Saturday, August 20, 2016

Campus Cooks

Thousands of college students will be leaving for college for the first time or returning to their apartments in the next couple of weeks. The scary part? They'll be cooking on their own. They'll be cutting, chopping, broiling and boiling - and possibly making some mistakes. Make sure that they have the right gear - not just tablets and an open Amazon account - but everything from cookbooks to cutting boards. Get them ready now for a semester of their version of fine dining.

One of the best things to get any college kid is a cookbook filled with simple and basic recipes. There are actually ones that are geared towards your collegiate. Rhonda Lauret Parkinson has written one of the most comprehensive ones, The Everything College Cookbook, 300 Hassle Free Recipes For Students On The Go. (F&W Publications) This decade old book has everything to get the student from breakfast to snack time to cramming for exams. Another good cookbook is The Healthy College Cookbook, written by Alexandra Nimitz and Jason Stanley along with The Starving Student by Dede Hall that features vegan and vegetarian dishes (all can be bought or downloaded on Amazon). The next items of importance are pots and pans. Unless your kid is going to the CIA , Culinary Institute of America, you can buy two or three vital ones instead of a whole sets. Buy cookware that can have multiple uses. A stockpot can make chili, but also can boil pasta or a lobster. A fry pan is excellent at making burgers but also grilled cheese too. A microwave is handy, and great for cooking leftovers but a better investment is a toaster oven.It's  healthier and can be used for everything from reheating to baking.

Tools are also important too in a student's kitchen.A good all purpose knife ,which can be bought at any supermarket, is one of the most important items for any home chef. I have a Farberware one that I've used for slicing bread, chopping veggies and even carving roast chicken. The second most important item is a good wooden spoon. These are great for stirring everything from sauces to soups. They can be bought in different sizes and will last until the next generation is ready for college. A cutting board is next on the list.It's a must for mess less chopping whether meat, veggies or fruit.Freezer bags are another must. They will come in handy for  leftovers or making dinners for busy exam weeks, As far as gadgets, a mini food processor will always come in handy. It's great for making everything from banana "ice cream" to hummus. An emulsion blender is another must. It's takes up less space than a regular blender but works perfectly in creating sauces, smoothies and even condiments like homemade mayo.As for foods, make sure your campus chef has boullon cubes, perfect on their own or used as the base for soups. Peanut butter is another must.It can be made into a quick sandwich or in baking. Pasta and pasta sauce should also be on the list. These create a hot homey meal in no time. Make sure that there's also bread, cereal and canned tuna.

College is a time of new experiences. Cooking for oneself is one of those. Make sure your collegiate is ready  for it with a well stocked kitchen.

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