When George Hirsch Jr. went off to college at the University of Georgia, he realized few of his friends knew their way around a kitchen.
They would often invite him to go out to eat, but most of the time, he had already made dinner.
When his buddies realized what a great cook he was, the Hilton Head Preparatory School graduate became popular. Why would they want to eat frozen meals at home or spend a bunch of money on bar food when they could enjoy a real meal cooked by a friend?
“Our apartment was always a good place to hang out,” Hirsch said. “The kitchen tended to be full throughout college.” A few of the guys were interested in learning some cooking tips, but most of them just let Hirsch handle the meals. They would chip in some cash to cover the ingredients, though.
George mentioned this lack of cooking knowledge to his mother, Carrie Hirsch of Hilton Head Island, and the two decided to put together a cookbook for college men.
The mother-son team came up with 100 easy, made-from-scratch recipes that they tested and tweaked over the past few years until they were just right. Almost four years later, “The College Man’s Cookbook” is now available on Amazon.
“She has always been a big influence for me in the kitchen,” the 24-year-old account executive with the New York Islanders hockey team said about his mother. “She’s always been a great chef herself.”
George’s father, Butch Hirsch, took the photos for the book, and “Eat It and Like It” star Jesse Blanco wrote the foreward.
Carrie, who is a food writer, said she has always loved cooking. “With this younger generation, it’s a little bit of a dying art,” Carrie said about cooking. “The girls and the boys really just were hanging out all the time, not eating well and not knowing what to do when they would decide to cook.”
But Carrie made sure her two sons knew at a young age how to plan a meal, shop for ingredients and cook.
She said cooking from scratch is not only healthier but better for the wallet, a great confidence builder and could evolve into a fun hobby for young adults.
George added that cooking is a good way to impress people, and especially to get some dates. He has cooked many meals for his girlfriend and her roommates, and he has even rubbed off on her a bit. George said to keep an eye out for a college women’s cookbook next.
“This book is going to save them a lot of trial and error because this book lays out for you the list of what you have to buy, what are your staples in terms of your equipment in your kitchen, what you put in your pantry, what you put in your fridge, what you put in your freezer,” Carrie said. “It’s going to be $19.95 that a parent has well spent.”
Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.