By Esther Sung, Epicurious.com
It's probably been awhile since you last took a test or wrote a term paper but that's no reason to be left out of the back-to-school fun! Get into the spirit of things with six "textbooks" worth picking up. (The listed prices are from amazon.com.)
See also: Our Complete Back-to-School Guide
1. Jiggle Shots: 75 Recipes to Get the Party Started by Rachel Federman (Abrams Images; $11.01)Walk down Memory Lane as you flip through this little brightly-colored gift book, full of recipes that are decidedly more grown-up and sophisticated than what was being downed back in college. Pair this with The Hungover Cookbook by Milton Crawford.
2. Escoffier: Le Guide Culinaire, 5th Edition by Georges Auguste Escoffier, originally translated by H. L. Cracknell and R. J. Kaufmann (Wiley; $44.10)Auguste Escoffier died in 1935 but his influence continues. New to this edition are forewords by Heston Bluementhal and Dr. Tim Ryan of the Culinary Institute of America, as well as a short biography by grandson Pierre Escoffier. What they all make clear is that Escoffier's tome is a merely a guide, one that should provide the bedrock for culinary innovation. You don't have to be a culinary student to appreciate Escoffier's book. Fans of culinary history, home cooks, and Francophiles alike will all find something of interest.
3. The First Real Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes & Tips for New Cooks by Megan & Jill Carle (Chronicle Books; $15.71)Not every college grad knows his/her way around the kitchen so arm them with this book written by two sisters who understand budgets and out-of-school dining needs. The tech-savvy grad can download the First Real Kitchen Cookbook app (itunes, $0.99) for the helpful videos.
See also: 5 Mistakes Parents Make When Feeding their Kids
4. Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast by Hank Shaw (Rodale; $15.06)We're growing gardens, preserving like crazy, raising backyard chickens, setting up aviaries, and making our own cheeses. There's head-to-tail cooking and butchering is hot, hot, hot. But what about hunting and fishing? I think they're the next big thing when it comes to the DIY set and Shaw's book sets it up perfectly. A proponent of "honest food"--"[n]othing packaged, nothing in a box, nothing wrapped in plastic"--Shaw advocates foraging, fishing, and yes, hunting to get truly close to your food. Thoughtful, insightful, and informative, with plenty of recipes. Get a taste by reading his "Bringing Home the Bacon--With a Rifle" on GourmetLive.
5. For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious Sustainable Cooking by Barton Seaver (Sterling Epicure; $15.30)It can be confusing, trying to navigate the waters of how to eat fish and seafood responsibly. Thankfully chef Seaver's book makes the subject matter much easier to comprehend, gives us choices, and makes it all delicious.
6. Cookiepedia: Mixing, Baking, and Reinventing the Classics by Stacy Adimando (Quirk; $12.50)For a decidedly fun, down-to-earth approach to baking, this one certainly looks the part: a notebook with a kraft paper cover, wire-bound pages, and simple line illustrations. But there's more to this than looks. While Adimando arms you with the basics, there's the intention and hope that you'll be inspired to create your own. Especially useful: measurements on the endpages for easy access, as well as room for notes.
More from Epicurious:
- Packing and Planning Lunch 101
- Kids' Lunch Ideas
Healthy Snack Taste Test
- Homemade Popsicles: Recipes and Tips