Kitchenability 101
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nisa Burns is likely to go down as favorite coach of the year for those who are suddenly faced with being away form how - especially College students for whom this book was written. She not only makes preparing meals simple, with instructions form the very beginning about he names of all cooking devices and types of cookery down to how to shop for the ingredients of the recipes she walks us through in this handsome, well illustrated book.

In Nisa's opening pages she states, `This book is about cooking for college students by a college student. What you won't find in these pages is a high-brow, overwhelming approach to food. I'm not here to give you gourmet recipes or to blab on about herbs, spices, and other ingredients you've never heard of. Instead, I offer personal and practical advice so that you can increase you kitchenability, wherever you may be. I want this book to he a fun and helpful tool through your college journey. Then after the true basics of not being intimidated about a kitchen or its function, she divides the rest of her book into chapters on quick and easy breakfasts, `grab and go' essentials (like dorm room wrap, chili burritos, major menus (from salads to main dishes to salad dressings and relishes), to `grazing foods', to snacks and drinks.

The photos match the foods (that helps to know what the product will look like!), and the author offers QR Codes so that the reader can watch a video of the preparation. The foods are basically healthy - eg, turkey bacon instead of regular, etc - but there is a high sugar and high calorie concentration in many of these goodies. Hopefully the college students or readers are aware of avoiding the obesity trend and temper the choices... Grady Harp, September 12

I received a free copy of this item for review.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I agreed to review this cookbook because I liked the premise: "This beautifully packaged book presents more than 65 healthy, easy-to-whip-up dishes for budget-minded high school and college students." After pawing through its pages, I've concluded that it's an okay book for cooking beginners... but perhaps not the best one.

Let me start with the good stuff: Nisa Burns assembled quite a few recipes that are do-able in a limited kitchen, including several meals you could handle with a tiny dorm room fridge and hot plate or microwave. Among these are a strawberry spring salad, a Greek salad, and a "dorm room wrap," made from a tortilla, mayo, deli meat, and a spring salad mix. Most do require at least a small kitchen (I wouldn't try "Caribbean Dream Fish Tacos" elsewhere) and a few take advantage of common new-cook items, such as chicken mole made in a crock pot. The cookbook labels recipes with "D" for dorm room and "A" for "apartment, quad, or shared house" (though I think it might have made more sense to separate the book in two parts).

The other kind-of-cool feature in this book is that many recipes are accompanied with a QR Code, the square blob you see in marketing material nowadays. You can scan the code with your cell phone, and it loads a YouTube video of Nisa Burns making the dish. For me, this was fun rather than enlightening; it isn't like I need to see the author make that mole to have a sense of what goes into it. But I can imagine that quite a few people, especially the new young cooks for whom this is written, may appreciate it.

But as a cookbook... Shrug. As I see it (and as I remember it, oh so painfully), college students and others who are newly on their own suffer from several restrictions: Lack of time (you're supposed to be studying), lack of money, and lack of skill-and-resources. They also tend to be less than knowledgeable about nutrition, though they aren't necessarily aware of that weakness. A cookbook geared to these folks has to be clear about how it solves each frustration... especially since what is a problem for one cook ("I've never cooked before!") isn't the case for another ("I like to cook, but my folks paid the bills before").

This is where I think Kitchenability 101 falls short. It isn't awful, not by a long shot; it just isn't a solid answer to any of these challenges.

For example, a lot of the recipes given are instructions that I find a bit TOO basic. Does someone need to be told how to make PB&J sandwich, or to mix yogurt, granola, and fruit for breakfast? If you're writing for THAT reader, then half the book is wasted, because that reader won't make lemon-cilantro chicken. Also, the ratio of munchies-to-meals is out of whack, a least from a parental "make them eat right!" way; while I think the college student may be most drawn to the sweet stuff like oatmeal-cranberry cookies or pumpkin muffins, I'd feel better about this book if it had more "What to have for dinner tonight" recipes.

While Kitchenability has a nod to being budget minded (hamburgers yes, steak no), I wish it gave the reader some sense of what it costs to make _this_ meal. A high-medium-low would be useful. When I was young and broke (and OH DEAR was I broke...) I became exceedingly aware of how much food cost. I learned to cook from scratch not only because it tasted better but because it was cheap. I have one favorite recipe, still, from the Odiyan Country Cookbook (oh yes! It's back in print!) for lime-tomato dahl that cost all of $5 to make (once I had the bottle of fenugreek). (As a result, although my earnings have grown a lot over the years, I have NEVER felt so rich as the day when I realized I could buy shrimp when it wasn't on sale, without peeking at my checkbook to see if I could afford it this week. I bet most adults have a similar "I made it!" moment.) It might be valuable to tell the reader how to live a frugal lifestyle, such as spending Sunday making several things from scratch that become ingredients during the week, or which can be grab-and-go lunches (tabouli anyone?).

