11 Inspiring Cookbooks for New College Grads

POPSUGAR FoodSource: 11 Inspiring Cookbooks For New College Grads

While it's a near given that your college grad won't be longing for gloppy, barely serviceable dorm food postgrad, chances are she could use a little (or a lot) of culinary guidance as she moves on to the next step in her life. Help her along the way with the gift of one of our favorite beginner-friendly cookbooks; she may even show her thanks with a home-cooked meal!

  • Keys to the Kitchen: Written as a catch-all culinary guide for kitchen novices, Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference For Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook ($35) by Aida Mollenkamp is a book that anyone can grow along with, as the detailed recipes are easy enough for a novice to execute, while remaining novel and intriguing. This thick tome also comes packed with technique primers, tips on sourcing ingredients (and substitutions), and suggestions for riffs on the recipes within, making for a one-stop shop.
  • America's Test Kitchen: Slow Cooker Revolution: While most titles from America's Test Kitchen can hardly be considered beginner-friendly, Slow Cooker Revolution ($27) - its science-heavy yet immensely practical look at the novice-friendly cooking technique - is an exception. For an extra-thoughtful gift, bundle this book with the appliance at hand ($60) so she'll be set to go.
  • Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals: No mere laundry list of recipes, Pam Anderson's Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals - Recipes and Techniques For Part-Time and Full-Time Vegetarians ($33) will help boost her confidence as she learns to improvise in the kitchen. Covering everything from breakfast to dessert, recipes are broken down as a master recipe with ample suggestions for riffs and experimentation, providing equal parts guidance and inspiration.
  • Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Full of impressive yet accessible recipes like tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons and sticky toffee date cake with bourbon glaze, Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust ($35) will quickly become her go-to guide to easy, elegant entertaining.


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  • Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone: Omnivores and vegetarians alike will fall hard for Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone. Flavor-packed recipes like sesame-ginger noodles with asparagus, ample frittata variations (what better way to use up leftovers?), and much more are bound to entice.
  • Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast: Help her answer the question of what's for dinner without relying on pricey takeout, with Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast: 250 Easy, Delicious Recipes For Any Time of Day ($25). Based around fresh flavors served up in fast and easy dishes tailor-made for harried weeknight cooking, it will become an indispensable source.
  • Joy of Cooking: The essential book on American cuisine, Joy of Cooking ($35) by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker is a time-tested favorite and for good reason. Kitchen newbies will find classic takes on everything from pancakes to roast chicken and are bound to pick up tips and tricks from the no-nonsense ingredient and technique primers and charts within.
  • Martha Stewart's Cooking School: ngeniously laid out - it's arranged by culinary technique rather than course - Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes For the Home Cook ($45) by Martha Stewart could easily serve as the sole cookbook on her bookshelf, though we doubt it'll remain lonely for long.


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  • Essential Pepin: Searching high and low for a gift for your Francophile grad? Try Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites From My Life in Food ($40) by Jacques Pépin, which not only runs the gamut of très Français cuisine, but also comes bundled with an instructional DVD, a boon for the food-TV-reared set.
  • How to Cook Everything: As its name implies, How to Cook Everything ($35) by Mark Bittman is beyond comprehensive and an indispensable resource. We keep a well-worn, sauce-splattered copy on hand for reference and inspiration - much can be said for the near-foolproof, accessible recipes - and suspect your grad will follow suit.
  • The Healthy College Cookbook: She may be moving on to the next step in her life, but that doesn't mean that she's outgrown the ample lessons and culinary guidance housed within the covers of The Healthy College Cookbook ($15) by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley, Emeline Starr, and Rachel Holcomb. It's an especially prudent pick if she'll be living in a studio or similar setup where kitchen equipment and appliances may be in short supply.


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