Book Reviews

Student Cooking

Eating well on a budget is an important part of student and working life, but with a huge range of cooking TV shows and books out there, where do you start? Well, we have a really great cooking section in the Information Store, with recipe books from around the world and plenty of cookbooks aimed at eating well on a budget, as well as helpful books on nutrition so you can understand how to eat healthily. With the new academic year, why not be daring in the kitchen as well as in the classroom?

Student Healthy Eating Cookbook: The Essential Guide by Ester Davies (BOOK ZONE 641.563)

student cookbook healthy eatingThis cookbook puts the emphasis on making healthy choices about your food. It explains basic nutrition in easy-to-remember short sections and gives you nutritional estimates for each meal, with suggestions on how you can add things or take things away to give different results (if you need to eat fewer carbohydrates or more protein, for instance). It also has helpful guides to cooking jargon, units of measurement and the vitamins and minerals in different foods. Highly recommended if you want to understand the truth behind the nutritional labels!

The New Students’ Veggie Cookbook by Carolyn Humphries (BOOK ZONE 641.563)

new students veggie cookbookWritten by a Food Technology graduate, these recipes were developed while the author was in college and are easy to follow and clear. Plenty of cartoons make it fun rather than daunting and it’s handily divided by the kind of dishes rather than the more usual time of day – so if you have pasta to use up, you can go straight to the pasta-based dishes chapter. And all the recipes are vegetarian!

The Essential Student Cookbook by Cas Clarke (BOOK ZONE 641.512)

essential student cookbookAgain, filled with silly cartoons to take the fear out of cooking, The Essential Student Cookbook packs in a lot of recipes (400 in fact!) for a little paperback book that will easily fit on your shelves. Knowing that students are often on a budget, Clarke has chapters on ‘Simple Budget Standbys’ and ‘Cooking For One’, with helpful things like survival guide shopping lists, meal plans and guides to what are the most and least expensive recipes in a section. There are also helpful little snippets about things people expect you to know but don’t teach you, such as how many starters to make per person if you’re doing a full meal or how to squeeze a bit more fruit and veg into your diet for minimal cost.

Beyond Baked Beans by Fiona Beckett (BOOK ZONE 641.552)

beyond baked beansThis brightly-coloured book is divided by the potential uses of food, namely, Fuel, Favourites and Feasts: if you want meals that give you lots of energy, make you feel better after a tough day, or can easily be expanded to feed lots of people, this book has plenty of suggestions! It also has a section at the end about buying alcohol and how to make the most of your budget.

A Wolf In the Kitchen: Easy Food For Hungry People by Lindsey Bareham (BOOK ZONE 641.555)

a wolf in the kitchenA Wolf In the Kitchen isn’t specifically aimed at students, but it is designed to provide delicious and healthy meals on a budget without requiring lots of time and effort. While it has some things you may have never thought of cooking (this book introduced me to Jansson’s Temptation, which was a revelation!) it draws on recipes from around the world and adapts them for our supermarkets, so you’ll find a wide variety of new tastes in here without the faff of needing to find specialist ingredients. Plus you can show off to your friends! There’s a reason these meals have been popular for hundreds of years in their original countries: they’re simple, filling and delicious.

My Turn To Cook by Miranda Shearer (BOOK ZONE 641.512)

my turn to cookWritten for students by a student, My Turn To Cook was originally put together as a guide for the author’s partner when he went to university and was missing home cooking. It’s a no-nonsense recipe book in which the recipes are surrounded by anecdotes about Shearer’s family and home. All the recipes have been tested by students, so you can be sure they’re practical and within a student budget.

If you want to learn more about cooking…

We couldn’t make a list of recipe books without featuring Norwich’s own Delia Smith. Like so many, I left home with the collected volumes of Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course (BOOK ZONE 641.5). It’s a wonderful reference guide for cooking anything at all (including all kinds of readily-available meat), and you will find basic, easy recipes for lots of staple foods. I can highly recommend her Spaghetti Bolognese!

For those with dietary restrictions, we have a section devoted to gluten-free, dairy-free and allergy-aware cookery, as well as books on vegetarian and vegan diets in the BOOK ZONE at 641.563.

Jack Monroe is a food poverty campaigner whose incredible blog has helped lots of people who don’t have the time or money to cook things that standard recipe books involve. They have great tips on shopping, storage and budgeting as well as giving most of their recipes a ‘costing’, because they know from personal experience what it is like to live below the poverty line. Find a load of free recipes and advice online at their website.

[Edited 29/10/2015 to correct pronouns]

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