A mother passes the apron strings on to her son...
"Go forth and cook, but don't forget to wash your hands."
Going back to school? If so, you may be faced with the fact that your kitchen is missing one essential ingedient: "Mom." Did you think she was a built-in appliance, like the dishwasher or the sink? Hah! Cruel reality sets in...
But wait: there is a solution! Somebody has been there before and they wrote a book to help you out. Yes, we know that books are for homework, but this one is fun. Written by 20-something Kevin Mills and his mother, Nancy Mills, it's called Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen and is loaded with practical advice. Kevin, a self-proclaimed gastronomically disadvantaged amateur, and his mother, a down-to-earth home economist, offer a dazzling variety of over 100 recipes designed to create self-confident cooks out of people who, in Kevin's words, have "always known of the existence of the kitchen...the room with the fridge in it."
Then Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen Cookbook is for you.
Kevin Mills lives what he preaches. His biggest kitchen disaster: leaving the plastic bag in the chicken when he roasted it.
He used to think of cookbooks as often as he did picking up his dirty clothes. "But then I ran out of money and couldn't afford to eat out all the time, so I was forced out of the kitchen."
Why bother cooking?
"Because most restaurants are closed by midnight and you get tired of eating cereal for every meal, no matter how much sugar you put on it."
And there are other benefits, as Kevin explains...
"My girlfriend really likes the fact that I cook for her. She's a vegetarian, which raises some problems. I used to think that any food without meat was either an appetizer or dessert. But we've found lots of recipes we both like."
Each of the recipes has a rating: Very Easy, Easy (preparation time 10 to 30 minutes and Not So Easy (requires effort but worth it). An introductory chapter gives answers to fundamental questions such as, "What if I have a disaster?"
Kevin's solution: "Option number 1 is to sulk and go to bed hungry. Option number 2 is to be creative."
The creative options in Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen Cookbook, range from Spicy Bean Dip to Chocolate Chip Wedges, appealing to Kevin's fellow Generation Xers. Those who are wary of spending more time than it takes to open a can are encouraged to try dishes like Hearty Lentil Soup, presented with Kevin's disarming candor: "You may ask, 'What are lentils?' That was my first question, too."
Nancy Mills, the Mom, explains what prompted her to write such a cookbook. "One night Kevin called and asked what easy dishes he could cook." (Sound familiar?) "I was stunned at his sudden interest in preparing his own food, but I recovered enough to tell him how to roast a chicken." Unfortunately, she forgot the part about removing the bag.
The Mills understand that their readers are ready to entertain guests with more than a pizza delivery—and they know this is a paralyzing concept for a first-time chef. "If I'm cooking for company," Kevin confides, "I tend to make an appetizer. Some may think I do this to impress guests. But it's actually to protect myself in case I burn the main course."
About the Authors:
Kevin Mills is a budding sit-com writer.
Nancy Mills is a film journalist and veteran newspaper and magazine writer. She has published three books: Home Economists in Action (Scholastic), Beverly Hills 90210-Exposed (HarperCollins) and Melrose Place-Off the Record (HarperCollins).
They live in Los Angeles.
Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen Cookbook
by Kevin Mills and Nancy Mills
April 15, 1996
Reprinted with permission.
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