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An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

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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 f 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.

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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 f 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.

30 review for An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Adler's chapter titles (which are lovely) acknowledge her debt to MFK Fisher, and Fisher's style is clearly what Adler is shooting for. Unfortunately, she lacks Fisher's genius of finding the unexpectedly perfect word, and too often she misses and lands on twee, pretentious or just meaningless. There's nothing particularly solemn about cauliflower stalks; capers do not taste anything like pebbles; and I have never been bewildered by a breakfast of cold pasta, no matter how delicious. I'm being un Adler's chapter titles (which are lovely) acknowledge her debt to MFK Fisher, and Fisher's style is clearly what Adler is shooting for. Unfortunately, she lacks Fisher's genius of finding the unexpectedly perfect word, and too often she misses and lands on twee, pretentious or just meaningless. There's nothing particularly solemn about cauliflower stalks; capers do not taste anything like pebbles; and I have never been bewildered by a breakfast of cold pasta, no matter how delicious. I'm being unfair to the book, because there's a lot of good stuff in here - I have a new resolve to find things to do with my scraps and leftovers, and her method of pitting olives is worth the price of admission by itself. (Put them on a board and squish down with the bottom of a mug or jar or something, then wiggle it around a bit. Pick out the loosened stones and you're done. BRILLIANCE.) There's a valuable cooking philosophy in here screaming to be let out. A more transparent style would have given it a chance to shine.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Irena Smith

    This book changed my life. I'm not even kidding. I now make my own beans, and her dead simple (and incredible) parsley oil, and roast farmers market vegetables as soon as I get home, which fills the house with amazing aromas and the fridge with food for the week. Tamar Adler writes about parsley, and boiling water, and roasting vegetables with a grace and lyricism that elevates the act of cooking and eating to poetry. There are lines like this, for example, when she exhorts the reader to toast a This book changed my life. I'm not even kidding. I now make my own beans, and her dead simple (and incredible) parsley oil, and roast farmers market vegetables as soon as I get home, which fills the house with amazing aromas and the fridge with food for the week. Tamar Adler writes about parsley, and boiling water, and roasting vegetables with a grace and lyricism that elevates the act of cooking and eating to poetry. There are lines like this, for example, when she exhorts the reader to toast a piece of stale bread and rub it with a garlic clove and then to place it in a bowl. Over the bread, "spoon the beans and egg... salt each egg, grind it with fresh black pepper, drizzle the beans and egg copiously with olive oil, grate them thickly with Parmesan, and dine like a Roman plebian, or a Tuscan pauper, prince, or pope." Simple, right? But also food as meditation, food as discovery, food as the transformation of unwanted odds and ends into something new and deeply desirable. Food, really, as philosophy -- Adler writes: "We do know that people have always found ways to eat and live well, whether on boiling water or bread or beans, and that some of our best eating hasn't been our most foreign or expensive or elaborate, but quite plain and quite familiar. And knowing that is probably the best way to cook, and certainly the best way to live." Amen to that.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Interesting ideas about how to think about cooking, rather than recipes per se. The book is ridiculously and distractingly overwritten, though. Many of the sentences read like a bizarre parodies of contemporary food writing. The overly descriptive writing just doesn't jive with Adler's call for simple-yet-smart cooking. Helen Nearing's Simple Food for the Good Life or Tom Colicchio's supremely underrated Think Life a Chef both would have served as great templates/role models for this. Good food Interesting ideas about how to think about cooking, rather than recipes per se. The book is ridiculously and distractingly overwritten, though. Many of the sentences read like a bizarre parodies of contemporary food writing. The overly descriptive writing just doesn't jive with Adler's call for simple-yet-smart cooking. Helen Nearing's Simple Food for the Good Life or Tom Colicchio's supremely underrated Think Life a Chef both would have served as great templates/role models for this. Good food writing doesn't need to read like it's being breathlessly whispered by someone with a thesaurus and a lot of time to kill. Despite the writing, the book is still worth checking out. Adler obviously put a lot of time and thought into her concepts. Just brace yourself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Bragg

    READ.THIS.BOOK. When I began reading An Everlasting Meal, I was struck by how beautifully Tamar Adler described food she cooks - not just the usual how does it smell, how does it taste - but with glowing descriptions of the texture, feel, and appearance. When she describes a meal, you are right there with her! It wasn't far into the book that I decided that I simply MUST have a copy to call my very own. Not long after that, I realized that one of the reasons I loved this book so much is that it READ.THIS.BOOK. When I began reading An Everlasting Meal, I was struck by how beautifully Tamar Adler described food she cooks - not just the usual how does it smell, how does it taste - but with glowing descriptions of the texture, feel, and appearance. When she describes a meal, you are right there with her! It wasn't far into the book that I decided that I simply MUST have a copy to call my very own. Not long after that, I realized that one of the reasons I loved this book so much is that it reminds me of my grandmother. Tamar cooks with the grace & love that my grandmother did, and that she passed along to me. Tamar's description/explanation of cooking is how I cook most of the time, so no wonder I loved this book! It reminds me of all the things I love about "playing" in the kitchen, and why I should spend even more time there.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ce Ce

