We've heard of college cafeterias offering seafood platters, spectacular salad bars and even freshly baked bread, but most college meal plans are more an endurance test than an adventure in gastronomy. A steady diet of overcooked vegetables and "mystery meat" (is it chicken or pork?) does not make for fond collegiate memories.
Not everyone suffers in silence, however. Those who can afford the luxury, eat out. Others survive on snack food. And some, like Georgetown University's Karen Kozachok, learn to improvise meals in dorm rooms.
As an enterprising sophomore in pursuit of some extra cash, Kozachok spent four hours a day, three days a week, producing a line of homemade cookies to sell in the campus grocery store. A year later, she quit baking Heart Attack Snacks and Monster Cookies to start her own campus catering operation, serving faculty and student affairs. "I was an alternative to those who were tired of the cafeteria," recalls Kozachok, and less expensive than a professional caterer. But no one forgot her popular cookies, for which requests came often. And when guests at her receptions began asking for recipes, Kozachok began toying with yet another venture -- cookbook writing.
"With so many kitchens on campus, I thought people might start cooking on their own," says Kozachok, now a senior. Indeed, her cookbook, "Chow for Now" (Georgetown University Press, $5.95) is based on economy, simplicity and the fact that few students come to school equipped with fish poachers and ramekins. Common sense shopping and cooking tips are offered in the first chapter, and parents will be pleased to know that the recipes for snacks and desserts are followed by a section on health foods.
"Chow for Now" is available at the Georgetown University bookstore and Saxa Sundries, an on-campus shop. To obtain a copy, send $6.95 (which includes $1 for postage and handling) to Georgetown University Press, Georgetown University, ICC, Room 111, Washington, D.C. 20057. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. Fifty cents from each cookbook will be donated to a local charity, Zacchaeus Community Kitchen.
To prepare Kozachok's version of fettucini alfredo, academics need only butter and salt in the dorm room prior to a trip through the express lane.
Express lane list: fettucini, cream, romano cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic clove or powder, prosciutto or other smoky ham (optional), broccoli (optional) FETTUCINI ALFREDO
(4 generous servings)
1 pound fettucini
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups grated romano cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound prosciutto or other smoky ham (optional)
1/2 pound broccoli, washed, cut into florets and lightly steamed (optional)
Cook fettucini according to package directions. Drain and keep warm in a low oven.
In a large pan, melt butter over low heat, add minced garlic (if using) and cook until translucent. Remove from heat and add cream, cheeses, salt and garlic powder (if using in place of fresh garlic). Mix well to combine and pour over noodles. Serve immediately, topped with ham and broccoli, if desired.