A Room With a Clue

Dorm Living 101

THE CHEESE PLATE: $30 at the beloved East Village Cheese shop (40 Third Avenue; 212-477-2601) will buy a selection of aged and soft cheeses, olives, grape leaves, and crackers for at least six people. Wine, in a box, jug, or bottle, is optional.

THE MOVIE NIGHT: Melt one tablespoon of butter in the microwave with a tablespoon of honey, cinnamon, salt, and chili powder to taste. Add to a bag of your favorite microwaved popcorn and shake to coat. This topping is also good on a mixture of Chex cereal and peanuts.

THE PAN-ASIAN: Keep bags of edamame (soy beans) and shumai (dumplings) in the freezer for semi-sophisticated snacking that will save a mint on takeout; both can be made in the microwave in about 90 seconds. The dipping sauce for shumai is made with equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar; variations include a shot of chile sauce or a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

illustration: John Hendrix

THE SEDUCTION: Wash and freeze ripe strawberries, grapes, and bananas (peeled and sliced in chunks). When it's time to impress, melt half a cup of semisweet chocolate chips for 40 seconds in the microwave with a teaspoon of butter for gloss. Dip the fruit and place on a wax paper; the cold surface will harden the chocolate quickly, while the chocolate melts the fruit. Serve with whipped cream and Portishead.

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