    Remove the word "foodie". Forget the gadgets. Pull any old pot out. Fill it with water. Light a fire. Rummage around. Create. Let your senses take over. Taste, taste and taste once more. Food is sustenance. Grace. And a gift...body and soul...to ourselves and our friends. Waste not. Want not. Influenced by the first chapters, while I was making one meal I piled the vegetable scraps and skins I would generally toss into the compost into a big pot and covered them with water and the bit of beer I Remove the word "foodie". Forget the gadgets. Pull any old pot out. Fill it with water. Light a fire. Rummage around. Create. Let your senses take over. Taste, taste and taste once more. Food is sustenance. Grace. And a gift...body and soul...to ourselves and our friends. Waste not. Want not. Influenced by the first chapters, while I was making one meal I piled the vegetable scraps and skins I would generally toss into the compost into a big pot and covered them with water and the bit of beer I had leftover from the main dish...threw in a few peppercorns & a bay leaf...and simmered until the scraps were very soft and had given up their flavor. I strained the broth through fine mesh. The result was a beautiful brown delicately earth flavored broth. I pulled leftover mashed potatoes and the quarter cup of leftover cream I had in the refrigerator. Sauteed the quarter onion in the vegetable drawer. We had two huge bowls of delectable potato soup for dinner that night...sprinkled with a last small bit of gruyere grated...with a glass of hearty rustic red wine. It was a spectacularly simple feast made from bits & pieces. So satisfying. This is cooking as an act of love...it is practical...and it is joyful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    sharon

