Confession: It drives me crazy that the majority of college students are still sticking to the mini-fridge & microwave model of life. I can only assume that the poor souls have yet to realize that there are other, non-microwave appliances out there,  because they’ve been under the tyranny of a meal plan and enduring (what I assume is) a painful, kitchen-free existence for so long. I’m not saying that you can’t make fabulous food in a microwave, but I do believe that there are other, more versatile appliances well suited to student life. Consider gifting these bad boys this holiday season:

Electric Kettle:

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Coffee/tea drinker? Easy-mac lover? Ramen enthusiast? This baby’s got your back. It’s just a big water warmer-upper, and — unlike its stove-top cousin — most electric kettles automatically turn off and make a cute “ding!” sound once their water boils, instead of screaming “I’MREADYI’MREADYI’MREADY” just, y’know, in kettle language. Also, have you ever managed to heat up water, nay — any liquid, in your microwave without leaving several puddles behind? Not an issue with these guys.

The Rice Cooker

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Don’t let the name fool you — these puppies can do a whole lot more than just cook rice. Even bare bones, one-touch function models can cook all sorts of grains, legumes, soups,and even baked goods (just ask your buddy Pinterest to show you how). It seems that a lot of rice cooker manufacturers got wind of this trend, and now many of today’s models come with buttons for functions like steaming, slow cooking and even re-heating.

George Foreman grill:

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Got bread, cheese and your choice of cold cuts or sliced veggies? With a George Foreman grill, what you’ve got there is a pre-panini, my friend. I’m also a big fan of George S’more-mans (just put down a layer of tin foil on either side of the grill, put in s’more ingredients, grill until gooey). Or try grilling slices of veggies like squash and peppers for warm, healthy and relatively hassle-free bites.

Quick note to readers living on campus: After reading through the CLAM (Community Living at Michigan) handbook, I’ve learned that some of my favorite appliances are banned from U of M’s residence halls for fire safety reasons. And while I’ve made killer meals using these gadgets, none tasted good enough to justify putting myself or others in harm’s way. So please — if you want to bring a rice cooker or electric kettle to your dorm, be sure to follow CLAM guidelines and buy models with an automatic shutoff. But for those of you who aren’t living in university housing, add at least one of these appliances to your holiday gift list. You can thank me later.