And since this book does claim to help college students make "easy, healthy, and delicious food," I REALLY wish that the author would have taken the time to include nutritional information with each recipe. Make them aware, at least, that they are eating a lot of sugar. Teach them to pay attention to protein, fat, and calories, even if they are in such a rush for Twisted Sugar Sticks that they start with frozen puff pastry and sprinkle sugar-and-cinnamon on it. Educate them, for gosh sakes.

When I read this through it sounds far more negative than I intend. Please don't come to the conclusion that this cookbook stinks. I like it, I think it's okay. But if I were sending my goddaughter off to college with a cookbook, this wouldn't be my first choice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Heading off to college is often the first time a person is in total charge of planning, cooking and otherwise preparing meals on their own. And it is often the first time they are charged with preparing snacks or meals to entertain guest. While most young folks have helped around the kitchen, it is totally different when you have to outfit the kitchen, buy all the ingredients and prepared the food with no help from an experienced parent.

Kitchenability 101 to the rescue. This is a really neat book aimed primarily at the college student market. The book starts like many good cookbooks giving you the basics of the different appliances and utensils you want/need to prepare basic meals. This book goes one step further, advising what you would need (or what is generally allowed) in a dorm room and the additional things you would want to have in an apartment/shared house. There is also a section on the various staples any good kitchen should have. Lastly, there is an good discussion of the various preparation and cooking terms and techniques.

There are QR codes scattered throughout the book. These codes link to demonstration videos covering cooking and shopping tips and techniques by the author. This is a valuable addition - a huge bonus for the first time chef.

After that are the recipes - these are generally easy to prepare, typical foods a college student might want to prepare. The recipes are coded to identify those which would most likely be prepared in a dorm room and those which would need a larger kitchen such as an apartment or a shared house.

Most of the recipes show dazzling photographs of the prepared item. The book is prepared on high gloss paper and really makes a great presentation. I would consider this an excellent gift for a student going away to college.

While the target audience is the college student, I can think of plenty of young adults just setting out of their own who would really appreciate this as a starter cookbook.

There is a recipe for every occasion - from snacks to salads to main courses to desserts. Some are more elaborate than others. And some are deceptively simple but could be a real treat for a college student needing a good meal on a short budget and tight time schedule. One example is a tomato soup - very simple, take one can stewed Italian tomatoes and one cup 2% milk. Mix together and microwave for 2 minutes - and viola you have a thick, rich, hot and tasty meal.

If you should give one to a college student, warn them not to leave it out. It has such beautiful presentations, so many interesting recipes and such helpful information for the novice cook that it might be too tempting for someone to "borrow" it.

I was provided a review copy of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
While this cookbook is promoted for college students, it is really a lot more, and it actually requires that you have an actual kitchen in order for you to be able to cook all of these wonderful recipes. It has a complete list of everything you need in the front, which can be accessed by the look inside the book feature at the front.

I suggest this as a fantastic book for people living on their own for the first time who are attempting to fix meals. Everything is explained, nothing is assumed. But best of all, the recipes themselves are well written and delicious, including many favorites from my younger years. Recently, after studying the recipes, I had to be gone for dinner, and my daughter was fixing one of our favorites, hotdogs, wrapped in crescent rolls with cheese. Instead of leaving her directions, I was delighted to be able to mention the directions were in the book.

One of my favorites I learned from this cookbook is a combination of bananas, Nutella, bread, eggs, and chocolate milk (and a few spices) which makes an amazing French toast! It is a meal your friends will love, and it is easy to make.

The reason I have deducted a star is one element that is missing from the recipes that impacts the "kitchenability" of the recipes themselves. Number of servings is not mentioned. And since some recipes state they are "for a crowd," and others are quite obviously set up door one or two people, I found I had to read each recipe carefully to try to decide how many it would serve. I hope that the author/editor changes this on future editions. And, including nutritional facts along with servings and serving sizes would make this a 10 star book.

I am grateful to Cadence for providing a review copy of this book to me, and I have added it to my "favorite cookbook" shelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The premise for this cook book is great- "This book is about cooking for college students by a college student." Moving out of your parents house and suddenly having to provide your own meals three times a day might be a bit of a shock. Nisa Burns has written this cook book with the college student in mind; the recipes are easy, healthy and delicious.

Nisa Burns begins with basics you will need for preparing simple foods in your dorm or small apartment.