    In an age when every recipe seems to come with a list of ingredients as long as my arm, Tamar Adler's approach to food is disarmingly simple, refreshingly intuitive, and utterly sensible. I found her suggestions for what to do with the odds and ends of dishes particularly helpful. (I'll never stare at a giant bunch of parsley or a rind of Parmesan with bewilderment again!) The night I finished the book, I found myself confronted with rather bare cupboards and, armed with Adler's injunctions and In an age when every recipe seems to come with a list of ingredients as long as my arm, Tamar Adler's approach to food is disarmingly simple, refreshingly intuitive, and utterly sensible. I found her suggestions for what to do with the odds and ends of dishes particularly helpful. (I'll never stare at a giant bunch of parsley or a rind of Parmesan with bewilderment again!) The night I finished the book, I found myself confronted with rather bare cupboards and, armed with Adler's injunctions and encouragement, managed to whip up a delicious soup of old potatoes, wilted green onions, and bacon bits that quite literally may have changed my entire outlook on cooking. Beginner chefs may balk at not having step by step instructions or exact measurements (Adler tends to suggest rather than dictate, and it can be dizzying at times to attempt to follow all of the uses she finds for one ingredient) but for anyone comfortable at a stove, Adler's book will feel like learning long-lost tricks in grandmother's kitchen. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to cook with a little more economy or a little more grace.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    If I could go back in time for just a couple of days, one of the things I'd like to do is sit down with my grandmothers and let them teach me all of those little secrets they knew about getting a meal to turn out just right. Born in the 1880's, both grandmother's knew how to cook before there were such things as degrees on oven dials. They used real ingredients, very few came from a box. What I remember of them cooking from when I was a little girl, their hands moved instinctively. Just a taste If I could go back in time for just a couple of days, one of the things I'd like to do is sit down with my grandmothers and let them teach me all of those little secrets they knew about getting a meal to turn out just right. Born in the 1880's, both grandmother's knew how to cook before there were such things as degrees on oven dials. They used real ingredients, very few came from a box. What I remember of them cooking from when I was a little girl, their hands moved instinctively. Just a taste would tell them what was missing--what belonged in the pot, and what to keep out. If I could go back in time for just a couple of days, I'd spend a part of those two days in their kitchens--breathing in the aromas of hot fresh donuts, or roast beef. Tamar Adler's book is the closest I will ever come to breathing in those aromas. Reading her book is like sitting down with your grandmother as she explains to you exactly what she's doing and why. Tamar knows those little secrets, and in beautiful prose, she passes them along to you. It takes a masterful writer to make a pot of boiled water into a cauldron of curiosities and wonders, but Tamar can do it. I loved this book. I adored this book. I highly recommend this book. If it doesn't have you dashing into your kitchen, digging through your pantry for those just-right ingredients, nothing will.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I heartily recommend this book to anybody who used to love to prepare good and sustaining meals but who's lost inspiration in the wake of so many cooking shows, food blogs and Pinterest. When I was growing up, my mom cooked every meal, every day, for years. While it was drudgery to her, the meals never reflected that. She grew up knowing true hunger and learned how to prepare food with economy, but not with parsimony. She used quality ingredients, fresh and in season, always prepared correctly - I heartily recommend this book to anybody who used to love to prepare good and sustaining meals but who's lost inspiration in the wake of so many cooking shows, food blogs and Pinterest. When I was growing up, my mom cooked every meal, every day, for years. While it was drudgery to her, the meals never reflected that. She grew up knowing true hunger and learned how to prepare food with economy, but not with parsimony. She used quality ingredients, fresh and in season, always prepared correctly -- and always with an eye to using the leftovers in the next meal. Until I was older, I never realized that was, in itself -- Art. She would probably think this book of essays a pure waste of time: elevating to prose what she used to do every day and celebrating what she gladly stopped doing when all of us began leaving home. Read it selectively and choose your essays based on the skills it imparts. Take some time to visit the author's blog and watch the videos if the essays begin to feel overwhelming. It's not a recipe book -- there are no photos of food. But you'll be encouraged to return to basics.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    As I'm writing this, I'm making something from this book, a recipe that Elise and I (affectionately) refer to as "butt pesto." (You'll have to ask me.) This is one of my favorite books about food I've ever read. It's patterned as a modern homage to MFK Fisher's book "How to Cook a Wolf." While I also enjoyed the MFKF book, TA's book has had much more of an actual impact on my life with food. What I think makes this book so special is that it is not about food in isolation ("here are a bunch of th As I'm writing this, I'm making something from this book, a recipe that Elise and I (affectionately) refer to as "butt pesto." (You'll have to ask me.) This is one of my favorite books about food I've ever read. It's patterned as a modern homage to MFK Fisher's book "How to Cook a Wolf." While I also enjoyed the MFKF book, TA's book has had much more of an actual impact on my life with food. What I think makes this book so special is that it is not about food in isolation ("here are a bunch of things that taste great!"), as most books about food tend to be. Rather, it provides a vision of the place of food and cooking in one's life. If you think about it, there are a lot of possible versions of this, more or less as many as there are people. TA's vision happens to be fairly aligned with the way I think food fits into mine and Elise's lives, but she articulates it in a way that is inspiring and thought-provoking. Her way of thinking of course owes a lot to MFKF, and is also pretty close in style to Robert Farrar Capon's "ferial" cooking from "The Supper of the Lamb." Basically, as the title suggests, this view centers around treating meals not as independent events, to be separately conceived and planned in advance, but as a sort of unbroken chain in which the leftovers or leavings of one meal provide substance and inspiration for another in the future. In practice it involves having lots of little glass jars in the fridge, which I enjoy a lot, containing basically anything you didn't use, down to the liquid from your can of chick peas. It's certainly a frugal method, and one that really encourages creative cooking. But more than these things, I love it because it establishes a sort of living rhythm to the food in one's life, in a way that reminds me of the following words from Nel Noddings' book "Caring" which have stuck with me for a long time: "The one-caring, then, is not bored with ordinary life. As the Christian-Catholic finds new truth and strength in repeated celebrations of the mass, so the one-caring finds new delight in breakfast, in welcoming home her wanderers, in feeding the cat who purrs against her ankle, in noticing the twilight. She does not ask, 'Is this all there is?,' but wishes in hearty affirmation that what-is might go on and on."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I've heard a number of people saying they love this book and I see the appeal. But it wasn't for me. The writing was too precious and prescriptive for my taste and, having a lot of experience with using up every last bit of food by necessity, I didn't learn a lot from the content. (I also am wary of her advice. She made a number of claims that suggest that we have very different tastes- for example, that broccoli stems are delicious if you cook them long enough. Broccoli stems are in fact delici I've heard a number of people saying they love this book and I see the appeal. But it wasn't for me. The writing was too precious and prescriptive for my taste and, having a lot of experience with using up every last bit of food by necessity, I didn't learn a lot from the content. (I also am wary of her advice. She made a number of claims that suggest that we have very different tastes- for example, that broccoli stems are delicious if you cook them long enough. Broccoli stems are in fact delicious if peeled, but she didn't mention that step.) I very much liked her idea of roasting vegetables in big batches for the week all at once and might give it a try. It's an especially great way to use up CSA shares effectively.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nerdette Podcast

