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Jul 16, 2012 09:57 AM

Favorite Cookbooks for a college student

My daughter is declaring her independence (well, not from her dad's checkbook), and moving to an off-campus apartment. She's looking forward to cooking some meals with her roommates & friends.

Can anyone suggest cookbooks for a somewhat experienced young adult. I thought of the latest version of "Joy of Cooking", just for basics. She mentioned that she'd like to do some basic Italian dishes. I did tell her she could access recipes on-line, but as a mom with a cookbook collection, I'm partial to the printed word/picture.

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  1. Despite the fact that her TV show can annoy me, I do like Everyday Italian by Giada DiLaurentis. It's a good selection of Italian dishes, sauces, snacks, desserts. Very clear directions, too. Good for your daughter! :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      Oh, that is true. It reminds me that I got my older daughter a Rachel Ray book too. Very basic and has some recipes for "entertaining" in it (beer and hummus with friends over, snicker, snicker). Anyway, Rachel Ray tends to make tasty, simple "one pot" meals that kids like.

    2. My daughter became vegetarian in college, so I got her the original (Moosewood) Enchanted Broccoli Forrest. But vegetarian or not- most college kids don't have the budget or enthusiasm to skillfully prepare much meat anyway -and this book has a TON of terrific things to make -from homemade tortilla's, quiche, soups,pizza, and cakes! She said she uses it all the time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sedimental

        Sundays at Moosewood (mostly, but not completely, vegetarian) was one of my grad school cookbook mainstays! As with the other Moosewood cookbooks, excellent for those on budgets. Easy to follow, plus some nice ethnically inspired recipes.

      2. As far as cookbooks go, Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green ( is one of my favorites on the Italian side. Making homemade pasta isn't as intensive as everyone seems to think it is, and the section on stuffed pasta is amazing in its simplicity and range. Another good source of Italian recipes I love is, but they don't have a cookbook last time I checked. If she'd be interested in baking, I'd highly recommend The Bread Bible by Rose Beranbaum ( Baking bread helped me through some of those really tough weeks in college where I could make a homemade focaccia to make it through the week instead of relying on instant ramen.

        1. It may seem dated at this point, but I loved the New Basics as one of my first cookbooks. The recipeis seemed so much more interesting than what I saw in Fanny Farmer or the Joy of cooking. It helped me become interested in learning to cook.

          1. The Joy of Cooking is brilliant and could very well become her bible and go-to reference book for the rest of her life. I still have my mother's version and falling apart, it is still my favorite.

            My mother used to give copies of the Joy of Cooking to everyone we knew that was getting married; she would take the time to go through and write little notes about specific recipes (Carrie's favorite, don't bother with this one, add some extra sugar to this, etc.)

            I don't think you can do better!