Ten starter recipes
1. Oatmeal. Get breakfast going the night before, using 1 part steel-cut oats to 4 parts water. Cook 6 hours on low. Use honey packets from the dining hall to sweeten. - B.W.
2. Soup. Throw 1 1/2 cups dried legumes (lentils, beans, etc.), 1/2 cup rice and/or grains or seeds (like quinoa), 2 cups chopped vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, tomato), 6 to 7 cups water, and salt and pepper to taste in a slow cooker. Cook on high for about 5 hours. - A.S.
3. Pulled pork. Cook a boneless pork loin with a bottle of barbecue sauce for 8 hours on low. Have friends bring the buns and beer. - B.W.
4. Cheesy grits. An alternative to the usual macaroni and cheese that can be topped with some store-bought, precooked cocktail shrimp. Use 4 parts water to 1 part grits, cook 6 hours and stir in cheese equal in volume to the raw grits before serving. - M.S.
5. Bibimbap. Cook 2 cups brown rice in 3 1/2 cups hot water for 2 hours on high, 6 hours on low). Stir in as much chili sauce as you like, kimchee if you have it, greens and veggies snagged from the dining hall salad bar, leftover cooked chicken, beef or pork, if you eat meat, and, an optional raw egg (use a pasteurized egg if there are health concerns); toss it all until well mixed. - B.D.
6. Coffee or tea. Machines kept at a low temperature setting of around 200 degrees can be used to heat water for both beverages. - B.W.
7. Chili with franks. Heat three cans of chili in the slow cooker with three to four sliced hot dogs, 2 hours on high or 6 on low. Top with grated cheese. - B.D.
8. Spiced kidney beans. Put 3 cups dried kidney beans (rinsed) in a slow cooker. Add 1 onion chopped, 2 chopped tomatoes, minced ginger if you have it, 4 minced cloves garlic, 2 to 4 chopped chilies. Season with 4 whole cloves, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds and 2 teaspoons each garam masala and turmeric powder. Cook on high for 12 hours, adding 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro about 5 minutes before the end of cooking. - A.S.
9. Hard-cooked eggs. Fill cooker halfway with water, and set on high before going to bed. In the morning, water should be steaming hot. Add eggs, cook 18 minutes. - B.W.
10. Chocolate fondue. Melt chocolate squares in slow cooker on low, up to a few hours. Stir in enough milk or some other liquid (bottled Brass Monkey, the cocktail, worked for me once in a pinch) to loosen the texture for dipping. Pair with cubed pound cake and chopped fruit. - B.D.