    I don't say things like this lightly, so listen up: This book changed my life. It is so simple and lovely and useful and delicious.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    Tamar Adler's message and tone are somewhat at odds in this book. Her words are saying that cooking is for everyone and not just celebrity chefs and experts, that food does not have to be perfectly arranged on a plate, that it can be a messy daily thing full of mistakes and made on the spot with leftover ingredients that would have ended up in the trash anyway. I happen to hold all of these same beliefs, but her tone is contradicting her. Instead of opening us up to the possibilities of cooking, Tamar Adler's message and tone are somewhat at odds in this book. Her words are saying that cooking is for everyone and not just celebrity chefs and experts, that food does not have to be perfectly arranged on a plate, that it can be a messy daily thing full of mistakes and made on the spot with leftover ingredients that would have ended up in the trash anyway. I happen to hold all of these same beliefs, but her tone is contradicting her. Instead of opening us up to the possibilities of cooking, she tells us what we should do. That word "should" crops up everywhere. We should put our leftover bones into a pot and make stock. Which is fine for me, but I'm a believer (and I already do this, most days). If she is aiming to convert the noncook into a new lifestyle, she would do better to open up the possibilities using words that suggest and entice rather than prescribe. Sometimes she even comes across as snobby, which I'm sure is not her point. As when she says no egg that isn't coming straight from your own backyard chickens will do. I agree with her on moral principles--cruelty and factory farming practices necessarily impinges on our plate. But baby steps! That is an entirely different book than this one, and should be attempted once a daily practice has been established. Again: who is her intended audience here? Not to mention that it's also an extremely privileged stance; most of the people she's trying to reach will not be lucky enough to have their own chickens or have access to them (or afford them at a farmer's market). That said, this was a mildly successful book, in that it did teach me some things, while also boring me through some chapters of stuff I already know. The chapter on beans was especially eye-opening, as I do not cook beans nearly enough (usually I just reach for the canned ones at the last minute). And for that alone, as well as some useful tidbits here and there, this was worth reading. Adler's approach is to splice short recipes within long paragraphs of non-recipe prose (though there are recipes in those paragraphs too, just not in recipe form). Though it is definitely meant to be read from cover to cover and not as a reference book, it's a bit boring to read it like that at times, and her attempts at being poetic don't always work. Perhaps my opinion is tainted by the fact that I am already familiar with many of her strategies here (using leftovers, using all parts of the ingredient, etc.) Maybe for someone with less experience, this book would be useful. But then again, reading some of her recipes, I doubt a less experienced version of me would have found it very useful. Her prescriptions are very specific, and without going into the general principles behind why she is doing the things she is doing, a beginner would find it hard to generalize and find substitutions. Plus, she breezes past many of the most simple things that a beginner would need to execute these dishes. But then she has a chapter called How to Boil Water (tip: salt it, in most cases). So there's very advanced stuff here thrown in with very beginner stuff. I don't know who she's writing for.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    This is not so much a cookbook as a book about cooking, a philosophy of cooking. Adler’s premise is that simple meals are better than production numbers; that great meals can be had from bits and bobs of old meals; that you should save every little vegetable scrap or peel. Her theories are sound; onion peels and broccoli stems make great stock and everything tastes better cooked in stock. Stale bread is good for any number of things, from croutons to thickening sauce. But while the word ‘economy This is not so much a cookbook as a book about cooking, a philosophy of cooking. Adler’s premise is that simple meals are better than production numbers; that great meals can be had from bits and bobs of old meals; that you should save every little vegetable scrap or peel. Her theories are sound; onion peels and broccoli stems make great stock and everything tastes better cooked in stock. Stale bread is good for any number of things, from croutons to thickening sauce. But while the word ‘economy’ is in the title, the author uses it to mean ‘not wasting things’, rather than ‘eating cheaply’. She recommends vast amounts of butter and olive oil; organic, free range chickens; fancy olives and prosciutto, and buying a responsibly raised cow – going in with a group to do this, of course, not taking the whole beast home yourself- but still expensive when you consider butchering costs and the freezer to put it all in. On the other hand, she does praise beans, bean soups, and grains and tells how to make them turn out best. Those are economical, and, if the free range chicken is place sparingly atop the rice, as she recommends, makes an extremely tasty meal while not using much of the chicken. My other problem is her statement that everything is better salted. While the average human can use (needs!) moderate amounts of salt, a lot of us are getting far too much; a significant population develops hypertension when they eat too much salt. I’d prefer to see most things prepared without much salt, if any, and those who need it can add it at the table. Simple enough to just ignore her statements about salt and not put it in when following her recipes, but I’m not sure the world needs a voice telling it that such and such NEEDS salt. Adler has a elegant, rambling way of writing. Some sections are lovely; others drag slowly to the point. There are only a few recipes; they are of the ‘see how simple this is?’ sort to encourage people to try cooking by her methods. It’s a book for if you really want to *think* about cooking.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    Humorless, pretentious, preachy, and nearly every chapter starts with "M.F.K. Fisher says..." Adler immediately states that Fisher is an influence, but in my opinion, she does not add anything new or unique to the dialogue about thoughtful, economical, and graceful cooking. Not being familiar with her any of previous work, her authoritarian tone (e.g., "Children must help shell peas.") was off-putting. I would much rather read Nigel Slater, Simon Hopkinson, Fergus Henderson, Melissa Clark, Mark Humorless, pretentious, preachy, and nearly every chapter starts with "M.F.K. Fisher says..." Adler immediately states that Fisher is an influence, but in my opinion, she does not add anything new or unique to the dialogue about thoughtful, economical, and graceful cooking. Not being familiar with her any of previous work, her authoritarian tone (e.g., "Children must help shell peas.") was off-putting. I would much rather read Nigel Slater, Simon Hopkinson, Fergus Henderson, Melissa Clark, Mark Bittman, Deborah Madison, or even Alice Waters, who gives a glowing review of Adler's book, but oddly enough, I find less offensive...perhaps because I am familiar with her works. If you read a lot of cookbooks and books about cooking, Adler's work will seem like well-worn and dry territory.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marya Valli

