August is the time when younger children trot back from summer camp, brown as berries and full of healthy food, while their older siblings, laden with books and Indian-print bedspreads, head off for the college campuses -- there to grow wise and pudgy on diets composed of Immanuel Kant, mashed potatoes and strawberry yogurt.
In the interest of health, the wise parent might tuck into their luggage a copy of a book originally published in 1973 and reissued in 1979. The Campus Survival Cookbook was written by Jacqueline Wood and Joelyn Scott Gilchrist, mothers who may occasionally totter over the line into cuteness but who wisely do not overestimate the knowledge of the average teen-ager facing a kitchen. (Published by Morrow Quill Paperbacks, the book is $4.95 and is being stocked by the Kitchen Bazaar, 4455 Connecticut Ave. NW, and Seven Corners Shopping Center.)
In addition to providing a list of kitchen equipment and staples necessary to the preparation of meals, they offer such basic advice as what to do on the top of the stove (simmer, saute, fry or boil) and what to do in the oven (bake, broil and roast).
They explain how to chop an onion, to scramble and fry an egg, and how to keep your girlfriend from getting pregnant -- the latter actually a section dealing with foods to start off the day.
"We wrote that headline in an attempt to make sure you would read these pages about breakfast," the authors explain in brisk, motherly fashion.
There is a whole month's worth of menus and recipes to guide the novice cook, and though the writers push good nutrition and the thrifty use of foods, they also accept the reality of their audience.Thus, while there are instructions for making Survival Soup and bread, and recipes for cooking buckwheat groats and making granola, there's also Goddard Glop, a form of trifle whose ingredients include vanilla pudding, strawberry jam and a whole jar of maraschino cherries.
There is another section which makes the book suitable not only for college students, but for anyone starting out with little knowledge of cooking, little money and the desire to entertain. In addition to menus and instruction for six relatively inexpensive party meals, the back of the book features a survival section which is a good source of low-cost meals that can be expanded to feed large groups.
There is even a recipe for a failed cake, "a fine cake you carelessly dump into a bowl and serve with a spoon -- the cake does seem too airy (or something) to come out of the pans properly and the frosting is too rich (or something) to spread."
An encouraging recipe for a beginner who will know, when the cake fails, that it was supposed to.