Tiffany Goodall knows what a student life is all about – limited budget, limited space, plus big appetite – and it sounds a lot like single life for many people. Her experience as a culinary student at the Ballmaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland, is the background for The Ultimate Student Cookbook: From Chicken to Chili (Firefly 2012). It is a smart take on keeping healthy and well fed as a student. It’s a cookbook that’s looks more like a comic book – jam packed with photographs, comments, and hints – good for anyone with a short attention span.
The idea is to keep everything simple – even the equipment, so the book starts with a list of 20 piece of equipment – a handheld blender instead of a food processor that takes too much space. The recipes for breakfast are of course called Breakfast with Tiffany (remember the movie of a similar name?) followed by Real Fast Food. There are really simple recipes for How to Cook Pasta (26) and Tomato and Garlic Sauce (p. 27) made with canned tomatoes, chili, garlic and sugar. It’s simple and straightforward – with lots of hints for cooks who have never boiled water before. She follows with several more simple sauces like Magic Mushroom Sauce (p. 28) and Basil, Garlic, Feta, Arugula, and Olive Oil Spaghetti (p. 30). After you’ve mastered pasta, its time to move on to Risotto and then try toasted sandwiches. It isn’t hard to make a toasted sandwich – just toast the bread, add meat and cheese, along with some spread, and top with the second slice. But the recipe is included, along with more complicated sandwiches, for those who have never had to fend for themselves.
Since this is for the college gang, there are appropriately named chapters, including Wasted Weekend, which is filled with substantial meals, Sunday suppers. Tiffany shows you how to make a Perfect Roast Chicken (p. 110) with plenty of butter, garlic and lemon, a Beef Stew (p. 116) and Lottie’s Chicken and Coconut Curry (p 120). This being a British cookbook, there are plenty of curry recipes including Hot, Hot Curry Lamb (p. 86).
Throughout the book, there are step-by-step photos by Claire Peters, of the food, of Tiffany, and her friends. It’s celebratory, and all about hospitality even on a student’s budget. At the back of the book are a few recipes for desserts – Tiffany’s emphasis is on healthy cooking – even a birthday cake (p. 154). This is the book you can send your kids off to college with – a book that can see them through all kinds of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and even a birthday party.