    This cookbook was inspirational not in the usual bookmark-to-later-try-a-recipe way, but in a soulful, lasting way. The author's simple yet clever descriptions and transparent adoration of good food warmed my heart and yes, changed how I think about cooking. Before moving house I finally cooked up that bag of beans and it became a warm soft mash beside a Fiorentina-style steak, then part of a breakfast fry-up with apple slices, then (best of all!) an improvised homemade bean with bacon soup. Las This cookbook was inspirational not in the usual bookmark-to-later-try-a-recipe way, but in a soulful, lasting way. The author's simple yet clever descriptions and transparent adoration of good food warmed my heart and yes, changed how I think about cooking. Before moving house I finally cooked up that bag of beans and it became a warm soft mash beside a Fiorentina-style steak, then part of a breakfast fry-up with apple slices, then (best of all!) an improvised homemade bean with bacon soup. Lastingly tasty!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Okay, this book was so good that I read it very, very slowly, just to savor it. And then I picked it up and started reading it again. Tamar Adler just GETS it. Her prose is beautiful, and her kitchen beliefs are so in line with my own. I got so many ideas from this book - I felt like I gained freedom in my kitchen just by reading it. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    This book does for practical home cooking what Nina Planck's REAL FOOD does for the consumer by providing a delightful (and much needed) dose of common sense and assurance about the choices we make about what we eat and how we prepare it into a meal. How can a book about food that has no pictures and very few recipes earn four stars from me? She had me from the very first chapter--YES, a dozen pages on boiling water! Tamar is creative, frugal, daring, practical, sensible, skilled, and she assures This book does for practical home cooking what Nina Planck's REAL FOOD does for the consumer by providing a delightful (and much needed) dose of common sense and assurance about the choices we make about what we eat and how we prepare it into a meal. How can a book about food that has no pictures and very few recipes earn four stars from me? She had me from the very first chapter--YES, a dozen pages on boiling water! Tamar is creative, frugal, daring, practical, sensible, skilled, and she assures the reader that he or she can be too. The upshot is that I am going to have to own this book (thank you inter-library-loan service for the test-drive). I've heard it said that we should be taught HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Over the past fifty years we have been crippled in the kitchen--relying on television shows, you-tube clips, photographs, and recipes to venture into the realm of food preparation. We have been taught the WHAT, but not the HOW. No wonder we opt out so readily to fast food and ready-made's. We soothe ourselves with excuses such as "no time", "no equipment", "no interest", etc. I did stumble across a few words not in my vocabulary. They follow, with definitions and followed by the sentence (or paragraph)in which they appear. p.53 palliative: 1. Tending or serving to palliate. 2. Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure. n. "One of the most common in our soil is English peas, which arrive, adamantly, in the spring. English peas need shelling, but they need it for only a few weeks, which makes the process bearable, and not a little grounding. My restless mind has found no better palliative: after a little time with the gratifying solidity of a bowl in my lap and the sound of legumes pattering into it, I always feel as though some cobwebs have cleared." p.56 ursine: of or relating to a bear or the bear family (Ursidae). 2. : suggesting or characteristic of a bear "A good strategy for odd, unfamiliar vegetables, strange and lovely ones that interest you but you don't know quite what to do with--marigold-yellow squash blossoms or the little squashes themselves, blossoms still attached--is to buy a few, put flour in a bowl, mix just enough seltzer in to turn it into a paste, let it sit for an hour, then add a touch of salt and more seltzer until the batter looks like cream. Then fry them, hot and quick, to be eaten immediately with nothing in mind but the crisp, salty vegetable itself. ... It sounds like a vague prescription for cooking any unfamiliar vegetable. Any vegetable? you wonder. Can any vegetable be made sense of just by being fried? My response is my father's other favorite saying, also urisne: Does a bear...? And so on." p.83 Obviating: To anticipate and dispose of effectively; render unnecessary. "I have a certain tart dough that I make. It doesn't rely on cold butter, which starts to sweat too quickly on my warm, uneven wooden table, and it doesn't toughen up when I roll it "Twenty times!Willy-nilly." It's accommodating because it's made with olive oil. Thar also makes it sturdy, obviating a need for breadcrumbs at its bottom." p.95 Analeptic: adj. Restorative or stimulating, as a drug or medication. n. A medication used as a central nervous system stimulant. "Other humble ingredients make similarly fine analeptics. Use a vegetable peeler to peel long slices off carrots. Fill a bowl with the carrot ribbons, add a light sprinkle of toasted cumin or coriander, a little vinegar and salt, then dress it with a lot of good olive oil." p.95 Remoulade: A piquant cold sauce made with mayonnaise, chopped pickles, capers, anchovies, and herbs. "Rich, piquant remoulade salads, usually made from celery root, are in season when the ground ices over and the only vegetables available, are fibrous roots." p.118 anodyne: Adjective--Not likely to provoke dissent or offense; uncontentious or inoffensive, often deliberately Noun--A pain-killing drug or medicine. "It will do for you what you believe food should, no matter who you are. Gourmets are satisfied: the seductions of rice are whispered of; it can be topped with buttered spinach and Parmesan or shaved with white truffles, and to the palates of children who still think eating a beastly reality of life rice remains agreeably anodyne." p.155 ontological: 1. Of or relating to ontology. 2. Of or relating to essence or the nature of being. 3. Of or relating to the argument for the existence of ... "Of all of the people who have had opinions about whether eating meat is an evolutionary inevitability or an ontological crime, none is so right as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who wrote a very big, comprehensive book called "The River Cottage Meat Book" He starts it by answering the question all of us who write recipes for meat should: "It seems obvious to me that the morality of meat eating lies in the factual details of our relationships with the animals we kill for food. It is what we do to them that counts." "

