The Starving Students’ Cookbook – Review

Cookbook Review

The Starving Students’ Cookbook

This handy little book was a gift my daughter received for Christmas. She’s planning to head off to the big world of college living in the fall and her brother decided she needed a head start, apparently.

I finally got a chance to look through the book this weekend and I’m telling you, it’s a fun, educational book. I wish I’d had a copy back in 1985. Might have made dorm living a little more …. Well, just a little more.
The Starving Students' Cookbook by Dede Hall

The recipes are short, require some basic and easy to find ingredients. The idea seems to be “feed college students meals that remind them of home without straining their budget”. The recipe for Cheap Roast only requires 3 ingredients and a length of aluminum foil. This recipe can be found on page 102 of the book and here. You can’t get much simpler than that.

The hints and tips sprinkled throughout the book are also good-to-know information. Reheating Macaroni, Rice, or Pasta on page 146 is something even home cooks can learn from. I’ve met a few new on-their-own-homemakers who would toss leftover pasta since they didn’t know what to do with it.  Tips like the Handy Hint on page 94 “Don’t dump grease from cooked meat down the drain! ~Drain grease into old can and discard when solidified.” I’m sure the dorm maintenance crew will applaud that bit of sage advice!

The author does understand college students, that much is evident. She realizes that coffee is one of the things that makes universities the world over keep functioning. Viennese Coffee on page 183, instructs readers on how to manage to survive a late night study session for the cost of a single coffee shop beverage. The recipe provides a whole pot of steaming cinnamon coffee, perfect for sharing with roommates.

Another nice feature I found: each recipe has a pictorial guide for equipment required. The Viennese Coffee recipe has a coffeemaker. The Angel Pasta with Olive Oil & Garlic shows a picture of a sauce pan and skillet.  In the space conscious world of dorm and apartment living, students can decide on recipe choices based on the kitchen supplies they have on hand.

I recommend this cookbook to college students, newlyweds, fresh out-on-your-owns, and everybody who’s learning to cook or looking for some simple, convenient recipes! You can click the link below to purchase your very own copy!

How to Boil Water

This would seem like an easy enough task. Put water in a pot. Put the pot on the heat. Wait. But there are ways to make it even easier!

Chemistry

Some of you took a chemistry class back in high school. And you probably thought “I will never use this stuff.” Guess what?! Chemistry applies to real life.

Water will boil at 212 degrees Farenheit or 100 degrees Celcius. That is a standard chemistry rule.  If you want to read more about this process, click here. However, when you add salt to the water, you create a solution. The salt changes the water just enough to allow a lower boiling point.

That means that your water will boil faster. This is a time saving technique you’ll want to use when you are preparing pasta, rice, vegetables or other foods.

Time Saver

Watching and waiting for plain water to boil is an exercise in patience. There’s a lot of truth in that old saying that “a watched pot never boils.”  Honestly, it will eventually boil, but you’ll feel like you’ve waited For-Ev-Er. To speed this process up for those of us who are in a hurry for things (especially me with food). Simply add a teaspoon or so of salt in the pan of water and set the heat to high. It will seem like no time at all and the bubbles will be rolling away.

Caution

If you are watching your salt intake, then you’ll not want to use this tip.  You certainly don’t want to add salt to the tea kettle or the coffee pot. …ick… I don’t think salt flavored tea will be the next trendy beverage.

How to Find Nutritional Values

Label Reading Has Benefits

Do you read labels? I’ll bet a lot of you do. At least, some of the time. There’s a fair share of us who read the entire label every time. But most of us are interested enough in the ingredients list and nutritional values to read labels now and then. Sometimes we’ll make a comparison of two similar products and purchase the one with the best label information.

The FDA has requirements about what information is printed on the labels of foods sold in the United States.  The minimum information includes ingredients, nutritional value, expiration dates and distributor contact info. The nutritional values are beneficial for tracking calories, fat grams, protein and sodium intakes.

You can use the label information when selecting the best food option for your family. This is vitally important if you have a member who needs to closely monitor certain food values for health reasons. It’s handy when you are just trying to make good choices in your diet.

Alternative to No Labels

What happens when you prepare a recipe or create a meal using raw ingredients or bulk packages that don’t lend themselves to easy labeling?   The answer: www.nutritiondata.com .

This site has several tools that are easy to use and will help you define the values for foods and recipes you make. I use it to obtain the approximate nutritional values on recipes posted on Apron Free Cooking.  The neat thing about this site’s program, is that it allows you to enter recipes and analyze the ingredients for nutritional values. You can track menus, daily food intake, get recipes, and read the latest in health research.

Easy to Use

The format is simple to use. First time visitors who are planning to utilize the nutrition analyzing tool will need to build a profile. This takes just a few minutes and requires basic information.  Once you have a profile built, you can begin building a database of foods or recipes.

After a recipe is analyzed, you will have the standard Nutritional Value label available to print if you like. An example:

Nutrition Facts Label Sample

I have used the information to include estimated nutrition information about the recipes I post. They are estimates simply because the brand of canned green bean will cause variations in nutrition content. For example, if you compared two cans of green beans, they may have different amounts of salt or potassium due to the recipe the manufacturer uses. Therefore, I can’t say exactly what results you will have when you follow one of my recipes. Since I don’t always buy the same brand of foods, I don’t even have the exact same nutrition results time after time. What I do have is a pretty close approximation.

I like this site www.NutritionData.com so well, I recommend it to anybody who wants to evaluate their foods, compare products, analyze restaurant meals or just learn more about what they are eating. I’ve added a quick search tool to the left margin of my site to help make it easy to find food values.