Comments: We have such mixed feelings about this book.
We love it when people cook. If you are in college and a dining service will cook for you morning, noon, and night, why would you not take advantage of it?
We love it when people cook. These are not the most inspiring recipes in the world.
We love it when people cook. We think great flavor is the key to keeping them cooking.
Created by three college students at Williams College in 1999, the book was published to help people "eat healthfully on a tight budget, with a busy schedule, and with little cooking experience." The book, which has been wildly successful, has been updated by Rachel Holcomb, taking into account that there are now more vegetarians, vegans, whole grains, and George Foreman grills on campus. The revised version features 100 new recipes contributed by students from around the country.
The chapters cover everything – getting started and stocking your kitchen; breakfasts; appetizers & quick snacks; soups & salads; vegetarian meals; pasta; seafood; chicken; "dishes for meat lovers"; side dishes & sauces; breads, biscuits, and muffins; and desserts.
We know we are naïve, but in general, we think people in college should not be on diets. And so much of this book sounds like a diet. If one needs to eat a little less, exercising that extra discipline is preferable to consuming nonfat cream cheese – the world's worst "food." The choice of low-fat everything does not health make. And the choice also does not make for much flavor. Fat is, after all, what carries most flavor to our taste buds, and are you going to want to cook for yourself day after day if the dishes you make don't have much flavor? Are you going to aspire to cook well for your entire life if your early results are somewhat uninspiring?
Then again, perhaps our hopes are unrealistic. We love it when people cook, and this book offers more than enough recipes to carry a student through one or more years of apartment living, lots of variety, lots of simplicity, basic cooking information – and it is infinitely preferable to consuming fast food or pizza every night.