I've been enjoying a wonderful cooking book called An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler.
From the dust jacket description:
"Reviving the inspiring message of M. F. K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf— written in 1942 during wartime shortages—An Everlasting Meal shows that cooking is the path to better eating.
Through the insightful essays in An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler issues a rallying cry to home cooks.
In chapters about boiling water, cooking eggs and beans, and summoning respectable meals from empty cupboards, Tamar weaves philosophy and instruction into approachable lessons on instinctive cooking. Tamar shows how to make the most of everything you buy, demonstrating what the world’s great chefs know: that great meals rely on the bones and peels and ends of meals before them.
She explains how to smarten up simple food and gives advice for fixing dishes gone awry. She recommends turning to neglected onions, celery, and potatoes for inexpensive meals that taste full of fresh vegetables, and cooking meat and fish resourcefully.
By wresting cooking from doctrine and doldrums, Tamar encourages readers to begin from wherever they are, with whatever they have. An Everlasting Meal is elegant testimony to the value of cooking and an empowering, indispensable tool for eaters today."
(That'd be my smudgy, olive oil covered fingerprint on the cover. :)
What I love most about this book is, that while it is most definitely a cookbook full of recipes, it is written as a series of comfortable, narrative essays. Hearing Adler's voice through her writing is similar to being taught to cook by one's mother or grandmother in a gentle, conversational, no-nonsense way.
In the author's words, "This book contains what I know of boiling and cooking eggs. It contains my strategies for cooking vegetables and meat, which rely on the fortuitous truth that both are best bought whole and cooked ahead, and the ways I have of making each earn its keep. It doesn't contain "perfect" or "professional" ways to do anything, because we don't need to be professionals to cook well, any more than we need to be doctors to treat bruises and scrapes: we don't need to shop like chefs or cook like chefs; we need to shop and cook like people learning to cook, like what we are--people who are hungry."
An Everlasting Meal reminds us that much can be done with little, that many meals can be squeaked out of the stems, roots and leaves of vegetables. For more flavor, we can add some meat and a little bit of bread. While the book teaches frugality and economy in using what is available, it does not scrimp on taste. The recipes are simple yet delicious and earthy. I made a most simple pot of boiled broccoli last night as a sidedish and it tasted so much more delicious than usual, following Tamar's suggestions.
Because I've enjoyed this book ever so much, I'd like to give away a copy. :)
Leave a message in the comment section to be included in the drawing. Also, if you'd like, tell us about your favorite comfort food from your childhood (or adulthood for that matter).
I will pull a name from the comments on Friday evening. Thanks for visiting!