My daughter was just ranting about the fact that no one seems to make a cookbook for beginners that is a) healthful; b) easy; and c) doesn't require expensive ingredients or a lot of supplies and tools.
Most "beginner's" books are of the "dump and stir" variety (nasty processed ingredients), or boring (mac and cheese and meatloaf, etc., etc. )...or they are intimidating (like Bittman's How To Cook, which I gave her for her birthday but she says is too frightening.... )
To quote my daughter: "I want a cookbook that will tell you how to make easy, delicious, exciting food when all you have in the house are some potatoes and cans of tuna, and a few spices. I can't keep running to Whole Foods when I have exams, and I can't afford to buy a lot of food and store it in the apartment. It just goes bad."
I thought of Deborah Madison's superb (and under-appreciated) The Savory Way, but beyond that, I'm drawing a blank.
Any other suggestions? She barely knows how to do anything besides omelets, despite (or because of?) growing up surrounded by passionate cooks.