Like a lot of people, I imagine, I learnt to cook at University. I could definitely fend for myself before I left home, but it wasn't until I had to make all my own meals that I started getting more interested in food and cooking. And, in fact, it wasn't until I lived with my wonderful friend Emma in my third year, who is a fantastic cook and taught me a lot, that I started to experiment more and get a bit more adventurous in the kitchen. Some of my fondest University memories are of making meals together in that house, and it really sparked a love of cooking that I have carried with me ever since. (Remind me to tell you my actual fondest University memory some time; it involves teaching a celebrated feminist classicist to use a Dyson hand dryer...).
Although not everyone is lucky enough to have an Emma to guide them through, University really is the perfect time to start getting comfortable in the kitchen - which is where Rachel's book comes in ever so handy. Student Eats is a collection of simple and delicious meals for students (unsurprisingly) and anyone who's starting to find their way in the kitchen but needs a bit of inspiration and a helping hand. With Fresher's Week coming up, it would make a great gift for the student in your life, or a handy addition to your cookbook shelf if you find yourself stuck for quick and easy meals in the week.
In fact, it's also a pretty useful book to have on hand when you're a new mother and need some fast meals that you can whip up in the space of nap time. There's actually a lot in common between new students and new mothers now I think about it... erratic sleeping patterns, not really having a clue what you're doing, and reliance on takeaways to name but a few. So although I consider myself a rather competent cook, I've been reaching for this book to get some ideas for easy lunches - like this Green Eggs & Ham. It's a delicious combination of parma ham, rocket, eggs and pesto, all piled on top of a toasted English muffin. Perfect for a brunch or lunch (or really any time if you've lost track of time due to sleep deprivation...). Not only is it pretty delicious, it's also a filling meal that you can make without creating a whole lot of washing up - another thing that's good for new parents and students alike. Student Eats is full of little gems like this one, and I know I'm going to be reaching for it for some inspiration a lot in the coming months!