Cookbook author aims to educate college students

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This time last year, Vancouver resident Chrisetta Mosley was among the students in Clark College's Health 100 class.

This year, her new cookbook is among the required reading for students taking the class.

"To think I was sitting there one year ago is insane," Mosley said.

The college course, Food and Your Health, is what prompted Mosley to write her first cookbook last year, "Farewell Fatso! Bringing Cooking Back." So when the instructors were looking to incorporate recipes into the curriculum, they turned to Mosley.

Mosley got to work writing her "convenient little cookbook" in February. The book, "Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box," is now on the shelves at the Clark bookstore. The book is also available for purchase at Chuck's Produce & Street Market in Vancouver and for borrowing at Fort Vancouver Regional Library.

The cookbook is aimed at college students, many of whom don't know how to shop, much less cook, Mosley said. The goal, she said, is to show college students how to buy fresh foods and cook from scratch, rather than eat a meal from a box.

"My passion is to try and bring cooking back," Mosley said. "I think what's paramount to our health is to eat and cook at home."

The cookbook is 130 pages and is smaller than most cookbooks -- 81/2 inches by 51/2 inches -- so students can take it with them shopping. The book includes 60 recipes, shopping tips and basic cooking tips (such as how to soak and cook beans).

The recipes are simple and use everyday ingredients, Mosley said. Most of the dishes can be whipped up in less than an hour, she said.

"I think the biggest part here is being prepared," Mosley said. "This will take a commitment. It's nothing you can do willy-nilly; but once you're prepared, it's easy."

Mosley, a self-described product of childhood obesity, tipped the scales at 388 pounds before committing herself to a healthier diet and lifestyle. She's lost 170 pounds and has chronicled her battle with obesity on her blog, Farewell Fatso! Her blog is also featured on The Columbian's website.-- Marissa Harshman