Oh My Gosh! I’m In College and I Never Learned To Cook is a great resource for any college student, young person living alone for the first time, or for newlyweds. It is a simple no nonsense resource that gives novice cooks a roadmap for stocking a kitchen and learning to cook.
The book starts with a Shopping List of must-have basic kitchen equipment starting with aluminum foil and ending with 2 pot holders — one for each hand. This book takes nothing for granted and assumes the reader has little or no kitchen experience. For the true novice, this advice will be appreciated. A novice cook once told me the recipe they were making called for vegetable oil but they only had corn oil on hand. Could the corn oil substitute the vegetable oil? For those that cook this is an obvious substitution. For those that are just learning their way around the kitchen this is a valid question.
Hollis Ledbetter understands and talks directly to the kitchen novice. she lays out a list of basic ingredients to keep on hand, defines simple cooking term such as sift, mince and chop, offers food safety tips, and simple suggestions for decreasing fat, sodium and sugar and increasing fiber. The information is brief but to the point.
The core of the book is recipes and starts with directions for cooking pasta. I would have appreciated a table of contents because the recipes are grouped by topic such as The Dreaded Freshman Fifteen (with lower calorie choices), PhD: Perfectly Hosted Dinner, and Cramming Your Cranium (snacks, study foods and smoothies) but the index is very complete. The book is sprinkled with humorous illustrations, safety reminders, and cooking suggestions making the overall presentation of material light and enjoyable. This book will entice the uninitiated into the kitchen and makes a great gift for someone heading off to college.
Oh My Gosh? I’m In College and I Never Learned to Cook! by Hollis Ledbetter, 2011, Tate Publishing Company, $22.99.