Student Cookbooks Part II: Which is the one for you?
Published Monday, 27 October, 2014 by Beth Bradshaw
Are you a vegetarian student struggling with inspiration for meat-free meals? Or are you a health conscious, or aspiring to be, student looking for some healthy eating motivation? Lucky for you, this week at Studentrecipes.com we’ll be reviewing two cookbooks specifically dedicated for vegetarians and a healthy student lifestyle.
Vegetarian Nosh for Students: a fun student cookbook by Joy May
Students have enough things to worry about as it is, with trying to limit costs on food shopping along with rustling up something decent for breakfast, lunch and dinner – but for you vegetarian students that can be made even harder as you are more restricted to what you can and can’t eat. Some of the vegetarian students I know have simply given up with trying to vary their meals and stick to beans on toast, potato waffles and tinned soups. Veggie students need as much help as they can get – and this is where Joy May comes in with Vegetarian Nosh for Students!
Joy found her inspiration for the Nosh books when she sent off her kitchen clueless sons to university and saw a need for a simple, easy to understand cookbook for the students who see the kitchen as a foreign planet! Therefore this book really does go back to basics, but gives confidence to students in the kitchen through straightforward, no frills recipes.
Here are a few of the best bits about Vegetarian Nosh for Students: a fun student cookbook:
Fantastic go-to introduction which covers just about everything a vegetarian student needs to know in the kitchen. From portion sizes to weekly food plan inspiration – Joy’s got it!
Recipe Key: the best key I’ve seen in not just student cookbooks but cookbooks in general! At the side of each recipe there is a key for the cost per person, how long it takes to prepare and cook, how many the recipe will feed, how long you should leave it to cool before storing it in the fridge/freezer and finally, and really important for students in particular – how easy the recipe is on a scale from 1 to 5. Surely with all this information you can’t go wrong…
Fool-proof no frills recipes – from vegetarian risotto dishes to soups, wraps and curries as well as veggie alternatives to student favourites such as lasagne, quiches and burgers!
Everything about the recipes is student-friendly with easily accessible ingredients and simple techniques and methods.
Great section dedicated to vegetarian pitfalls for new vegetarians who might be not aware of animal traces in some common foods, for example, some cheeses such as Parmesan are produced with animal rennet and are therefore not vegetarian friendly. Other examples include animal fat in gelatine (this includes jelly sweets – always check the labels!) and Thai curry pastes which often contain fish sauce. A really useful set of information.
Definitely appealing to students with the bright colours, text and pictures throughout the book. Every recipe has its own picture which will help students see whether they’ve got it right or not, and in which case where!
Whilst this cookbook is great for beginner student cooks, I can’t help feeling the recipes are lacking something. The recipes really are basic and in my opinion not very creative or imaginative – students like to eat good food too, and even if they are new to the kitchen that doesn’t mean they don’t want to progress and become a better cook. The photos don’t do the recipes any favours either, none jump out at me and make me think ‘I want to make that!’ There is a real emphasis on cooking quickly and spending as little time in the kitchen as possible – this won’t help students learn and get used to the kitchen and rushing could easily cause a mistake in the recipe.
In saying that, Vegetarian Nosh for Students lends a much needed helping hand to vegetarian students who often struggle for inspiration on a daily basis. With an easy to read layout, great kitchen advice and step by step methods in all recipes along with a fantastic key there isn’t much likelihood of anything going wrong! Joy understands the strains of student kitchens, abilities and budgets and this is definitely reflected in this book. This should be in any vegetarian student’s kitchen - you’ll never be stuck with boring old beans on toast again.
Healthy Eating Student Cookbook: The Essential Guide by Ester Davies
At a first glance, this cookbook won’t blow you away with fancy food photography and a glossy hardback cover. Reading through it I was amazed at the content of the book – it’s not just about healthy cooking but healthy living. It’s not like other cookbooks with recipes after recipes, but full of advice, tips and dietary information. Throughout the book she takes into consideration that keeping your fridge stocked full of fresh fruit and vegetables isn’t always easy, which is often the barrier between students and a healthy lifestyle.
Even though there is a perception that student budgets and lifestyles don’t accommodate a healthy lifestyle, Ester Davies proves that wrong in this book.
Here are a few reasons why Healthy Eating Student Cookbook: The Essential Guide needs to be on your kitchen shelves!
How to make the most of your shopping budget through cooking in bulk, eating seasonally and base your meals around fresh ingredients to prevent wastage.
The importance of measuring thereby avoiding overeating which is very unhealthy.
Technical kitchen terminology, for example beat, cream and poach, so you can understand what the recipe is asking you to do.
Worried about giving yourself food poisoning? Read up on how to tell whether you’ve cooked your meat enough.
The Feel Good Guide: this will come in handy when exam period creeps up and the stress levels begin to soar. Davies has dedicated a whole chapter about how to cope with stress, food plans full of stress busting foods and stress outlets such as exercise. Unlike any other student cookbook around!
The elephant in the room: Alcohol. No authors dare mention, but Davies does. It is a growing concern as student drinking continues to grow to greater and greater levels, but Davies simply talks about how to manage your consumption to safer levels.
How to quickly, easily and cheaply boost your fruit and vegetable intake.
How to survive the never ending kitchen mess in student accommodation.
Recipes cater for all abilities and budgets – all ingredients are accessible to students and techniques using equipment commonly found in student kitchens.
How to cook the low fat way – making a few simple tweaks here are there can mean eating your favourite dinners without the hefty fat content. Davies also includes low fat Great British classics for you stick in the muds – you have no excuse not to start eating healthy!
…and many many more! I am now Ester Davies’s biggest fan after reading this cookbook – it’s everything that’s needed in so many students lives. Healthy, nutritious and filling food along with a greater understanding of nutrition itself is what’s really lacking in many student diets. So if you feel the need to kick start your diet and become a healthier student, this cookbook is your weapon of choice. It may not be full of colourful arty pictures, but just think of it as your cooking bible.
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