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    I gorged on food writing for a while and had to take a break. It all had started to taste the same. Tamar Adler's "Everlasting Meal" was the perfect book to bring me back to the table. It is inspiring, realistic, engaging and, perhaps best of all, poetic. Oh, and funny, too! I drove my husband nuts interrupting his work or his own reading to read aloud a sentence. But I also made him laugh. "All ingredients need salt. The noodle or tender spring pea would be narcissistic to imagine it already co I gorged on food writing for a while and had to take a break. It all had started to taste the same. Tamar Adler's "Everlasting Meal" was the perfect book to bring me back to the table. It is inspiring, realistic, engaging and, perhaps best of all, poetic. Oh, and funny, too! I drove my husband nuts interrupting his work or his own reading to read aloud a sentence. But I also made him laugh. "All ingredients need salt. The noodle or tender spring pea would be narcissistic to imagine it already contained within its cell walls all the perfection it would ever need." Or this, explaining why she doesn't buy into plunging cooked vegetables into ice baths to shock them: "As a rule, I try not to shock anything. I also don't think keeping a vegetable from looking cooked when it is cooked is worth the fuss." I took two main lessons from Adler (not counting total inspiration). One, we waste amazing food because we don't know what to do with all the pieces we chop off or ruin or have leftover in tiny amounts. And two, we miss much of the richness of the table when we don't cook. And she's not talking there about rich flavor - she's talking about the actual hands-on work of preparing food - with others or by ourselves - and the mood around the table as we consume things we prepared. With the most basic of ingredients - water, salt, eggs - she takes a new look at what it means to cook. She's an advocate of cooking ahead, suggesting ways, for example, to cook big batches of vegetables once and then eat them in a new way each day of the week. And she throws away nothing. Nothing! I may have found one passing reference to a skin or peel that she said wasn't cookable - and she had some other suggestion of what to do with it. She explains at length how to care for and store ingredients that. But she doesn't hold herself up as the epitome. After explaining how to wash and dry herbs, place them in layers on paper towels and wrap them in plastic, she writes: "When you remove herbs to use them, re-wrap the remainder just as well. An airtight container with a snap-on lid would be simpler, and I often think I should get one." The book is peppered with recipes that are the most adaptable, imprecise you'll ever read. She gets you on the road, gives a gentle push and tells you you can do it. And you believe her. I loved the occasional glimpses of a meal around her table. They weren't pictures of perfection, but they were the kind of dinners you'd want to be invited to. Adler says even if you have time to finish every aspect of the meal before your guests arrive, don't. "Leave parsley and mint to be picked off their stems. If you're expecting a guest who likes to cook, hand over a whisk and vinaigrette you've started, and instructions to add olive oil. ... People enjoy having their hands busied. Especially if it's a guest who doesn't often cook, she will enjoy her exchange with parsley as much as she will enjoy eating what you scatter it over." I doubt I'll ever have a refrigerator full of glass jars of cooking liquids like hers. But already, partway through this book, I was making a lunch for myself and my husband noticed the ingredients I was piling onto my plate an said, "You're cooking like that lady in the book, aren't you?" I should be so lucky!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Trace

