Vikki's Reviews > An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler
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's review
Aug 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads

my only regret about this book is that i didn't read it 15 years ago when i started cooking for myself...although i suppose i shouldn't beat myself up since it was only published last year. of the many things this book taught me about cooking (all while making me laugh and sigh and pause to re-read the beauty of so many of its sentences), perhaps the most important was that you don't need a recipe to cook a wonderful dish. my mother-in-law was the first person to introduce me to the idea that you could improvise in the kitchen--if you didn't have one thing, you could substitute another, or add fresh ingredients to perk up canned, or combine things you might not have thought to put together. i think it must be because i started off as a baker--or maybe just because i'm the sort of person who likes rules, and order, and predictability--but i have always approached the act of cooking as though the recipe, rather than the food, dictated the direction of the meal. tamar adler's book takes quite the opposite approach: it begins with the food you have on hand and illuminates all the ways you can prepare it, and all the different meals you can get from it. waste not, want not, she reminds us, and while i have long been in the habit of saving my chicken carcasses for stock, it would not have occurred to me that i could eat pickled peppers for nearly an eternity if i just continue topping off the jar. adler's prose is lyrical and lovely and frequently funny, and the book is as much a pleasure to read for the words as for the information it imparts.

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