A few of the recipes are a little "duh" like the double-decker PBJ: three pieces of bread instead of two and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or the peanut butter/ fluffernutter sandwich- yep, two slices of bread spread with peanut butter and fluffernutter/marshmallow spread and you've got yourself a... sandwich!

Most of her recipes, though are great; great because with just a few simple ingredients you can have a really clever and delicious meal. For example, Greek Salad with Lemon:
1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 large cucumber, 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 Cup crumbled feta- all combined for a delicious salad.

Or another tasty one: Rosemary Potatoes- red potatoes cut in wedges and sprinkled with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper roasted in toaster oven for 15- 20 minutes.

The chunky chicken chili is made mostly from canned foods so that most ingredients can be bought ahead without needing refrigeration and then made quickly at the last minute.

I love the quick and easy entertaining recipes- sweet and tangy cream cheese dip to serve with fruit, hummus dip for pita bread wedges, super fresh guacamole dip. And I will be making the Sweet Chili Cranberry Meatballs for a party soon.

This book is versatile enough to be great for the college student, but it would also work really well for a hectic household when you need a wholesome meal fast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is perfect for college students who know little about cooking and for those who already know a lot but want to improve their skills. It contains about seventy recipes: simple ones such as "Cranberry Ginger Ale" that is made from ½ cup of ginger ale and ½ cup of cranberry juice and "Cheese Toast" made from just bread and cheese, to more complicated ones such as "Chicken Soup for the Tummy" that has ten ingredients and "Chunky Chicken Chili" that has thirteen. Many of the dishes require just a few ingredients. Each recipe has a brief section of usually one or two short paragraphs about the dish, followed by "What you need" and "What to do." Each is accompanied with a color picture of the food.

There are seven chapters. The first is an orientation that addresses basic but important matters as what appliances are necessary, staples, knife skills, budgeting, how to shop, and roommate cooking.

Chapter 2 has ten "wake up" menus such as oatmeal, French toast, and salmon omelet.

Chapter 3 teaches a dozen "grab and go menus," including chili burritos and pig in a snuggie.

Chapter 4 contains 16 "major menus," as lemon cilantro chicken.

Chapter 5 has half a dozen "amazing grazing" dishes: cheese toast, juice pops, and others.

Chapter 6 lists 14 cram sessions menus such as frozen lemon yogurt.

Chapter 7 describes a dozen party menus like super fresh guacamole and pumpkin muffins, with the last menu being chelsea handler made from vermouth, vodka, pomegranate juice, and a lime slice.

As the author states in her "wrap up," the book teaches college students and others how to use new ingredients, make healthy and delicious foods, and gives users confidence in their cooking ability. And it does so with fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I really like this book; the only thing that keeps me from giving it 5 stars is the lack of a spiral binding so it could lay flat.

Chapters at the beginning describe cooking terms, how to budget grocery shopping, and utensils needed. There are beautiful full-page color photos of almost every recipe. Recipes are suitability coded -- "D" for dorm room or "A" for apartment. Recipes use basic easy-to-find ingredients and are budget-friendly. Lots of comfort food recipes that are still healthy (healthy as in whole grain, lower fat, etc., but only a few that are low carb). Some of the recipes have a QR code so you can link through your smartphone or other mobile device to watch cooking demos.

Like I stated above, most of the recipes are healthy to a degree and certainly better than what you'd find in a cafeteria or fast food place. However, the best breakfast recipe I've tried so far is the Nutella French Toast - I can't pass up anything that uses Nutella! This was so decadent and better than IHOP!

Here are a few of the recipes:
Salsa Grilled Cheese
Avocado Lettuce Wraps
Jalapeno Sliders (yum - really good!)
Caesar Pizza (really good also!)
Fancy Mac and Cheese
Mint & Cucumber Sandwiches
Super Fresh Guacamole
Sweet Chili Cranberry Meatballs

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It's so easy for college students to be seduced by pizza and burgers when making meal choices. But are they only choosing these fast food options because they don't have anything better on-hand? In Kitchenability 101, Nisa Burns shows college students that there is a better way to eat, and it's much easier than they think.

Kitchenability, as defined by Burns, is the ability to make one's way around the kitchen. In this book, she provides recipes that can be crafted in dorm rooms or small apartment kitchens. Access to a few tools - stove, blender, good knife, etc. - is required, and some recipes are simpler than others.

Why choose a cheeseburger, when you can have a mint and cucumber sandwich? [bread, cream cheese, cucumber slices, and mint leaves] Maybe a chili burrito is more your style? [tortilla, canned chili, salsa, shredded cheese, and sour cream] Or try your hand at one of the recipes that call for some simple cooking, and treat your friends to a nice meal after mid-terms.