    Even though I'm trying to be stingy with my 5 stars - I would give this book a 6-star rating if I could. In reviewing all of the books I've read in 2012 - I think this is my very favorite... I found myself counting down the minutes during my day until it was ME time, and I could snuggle in with a cup of tea and a few pages of this poetic book. I was torn between not wanting to stop reading (its that good) and wanting to stop and slow down in order to really savor this first-reading and make it la Even though I'm trying to be stingy with my 5 stars - I would give this book a 6-star rating if I could. In reviewing all of the books I've read in 2012 - I think this is my very favorite... I found myself counting down the minutes during my day until it was ME time, and I could snuggle in with a cup of tea and a few pages of this poetic book. I was torn between not wanting to stop reading (its that good) and wanting to stop and slow down in order to really savor this first-reading and make it last. There is nothing quite like a first-reading, as book lovers everywhere will attest to; and I was sorry when mine ended.... This book work of art has reawakened in me something that has been asleep for quite some time - and that is my love of cooking. Years ago - before becoming a mom - I would have counted cooking as one of my passions. Somewhere along the line, cooking became less of a passion and more of a chore. In fact in recent years, I would even venture to say its become a detested chore. But along comes Tamar Adler with this gem of a book and her frugal but graceful mentality of food. And indeed it was this very combination of economy and grace that kept me captivated and started to reawaken this sleeping passion for cooking that I once possessed. But most importantly, the woman can WRITE! And tremendously well too. I'm very, very impressed. I will very much look forward to future works from this author. I will be one very unhappy person if I don't find this book under my Christmas tree this year because I cannot wait to reread it and to start making my own notes in the margins. I already know it will become a treasured addition to my small collection of well-loved cookbooks.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    You're a reasonably sincere person who believes that, for the sake of the planet and maybe your health, you should start cooking with actual ingredients instead of boxes of MSG. And you've trolled the farmer's markets and maybe tried your local CSA, and you've been game about all the strange vegetables and new cuts of meat, but, man -- you're not a cook by nature. You're always looking for recipes that will help you to use all of this stuff, but it still feels like you're just trying to keep a b You're a reasonably sincere person who believes that, for the sake of the planet and maybe your health, you should start cooking with actual ingredients instead of boxes of MSG. And you've trolled the farmer's markets and maybe tried your local CSA, and you've been game about all the strange vegetables and new cuts of meat, but, man -- you're not a cook by nature. You're always looking for recipes that will help you to use all of this stuff, but it still feels like you're just trying to keep a bunch of plates spinning all at once. Fresh food doesn't feel like a lifestyle -- it feels more like a chore. So you pick up this book, and there it is telling you what it's like to have a daily rhythm of using vegetables and broths and bones and spices. It's less about cooking with fresh food than it is about living with fresh food. And that's nice. It's also stylistically quite adept, and a real pleasure to read. There are a few moments where you wish Adler didn't keep attributing desires to foods (in Adler's account, an egg experiences almost as many spasms of wanting as a small child in FAO Schwartz) and that she didn't resort to the overly precious "happily raised animals" to describe grass-fed meat, but for the most part, it's kind of unfair that Adler can both cook and write with exceeding skill.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    I really enjoyed this book, but had some issues with it which detracted from my reading experience. First, is it a cookbook or an essay? I felt that it was primarily an essay-type book, and read it lying in bed at night, but there were many places where I wanted to jump up and try to cook things. I think if I'd read it in the kitchen, I might have had a hard time using it because it's not quite arranged as an instructional book. If I'd bought it as a printed, bound book I would probably stick it I really enjoyed this book, but had some issues with it which detracted from my reading experience. First, is it a cookbook or an essay? I felt that it was primarily an essay-type book, and read it lying in bed at night, but there were many places where I wanted to jump up and try to cook things. I think if I'd read it in the kitchen, I might have had a hard time using it because it's not quite arranged as an instructional book. If I'd bought it as a printed, bound book I would probably stick it in the kitchen for a while and go back through some of the chapters with tools and ingredients at the ready. I read this as a Kindle e-book, and there were a heck of a lot of formatting errors for a professionally published book. Lots of words got stuck together with no space in between. Worse, in the recipes many of the fractions were unreadable -- if it wasn't 1/4 or 1/2, it was anyone's guess. It's not the author's fault, but still very annoying. I would read it again and recommend it, with the aforementioned reservations. The cooking advice seemed sound, but I have yet to road test most of it. I did try making beans as recommended here and the results were a big improvement over my previous efforts (which had been perfectly edible, I thought).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I used to give a lot of 5-star reviews, but decided I was being too generous, so now they are few and far between. I reserve them for transformational books, such as this. This is not a cookbook, but it is a book about cooking and it does contain some recipes. However, it is more a book about the philosophy, joy, and ecology of food. It is a love letter to simplicity, to savoring delicious things, and to esteeming decidedly "unsexy" foods and parts of food. I will never think about broccoli stal I used to give a lot of 5-star reviews, but decided I was being too generous, so now they are few and far between. I reserve them for transformational books, such as this. This is not a cookbook, but it is a book about cooking and it does contain some recipes. However, it is more a book about the philosophy, joy, and ecology of food. It is a love letter to simplicity, to savoring delicious things, and to esteeming decidedly "unsexy" foods and parts of food. I will never think about broccoli stalks, onion skins, and chicken bones in the same way again. This book made me more excited about cooking and eating good things that are simple and stretch for days. I learned the whys and hows of not only eating leftovers (which I already did), but reinventing them. And if all else fails...I learned that butter, salt, good olive oil, and/or a splash of vinegar can cover a multitude of food gaffes and sins or elevate a good dish into extraordinary. Highly recommend for those who love to cook and those who loathe it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    I was first apprehensive about reading this book in ebook format because I thought it would be more of a cookbook. Luckily, it has more narrative and reads almost like a novel with handful of helpful recipes per chapter. It was like this book was written especially for me. Other than in the recipes, the amount of things are pretty hand-wavy. The author also emphasizes wise use of all parts of vegetables and how to stretch one dish into several to cut down on preparation time. I especially liked t I was first apprehensive about reading this book in ebook format because I thought it would be more of a cookbook. Luckily, it has more narrative and reads almost like a novel with handful of helpful recipes per chapter. It was like this book was written especially for me. Other than in the recipes, the amount of things are pretty hand-wavy. The author also emphasizes wise use of all parts of vegetables and how to stretch one dish into several to cut down on preparation time. I especially liked the suggestions on how to transform leftovers into new dishes. They don't call me the Leftover Master for nothing. Some parts of the book, especially the ones about hosting, serving guests, got borderline preachy or self-indulgent, but overall, loved the book! Although it's not specifically vegetarian, many aspects of the book are vegetarian friendly. I have to admit that I only glossed over the meat chapter. Takeaways from the book: - Don't throw *anything* away. - When in doubt, turn it into soup. - When in more doubt, add more olive oil.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bmfoa

