If you’re sending a child off to college this fall and don’t want him to waste his textbook money on expensive take-out, slip a copy of “$5 A Meal College Cookbook: Good Cheap Food for When You Need to Eat” (Adams Media, $9.95) into his duffel bag.

Rhonda Lauret Parkinson, a Canadian chef, wrote the book with B.E. Horton, a registered dietitian from Vermont, so you can rest assured the book is not heavy on fat-laden pizza and nacho recipes (although one entry for “pan-fried coleslaw” is certainly odd).

Many of the entries are easy and nutritious, and include ideas for healthy snacks, such as fruit smoothies and trail mixes. There are whole chapters for microwave meals (“Easy Onion Soup Au Gratin for One”) and dishes you can cook on a hot plate (“Basic Mashed Potatoes for One”).

For a date-night splurge, try “Romantic Eggplant Parmiagiana.”

The recipes are for both novice and experienced cooks, and your student’s success with this book will depend upon how well he wants to stock his kitchen. How many students, for example, have ingredients like Worcestershire sauce or white wine vinegar in their pantry, unless they’re part of a hangover cure?

 

– Meredith Goad, Staff Writer