Will fast food from take-out joints prevail when students head to university or college or will they take a saner route and cook their own meals?
It's no secret that when students are living off campus in rental housing they sometimes choose high-fat and high-sodium food. To their chagrin they often discover their habits result in increased weight by the time the first term ends.
Dinner should not be a box of Pop-Tarts or a commercial macaroni and cheese, say the publishers of "The Student Cookbook: Great Grub for the Hungry and the Broke" (Ryland, Peters & Small).
You don't hapop tartsve to be a professional chef. Nor do you need a lot of fancy gadgets, pricey ingredients or even a lot of time to make the recipes in this book. They are easy and cheap and will fill you up, warm your soul, soothe the body and fuel the mind.
If you've hardly cooked in your life, "The Student Cookbook" offers grounding on how to navigate the kitchen, ingredients to have on hand for a quick meal, essential tools and lessons on food safety.
Every recipe has at least two symbols. Q stands for extra-quick prep; V is for vegetarian; M means it incpop tartsludes some meat or poultry while F indicates that it contains some fish or seafood.
The book also has dozens of useful tips to help the novice put together a meal with substitutions and other suggestions.
A late-night essay won't seem as daunting if you can nosh on a Giant Prosciutto Brie and Tomato Toast or a Gruyere, Sharp Cheddar and Scallion Panini. Both are examples of quick snacks ready in 20 minutes or so.
The following recipe is the fastest, easiest pasta sauce you can make and it's so filling it can be served as a meal in itself with some crusty bread.
And unless you serve it to hungry roommates there will be plenty left over for the next day.
Tuscan Tuna and Bean Pasta
500 g (1 lb) dried pasta, such as penne
1 can (398 ml/14 oz) chopped tomatoes
190 ml (6 1/2 oz) canned tuna, drained
1 can (284 ml/10 oz) beans, such as red kidney, butter beans or navy, drained and rinsed
125 ml (1/2 cup) hot vegetable stock
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped cilantro
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt, then the pasta and cook until al dente or according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, place tomatoes, tuna, beans, stock, cilantro and salt and pepper and heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until piping hot. Spoon sauce over pasta, stir and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Note: If you have a food processor or blender, you can puree the ingredients together first before heating them up in a saucepan.