When youngsters go off to university or college, it is an exciting time for them. They look forward to the independence that college life brings. They think independence means that they can stay out late, sleep late, have high jinks with their friends, but they never think about the ‘boring’ but necessary things that they will have to do. The money for their living expenses seems like a huge amount, which soon dwindles in their minds when they realize that it must last the whole semester, term, or year. Living on fast food soon turns to living on noodles and, when this begins to pall, youngsters realize that they must actually cook.
Prudent parents will prepare their youngsters for college, including teaching them to cook and will want to send them off with a good cookery book, preferably one slanted towards college students and their lifestyle. However, there are many cookery books on the market and it is difficult to choose which to buy.
A good basic cookery book is right for anyone, which means one that tells the user how to do everything, from boiling an egg upwards, and does not assume that the user knows basic cookery methods. The recipes inside should use clear direct language that leaves no doubt as to what to do. Recipes should not have huge ingredient lists and those should be basic, inexpensive ingredients. The time that recipes take to prepare is also a factor and quick, easy recipes that provide nourishing and inexpensive meals are the best kind for students.
There are some super cookbooks especially aimed at students. There are various recommended books for both American and British students. British and American cookery books are different, not only in their weights and in measures but in their language and this may be confusing for novice cooks.
Recommended American Cook Books for College Students
American students would do well with “Cooking outside the Pizza Box”, by Jean Patterson and Danae Campbell; it contains easy recipes using basic cookery methods for beginning cooks. It contains basic instructions for everything from scrambled eggs to preparing a healthy balanced meal. The book also contains helpful advice, tips for students on shopping, equipment, and sharing a kitchen, including a very helpful trouble shooting/mistake avoiding section.
Another very helpful American College cookbook is “College Cooking” by students Megan and Jane Carle. It contains ninety simple tasty and cheap recipes and many helpful tips and knowledge for student cooks, including information on equipment, shopping and other necessities. The “I Don’t Know How to Cook”, 300 Great Recipes You Can’t Mess up Book is very suitable for any novice cook and assumes that the cook has little or no knowledge. Its beginner recipes are divided into easy, medium and hard and provide help on choosing ingredients, when shopping and other helpful novice cook information.
Recommended British Cookery Books for Students
British students would appreciate “The Ultimate Student Cookbook” by Fiona Beckett, a cookery writer with a large student following in the UK. This book was written with the help of three male student co-authors and has over 300 recipes tips, advice, and comments. Fiona Beckett’s other books, Beyond Baked Beans, Beyond Baked Beans Green, Beyond Baked Beans Budget, The Frugal Cook, Meat and Two Veg, and Sausage and Mash, might well prove suitable books for students too.
“4 Ingredients Student Cookbook” on Hamlyn Press contains over 200 fast and easy recipes using 4 main ingredients plus store cupboard items like flour, salt pepper et cetera. A student reviewer rated this book as excellent and it provides simple no-fuss cheap recipes, which students can make with minimum preparation and cooking time. This book is very suitable for those with little or no cooking experience.
When Joy May’s son returned home ill, shortly after leaving for University, because he had not been feeding himself properly, she looked for a cookbook that would encourage her non-cooking son to cook for himself. She failed to find an inspiring beginner’s cookbook, so she wrote one called “Nosh for Students”. The book’s tag line, “A fun student’s cookbook” describes it perfectly, and is ideal for complete beginner cooks, and busy, hungry, students with low budgets. Student and parent reviewers alike rate this book, featuring simple recipes, each accompanied by a photograph of the finished dish, using readily available ingredients, tips and advice.
Perhaps the best cookbook for college students about to leave for university is not bought from a shop at all, but homemade. Make a cookbook of family recipes, Take a 3-ring folder or binder and print out family recipes. Include simple recipes for easy, economical recipes, family favourites, but also include recipes that remind the student of people. If Granny has a wonderful recipe for stollen, include it, although it will probably be too difficult for your student just yet, he, or she, will remember when Granny made the stollen and should he or she ever want to recreate Granny’s stollen, the recipe is there. Include some childhood favourite recipes too. Do not forget to add in little anecdotes about special occasions when the dish was served, or how family recipes evolved because recipes do within families. For example, if M’s mother taught M, her two sisters and her brother to cook her recipe for spaghetti Bolognese, but each one cooks it slightly differently and they all make it differently to their mother.
Look on line for simple, cheap, basic tasty recipes for pasta, noodle, rice meals, homemade pizza and the foods that students enjoy. Do not just include meals, remember that students are always hungry and include recipes for quick, tasty, and healthy snacks too. Include tips on shopping, things to look for when buying food and food hygiene. There are also good web sites advising student cooks and you might write some links to them in your book.
Such a homemade cookbook is more than just a cookbook. It is a little piece of home and family, which could be comforting when the first excitement of leaving home, and not being under parental eyes, palls. This cookbook would make a wonderful gift to a student, and it is something that the extended family could help you to put together.
Space here forbids naming all the excellent cookery books suitable for college students. However, there are more recommendations for British or American student cookbooks, check customer reviews on one of the major book-selling websites and see whether a particular book will suit your student and their cooking ability.
The right student cookbook will ensure that your student eats properly at college. Cooking skills can give your student a passport to friendships and social occasions. Cookery is a life skill that your student will use throughout life and a student cookbook can be the beginning of a useful, creative, and satisfying skill that will last your student a lifetime.