Every fall, hordes of students just like you leave the familiarity of their parents' houses and hometowns and arrive on college campuses, ready to move away from their high school days and transition into the adult world. For most, this means living away from home for the first time, meeting new people from different places, and beginning to consider what kind of a career they might want. Very few, however, consider the fact that their new dorms do not come complete with personal chefs. Now your family's kitchen at home has been reduced to, at worst, a lone hot pot that plugs into the wall, or, at best, a communal kitchenette that may only contain appliances as sophisticated as a two-burner stove and a toaster oven.
No matter what your background, college is going to be a learning experience for you. You might find yourself learning to do logarithms, or learning to do laundry. But whatever you're studying, you'll have to eat, and that's where this book comes in. While you may think cooking belongs at the bottom of your college to-do list, think again. First of all, cooking is cheaper than eating out. If you're now responsible for paying your own way (or part of your own way), you know that your money is better spent on tuition than expensive restaurant checks. And don't think you're off the hook if you live at home and attend a local college. You'll probably find that your hectic schedule doesn't align with your family's mealtimes, and your parents will likely be unable or unwilling to go on kitchen duty at midnight.
Another advantage to cooking is that it's healthier than dining out. Why is eating healthy so important, you ask? A balanced diet increases your ability to handle the stresses of college life. Eating nutritious meals at regular times helps you sleep better, gives you more stamina, and makes it easier to resist sugar-loaded snacks that temporarily raise your blood sugar levels but leave you feeling more tired than ever an hour later. Cooking healthier meals at home will also help you avoid the weight gain many students experience in their first year of college: the dreaded freshman fifteen.
Finally, don't forget that cooking is fun! Spending Sunday afternoon in the kitchen is a great way to unwind after a hectic week of studying, and mastering new skills gives you a sense of accomplishment. Besides, what better way to win new friends than to invite them over for some homemade French Bread Pizza or Fried Chicken with Cornmeal Crust? Heck, you might even get a date out of it!
The following terms are shown according to each recipe:
- Low-calorie: Less than 250 calories.
- Low-fat: Less than 3 g.
- Gluten-free: Food brands contain different ingredients, so be sure to read labels to ensure the item does not contain gluten.
- Vegetarian: Some recipes may have eggs or egg beaters.
- Vegan: Some recipes may still contain items that may have come in contact with animals.
- Lactose-free: Does not contain lactose, but this depends on which brands you use.
- Low-carb: Less than 15 g.
- High-fiber: More than 5 g.