shake our heads in solidarity.


Holy Mackerel

Illustration for article titled Tell us your roommate-food horror story
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I will never forget the smell. During my junior year in college, my randomly assigned college roommate prided himself as a gourmand, but he was from what I gathered a shitty cook. One night he was trying to impress a date, so decided to pan-fry fish. Dude picked mackerel, an oily fish that releases a lasting, unpleasant odor. Our apartment had stucco wall, and my roommate was cooking at a very high heat, which created a lot of smoke. That smell of oily fish lingered, not overnight, but for the next week, and our apartment reeked of an alley at Fisherman’s Wharf. No amount of Febreze or ventilation helped matters. Cooking mackerel at home should be against the law. [Kevin Pang]

That’s not dishwasher-safe

Illustration for article titled Tell us your roommate-food horror story
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For a few months in my mid-20s, I lived in an apartment with three very nice dudes. I was about to move to a new city to start a job, had just broken up with a live-in boyfriend, and thus was temporarily subletting a basement apartment from a college friend and his pals. I had never lived in a house with primarily guys, and though they were overall cleaner and more orderly than some, there were still kitchen habits of theirs that perplexed me. (Are empty liquor bottles on a mantle truly a form of decor?) I was heartened to come home from work one day to find one of them had run the dishwasher, only to open it and find all my vintage cocktail coupe glasses reduced to glass smithereens. These glasses were so fragile I barely felt comfortable holding them in my hand; what possessed anyone to consider them totally fit for the dishwasher is beyond me. This was a mild and unintentional transgression, in the grand scheme of things, but I still miss those coupes. [Kate Bernot]

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


sorry about your glasseware kate, but i gotcha beat: i lost everything kitchen-related the summer i lived with a couple of rural dudes while in college. one of them, who is now a dentist (which i mention simply to illustrate that, by rural, i don’t mean “dumb”, ‘cause he got grades good enough to qualify for medical school) was doing the dishes. which, if you’ve ever lived with dudes, had of course reached the critical mass pile stage where it includes all but one or two jelly jar cups in the back of the the highest shelf in the cupboard - cutting boards, pots and pans, all the dishware, you name it.

as it turned out, we happened to be out of dishwashing soap and, instead of walking literally as far as the end of the block, where he could have bought a 99-cent bottle at this discount warehouse thing that had opened up that summer - a walk he had made many times on other occasions, because he loved the fact their meat was cheaper than anywhere else in town! (to give you some idea of what kind of place it was, they sold 40's of LAZER! malt liquor piled up in a unrefrigerated shopping cart on the main floor, for the kingly price of 2 for a dollar. we drank a lot of LAZER! that summer...) - instead of walking down the block for dishwashing soap, he decided to reach into the bathroom and grab some shampoo to wash all our dishes in.

friends on the internet, let me tell you: i don’t know if washing dishes in shampoo is just generally a terrible idea or if it was specifically the cheap-o shampoo typically used by young dudes who will spend money on body spray but hoard slivers of hotel soap to wash their bodies... but whatever it was, this shit left a slick, soapy film on everything he dunked in the sink that day - every glass, every plate, every bowl, every fork, knife and spoon.

that shit would not rinse off no matter what i tried (and i tried submerging everything in boiling water, rinsing with vinegar and just scrubbing the shit out of it with brillo pads) and you could taste it on everything those dishes touched, if that slimy film wasn’t enough to put you off on its own.

everyone else threw their shit away right off and i gave in a couple days later, which meant we subsisted on takeout containers and those giant plastic 7-11 cups until we had enough money to hit up the salvage shops and start piecing together a collection of cast-off pots and pans and mismatched orphan plates, cups and bowls. the one good thing that came of it was that you can score some pretty cool dishes and nicknacks at thrift stores and garage sales once you start looking, which probably never would have otherwise occurred to 20-something me. but, man, were we pissed with that bonehead at the time...