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The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook*

Solid Information for the Young Adult Cook Plus Simple Recipes

I found this to be a fun little cookbook with some basic but interesting 5-ingredient recipes. The book starts off with a four-chapter section that goes into some cooking basics, like cooking terms, knife skills, kitchen tools, suggested pantry items, budgeting and meal planning, and safety and food storage tips. The rest of the book is all about the recipes, starting with breakfast and ending with dessert. She does have a few unusual chapters that aren’t typically in a cookbook of this size, like drinks and snacks. I liked that the drink chapter had beverages for both hot and cold months.

Right in the recipe title, the author tells whether the recipe is either vegan or vegetarian. She actually has a vegan chapter, and all the snacks are vegetarian. For some of the meat recipes, she gives vegetarian options. As a vegetarian, I appreciate all this. The recipe names usually simply state the ingredients and dish type like Easy Tortellini-Veggie Soup. For some reason, she does have some of what I would consider oddly named recipes, as if she couldn’t figure out how to put an ingredient in the proper recipe name, so she just left it in parentheses at the end. Sometimes, too, she used a plus sign in the recipe name. I found both of these affectations kind of bizarre. It actually isn’t difficult to name recipes; I have done so myself. I found myself questioning at times some of the relative amounts of ingredients. For instance, one of the oatmeal recipes called for a teaspoon of vanilla for a recipe that calls for 1/2 cup of dried oats. That might make the dish too heavy in vanilla.

The book does have some photos, but none of the recipes have one. There are pictures in the information section of things like knives and certain cuts. Each chapter does have a chapter photo. Pf course, the recipes have so few ingredients and relatively simple prep that it would be simple to imagine what they may look like.

The author clearly likes Nutella–who can blame her?–as it appears in two of the recipes. I’ll admit when I was flipping through the Table of Contents that the 2-ingredient Nutella Cocoa caught my eye. I think I might have to make that as a treat for my mother! (BTW, the other Nutella recipe was for a Nutella Mug Cake.) I am glad that the author has included a basic information section that is so detailed, though it may not be enough information for a true cooking novice. The recipes seem simple enough for even a beginning cook. They are all five ingredients, like in the book title, and the prep time is usually short and relatively easy. I have read 5-ingredient cookbooks that actually had surprisingly complex directions; this is not the case here. I will admit that I have gotten away from cooking somewhat. Even though I am not college aged, a simple book like this might inspire me to give some simple recipes a go.