Although some of these recipes are a little more complicated than I expected, they look yummy, and are much healthier than anything you might find on campus. If you're looking to get creative with food and enjoy some home-cooked meals, Kitchenability 101 would be a great "textbook" to keep in your dorm room.

Reviewer: Alice Berger
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2013
I bought this book for my son, a freshman in College thinking it would offer some fun things to make in the dorm. Definitely too complicated for a beginner. Skill level and supplies are more appropriate for a 20-something or newly wed who has a moderately provisioned kitchen and some appliances.
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All recipes in this book have a few things in common:simple ingredients, simple to put together, and easy to make. This book grew out of a culinary school student Facebook page called "Nisa's Cooking" where Nisa Burns began publishing recipes, incorporating people's comments and suggestions. Her original readership were mostly college students, but the book really is targeted at anyone who wants to eat tasty food without spending much time on preparation.

The book starts with an introduction of basic ingredient and techniques targeted at someone who never cooked. This the part that makes the book accessible to anyone, even college students that never cooked before.

The book contains 7 sections (1 introduction and 6 recipe sections), and a total of 69 recipes. I am including a complete table of content at the end of this review.

Each recipe is fairly short. Each one fits on half of a page, each starts with a couple of sentence of description, a list of ingredients followed instructions. Each recipe comes with a photo, which really helps to imagine the dish before you cook it. I have tried several recipes out of the books and enjoyed them. One of the recipes I tried (and liked!) is Fancy Mac and Cheese. It was very simple to make, delicious, and a bit different from you plain Mac and Cheese. I am including a photo of that page which shows the layout of the recipe and the photo. The recipes in this book are not going to dazzle your friends, but they are tasty and simple. Whether you are in a dorm or just in a rush, this is a good reference for a quick tasty meal.

I received evaluation copy of Kitchenability 101 to write an honest and unbiased review and you will find both pluses and minuses of my experience in this review.

If you are looking for simple delicious recipes this book is a good choice.

Ali Julie review

Table of content:

Hello, Kitchen
Kitchen Confidential
Dorm Room Basics
Cookware and Utensils
Knife Skills
Basic Cooking Techniques
How to Shop
Stretch It
Roommate Cooking QR Codes

Wake-Up Call Menus
Miss You, Mom, Oatmeal
Crunchy, Fruity Yogurt
Creamy, Gooey, Drippy Bagel
Scrambled Eggs and Turkey Bacon
Rosemary Potatoes
Banana Cinnamon Waffles
Nutella French Toast
Strawberry Crepes
Fruity Pancakes
Sunday Salmon Omelet

Grab and Go Grab and Go Menus
Double-Decker PB and J
Thick, Rich Tomato Soup
Dorm Room Wrap
Avocado Lettuce Wraps
Salsa Grilled Cheese
Mediterranean Pasta
Egg Head Noodles
Ridiculously Easy Tomato Sauce
Chili Burritos
Strawberry Spring Salad
Roma Tomatoes with Feta and Basil
Pig in a Snuggie

Choose Your Major Choose Your Major Menus
Lemon Cilantro Chicken
Gnocchi with Pesto
Caribbean Dream Fish Tacos
Mango Lime Salsa
Tropical Pineapple Chicken
Chicken Mole
Feta-Spiked Turkey Burgers
Jalapefio Sliders
Caesar Pizza
Pasta Carbonara
Fancy Mac and Cheese
Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar
Greek Salad with Lemon
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad
Herb Garden Vinaigrette
Cranberry Relish

Amazing Grazing Amazing Grazing Menus
Sweet and Tangy Cream Cheese Dip
Nutty Mix
Ants on a Snow Hill
Creamy Hummus Dip
Cheese Toast
Juice Pops

Cram Sessions and Study Groups Menus
Mint Iced Tea
Mint and Cucumber Sandwiches
Twisted Sugar Sticks
Sweet Peanut-Butter Fluff
Chunky Chicken Chili
Easy Margherita Pizza
Chicken Soup for the Tummy
Oatmeal-Cranberry Cookies
Nutella Peanut-Butter Brownies
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
Frozen Lemon Yogurt
Iced Coffee
Lime Cola
Italian Orange Soda

Party! Menus
Super Fresh Guacamole
Chicken Tenders
Golden Salmon Puffs
Pumpkin Muffins Sweet
Chili Cranberry Meatballs
Nana's Peanut Butter Pie
Chocolate-Drenched Marshmallow Brownies
Dark-Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate-Mousse Filling
Bananas Foster with Ice Cream
Cranberry Ginger Ale
Jungle Juice
The Chelsea Handler
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