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to think most of these "student" cookbooks are nothing of the sort

(36 Posts)
5Foot5 Thu 14-Nov-13 13:20:43

DD is in her last year at school so, all being well, she will be going to Uni next autumn. This means at some point she is going to have to start cooking for herself regularly.

Now she is by no means useless in the kitchen. She has to get her own evening meal at least one night a week when she goes out early to her PT job and she is well used to getting her own lunches in the school holidays. However, I think her repertoire is fairly limited and I thought it might be nice to get her a good practical cookbook as a stocking filler this Christmas.

I noticed that there seem to be quite a lot of cookbooks now that claim to be for students. However, I just spent several minutes leafing through them and nearly all the main meals are to serve more than one. Many say they serve 4 or more. Now I suppose in some student kitchens they do all co-operate and cook together but that certainly wasn't my experience at Uni. Maybe once a week we would cook a meal together but the rest of the time we did our own thing. Bearing this in mind I would have expected a proper student cookbook to have lots of easy, economical main meals to serve one.

Does anyone know if such a thing exists?

(NB I do own a copy of Delia's "One is Fun" that I could give her but I imagine she might be put off by the title and I thought something with "Student" in the title would be more encouraging to her)

derektheladyhamster Thu 14-Nov-13 13:22:17

I had 'grub on a grant' grin ds won a copy of Sam Stern's student cookbook. Since when do lamb shanks belong in a student cookbook!?

GaryTheTankEngine Thu 14-Nov-13 13:23:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lancelottie Thu 14-Nov-13 13:23:45

I used Cooking in a bedsitter.

Can't find it now to see whether it was responsible for the Eggy Kettle Fiasco or whether that was innate 18-yo idiocy...

littlewhitebag Thu 14-Nov-13 13:25:54

My DD is at uni and she makes meals for 3 or 4 then has it for the rest of the week. So mince is spag bol 2 nights and with the addition of chill powder and kidney beans becomes chilli. She also sometimes cooks for friends and flatmates. She will cook a chicken and have a roast dinner, chicken stew, stir fry etc with the left overs.

CaterpillarCara Thu 14-Nov-13 13:27:18

It would be much cheaper if they did cook together. Every uni flat I was in had a roster. Lovely to have a home-cooked meal every night but only cook it once or twice a week. We just left it plated up for those not home till later.

She could cook the four-person meals and freeze three and need to cook less often?

ajandjjmum Thu 14-Nov-13 13:28:00

Sam Stern's book is good.

LadyVetinari Thu 14-Nov-13 13:29:06

I agree, although the portions thing is more to do with cost-effectiveness - the idea is that you stash 2 portions in the freezer and 1 portion in the fridge for later.

I agree with the "Cooking in a Bedsitter" recommendation above. Also, if she's allowed a slow-cooker (£12 for a good one from Argos) then 101 Slow Cooker Recipes is really good for quick, cheap, batch cooking as well.

VikingLady Thu 14-Nov-13 13:30:15

Freezing the rest isn't always an option. Stuff got nicked in one of the sets of halls I was in. But the cooking in a bedsit cookbook was really good-I had it too!

StackOfFuckers Thu 14-Nov-13 13:30:23

My friend's mum made her her own cookbook with family recipes and basic recipes like making a white sauce etc that she could then develop for different dishes.

5Foot5 Thu 14-Nov-13 13:30:36

derektheladyhamster DD does have one or two of the earlier Sam Stern books but doesn't seem impressed. Over-ambitious I think.

I remember I had a very small recipe book from Sainsbury's for cooking for one and it had some great ideas in. Lost it long ago though.

derektheladyhamster Thu 14-Nov-13 13:32:38

looks good The problem with cooking extra is that other people eat it! And we only ever had a small freezer at the top of our fridge (which was permanently frozen up)

SilverApples Thu 14-Nov-13 13:33:54

My dad gave me his copy of the Manual of Army catering services 1965 when I went to uni, because it was fully comprehensive and he'd used it a lot. Except that the quantities served either 10 or 50.
So I used to divide the ingredients before I started. grin
I'd buy her a simple cookbook with good photos and get her to halve the quantities.
This one is good

LadyVetinari Thu 14-Nov-13 13:36:44

Also, a few tips:

- Buy peppers, onions, mushrooms, peas etc pre-chopped and frozen: it saves a lot of time, washing up, and money as they cost the same as fresh but things don't go mouldy!

- Big bags of lentils and dhal are a really good and healthy way of bulking up food for minimal cost. Just make sure they aren't the kind that needs pre-soaking for 12 hours, as I've never met a first year student who could reliably remember to do that in advance.

- Alternate veggie and non-veggie meals to save money, time, and effort - for example, a lentil dhal curry can have fried chicken pieces added to it the next day, or a lentil and bean chilli can have mince added.

- Almost any cooking disaster can be fixed with either curry paste, chilli puree, ginger puree, garlic puree, reggae reggae sauce, or stock.

- A group effort at a Sunday roast saves everybody money and can really help with group dynamics.

LadyVetinari Thu 14-Nov-13 13:38:15

Derek - other people ate your pre-cooked food?! What arseholes. I've heard of "borrowing" milk or beer but never nicking somebody's dinner...

PeterParkerSays Thu 14-Nov-13 13:38:49

I was really disillusioned with these cookery books when I was at university. One "student" cookery book told you to buy fresh pasta rather than dried because it tasted better!!

A Wolf in the Kitchen is out of print now, but a really good basic student cookery book - covers how to do jacket potatoes if you need that sort of basic levels, covers big pot cooking if you have mates over, but generally caters for one.

LatteLady Thu 14-Nov-13 13:42:59

I would go with the golden oldies of my youth, Delia Smith's One is Fun and the even older Katherine Whitehorn's "Cooking in a Bedsitter"

If you are looking for simple and cheap recipes, then go to A girl called Jack's blog.

I have used all of the above and survived!

DrSeuss Thu 14-Nov-13 13:43:24

I made my own. The highlights of my mother's cookbooks stuck into a notebook.

sisterofmercy Thu 14-Nov-13 13:44:02

derektheladyhamster - I had 'grub on a grant' too! That book really had thought about people leaving home who might not even be able to boil an egg right up to quite advanced meals for dinner parties.

Takver Thu 14-Nov-13 13:49:42

I lived off The Vegetarian Student by Jenny Baker in the late 80s - assumed zero cash and little knowledge, tbh I still make some of the recipes now. Most of the recipes IIRC were for one, with larger quantities for 'fancy' things (fancy def. in inverted commas grin ) with the assumption that you'd be cooking for friends sometimes.

ControlGeek Thu 14-Nov-13 13:49:45

I lived by How to boil an egg when I was a student, and the Cooking in a Bedsitter that a pp mentioned. Mostly, though, it was just rice and pasta to stretch the £'s.

Takver Thu 14-Nov-13 13:50:26

Agree A Girl Called Jack also definitely the right sort of thing, but not so helpful as an xmas present

DeepThought Thu 14-Nov-13 13:55:21

Remember Get Stuffed on the tele years ago


Minicooper Thu 14-Nov-13 13:55:46

I had this
and cooked from it for years. Most recipes for one, but easily adaptable for more.

NewBlueShoesToo Thu 14-Nov-13 13:56:27

Get Stuffed was brilliant. grin
I still use the book Grub on a Grant for things like sweet a sour sauce and one pot dishes.

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