An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler
The subtitle of this remarkable book is “Cooking with Economy and Grace,” which is what attracted me to the book. This is not a cookbook, but a book about making the most of whatever food you happen to have on hand. I think of myself as a frugal person, but Adler takes frugality to a different level.
For example, I think it is frugal to take a smallish piece of meat (perhaps a boneless, skinless chicken breast) and prepare it with some delicious vegetables and have a very nice meal. Adler finds it challenging to approach the meal in a different way—she thinks of gelatinous bones and marrow and broth, and adding the peels and leaves and “ends” of vegetables, ending up with several delicious meals instead of one very nice one.
The author suggests using instinct when cooking. Trusting your instinct. Practicing until you have it just right. She says, “Those are the fundamentals: cook your meat until it’s done, not a minute longer. If your broth tastes too thin, let it go on cooking; if it’s too salty, water it down.” (p. 12).
Adler recommends tasting your boiling, salted water, whether you are preparing vegetables or pasta. I have been cooking for many, many years, but I have never, ever tasted my boiling water. After reading this book, I will probably taste boiling, salted water.
There are recipes scattered throughout the book, but the main idea is for the cook to be philosophical and inventive when cooking and making the most of what you have on hand in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.
I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable book!
To read the first chapter of An Everlasting Meal, visit the publisher’s web site.