For students whose idea of cooking is grabbing the phone or finding the keys, help with a little Cal Poly twist is out there.
Jackie Oliver, mother of Cal Poly architecture sophomore Sophie Oliver, recently published a cookbook, “I’ve Found the Kitchen, Now What?” aimed toward a younger audience on their own for the first time and lost in their new environment.
Jackie had the idea for the book when she began gathering recipes for her daughter preparing to head off to college and noticed that most cookbooks made assumptions about the skill and experience level of the reader.
“When faced with the daunting task of doing-it-alone in the kitchen, most people need advice about equipment, utensils and ingredients. It’s the silly little stuff like knowing which potatoes to get if you want to make mashed potatoes and things like that,” Jackie said.
When Sophie and her friends complained about the gap between reader and tool, Jackie decided to create a guide her daughter could use. As she progressed, the material became detailed and comprehensive.
After hearing numerous compliments from Sophie’s friends, Jackie decided to see if publishers had any interest in the book. When an agent rejected her, she decided to do it alone.
She limited costs by using Create Space, an online service through Amazon that allows individuals to self-publish books at a much cheaper price by publishing the material only after it has been purchased online.
While the book does have recipes, its most valuable contribution to the kitchen is as a reference guide.
“It is meant to be a little encyclopedia, a guide focused less on the recipes and more on teaching the things other cookbooks assume,” Oliver said.
The material is simple to digest, and the book is thin enough to fit into any nook or cranny. As far as aesthetics go, the pictures are salivating, which, as any late-night Food Channel addict knows, makes all the difference.
The glossary of terms covers equipment, utensils and cooking terms, including definitions for techniques such as “braising” or “sauté.” The ingredients section is an extensive explanation of fruits, herbs and vegetables that includes preparation and quantity tips. The herbs section is especially helpful for those who do not know the difference between arugula and oregano.
“The objective is for it to be a go-to resource that you can use to solve complicated recipes from family or other books,” Oliver said.
Some of the most valuable information “I’ve Found the Kitchen, Now What?” provides are grocery shopping tips. Even the most novice chef will feel confident in picking out the best available fruit, vegetables and meat.
It also gives advice on staples to keep in your pantry, fridge and freezer that gives the reader plenty of options to make quick, easy homemade meals from scratch.
The recipe section is divided into two parts: basic and easy but impressive, the latter of which is a handy tool to use for parents and significant others. All recipes include preparation and cooking times as well as detailed instructions.
“I’ve Found the Kitchen, Now What?” can be purchased at thenowwhatbooks.com for $24.99.