Contented Reader

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An Everlasting Meal

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An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

Tamar Adler


I don’t tend to use recipes when I cook.  Not very often.  Occasionally I’ll see something on a web site or in a magazine and use the recipe to try it, but I nearly always take things out or put things in or adjust it to what I feel like doing.

On an ordinary day, though, I have a few simple foods I know how to make, and I make them with whatever ingredients I feel like that day.  Tacos.  Stir-fry.  Pasta with sausage and vegetables in it.  Grilled meat, steamed vegetable.

Tamar Adler’s book appeals to me because she takes a similar approach to cooking.  The book is descriptive and lyrical and poetic; the food she describes is simple food made with care, attention, and flexibility.  There are a few recipes, but more of the food she writes about is in the form of a sort of story, like the story of what you do when you turn on a pot of water to boil and start looking around for in-season vegetables.

Adler thinks that food should be made of other food, leftovers from one meal becoming part of the next.  Buy a whole chicken, she says, not just breasts, and make soup, and salads, and use all the parts.  Cook the greens from your beets and carrots.  Save the cooking water and use it to flavor something else.

I’m not entirely sure I could cook what she’s cooking from her instructions, in the cases of things that I don’t already know how to make and don’t have a more formal recipe.  But they’re lovely to read, anyway, and take an approach to food, a set of general principles, that I like.


Written by Contented Reader

November 6, 2012 at 6:16 am

Posted in Reviews


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