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The College Man’s Cookbook: A Review

Food

A Bluffton mother and son have co-authored “The College Man’s Cookbook,” a beginner’s guide to cooking on a budget. It was released in July on Amazon and immediately began trending in the online retailer’s "Budget Cookbooks" category. Carrie and George Hirsch Jr. say they’ve created “100 easy recipes to prepare on a budget, in tiny kitchens, with dull knives, microwaves and distractions while earning a degree.”

The book is for college students or others who need help around the kitchen. Butch Hirsch, who is George’s dad and Carrie’s husband, took the photographs. Carrie and Butch Hirsch also are contributors to Hilton Head Monthly.

Monthly asked John Dayton, a senior at University of South Carolina Beaufort, and his sister Michele Dayton, a junior at USCB, to test a few of the recipes and share their observations. The siblings say they rarely eat in campus dining halls, preferring to prepare their own meals despite having busy schedules. They invited their parents and grandmother to sample the recipes too.

“The cookbook is well thought-out and easy to follow and comprehend. I enjoyed all of the recipes,” John said. “They encouraged me to try new things with foods that I am already familiar with. I believe it would be helpful to anyone to bring new flavors to the table. The only thing I might add is additional instructions in the back of the book for cutting certain types of meats — like the wings — and some other techniques that may not be part of every reader's knowledge. Of the recipes we tested, I liked the Whooooa-sabi Wings the most. The flavor of the orange comes through.”

John — who admitted returning for seconds, then thirds of the wings —said that usually, his favorite foods are steak, pizza, fruit smoothies and animal crackers.

Even though the book is geared toward men, Michele said she thought it contained a lot of useful information.

“I once went grocery shopping with a college kid on his first day in the dorm. He was lost. He picked up a giant pack of ramen noodles, a gallon of milk and cereal, so the shopping list included in ‘The College Man’s Cookbook’ is helpful,” she said. “I would make the Turkey Chili again, and my grandmother tasted it and wants to send the recipe to my uncle, who loves chili. The Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella Salad — oh, that was delicious. It was gone in a second. I've never arranged it in layers like that before. It looked beautiful.”

In addition to serving up tasty recipes, the book makes it easy for college students to learn their way around in the kitchen. It offers helpful tips on healthy eating and cooking methods in an easy-to-understand way.

“I loved that the cookbook was color-coded, and I loved the photos — I wish there were more,” Michele said. “I think college men will use the cookbook if they're interested in eating better. I call some guys ‘dorm dwellers’ — they only have spoons and bowls and because they’re eating ramen or cereal and nothing else. It's not a pretty sight. If somebody's trying to lead a healthy college life and be energized enough to listen to that lecture, having the right food and knowing how to cook it correctly is key.”