    I ordered this book in the mail. I cannot WAIT for it to arrive. Read a chapter on a plane...delish. Crazy to love food so much that you even love to read about it! :) Okay, I'm now a couple of chapters in. I keep dog-earing the pages, but if I don't stop, I'm going to have to fold the whole book in half. Beautiful writing. I'm constantly cooking, in my mind!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelley Bodwell

    Beautiful commentary on cooking to waste less, spend less, and eat generously. These are my ideals in the kitchen, and I finished inspired to try new techniques and strategies for cooking better and with more joy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicolien Buholzer

    Though a bit overwritten (honestly though, almost all books about food or cooking are), this book will resonate with homecooks. It’s full of some great tips and ideas to make the ingredient you already buy go further. But best of all, it’s an ode to trusting your instinct in the kitchen, something I think more of us should do!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Antigone

    There's something so startling about the encounter with passion. A true, full-bodied passion that's been embraced and integrated into every aspect of life. Most days my choices extend only so far as hammer and nail, and I forget the force of joy. I forget the way bliss can trip into meaning, into vibrancy, into a stunningly pigmented existential composition. I forget. Tamar Adler reminds, in prose both crisp and seductive, that passion persists as an option; that there is a world beyond the fact There's something so startling about the encounter with passion. A true, full-bodied passion that's been embraced and integrated into every aspect of life. Most days my choices extend only so far as hammer and nail, and I forget the force of joy. I forget the way bliss can trip into meaning, into vibrancy, into a stunningly pigmented existential composition. I forget. Tamar Adler reminds, in prose both crisp and seductive, that passion persists as an option; that there is a world beyond the factory floor. Then there is the breed of vegetable that strides at its own pace, regardless of yours. It has a brief season and is probably laborious, needing to be shelled or shucked or peeled, then leaving you a tiny pile of its edible self. But it is invariably this vegetable that tastes so resonantly of its moment in the year that the surrounding months echo with it. There are festivals organized around this sort: in Spain there's one for the sweet leggy onions called calcots. Everyone runs out and picks them, builds big fires, roasts bushels and bushels, makes romesco sauce, and gets drunk, eating as many as they can. In Italy if a vegetable's festival is not on the calendar, it's tacitly observed: there will be picnics when the first wild asparagus arrive. This sort of vegetable is impractical if you're trying to look ahead, but is very good at making you stop and look around. One of the most common in our soil is English peas, which arrive, adamantly, in the spring... I doubt, sincerely, that I will ever religiously patronize a farmer's market. I doubt I will scale and gut a fish, contend with a brined caper, roast a butternut squash. But I will keep this book. And I will read this book again. Because I need to be reminded.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    I really enjoyed the chapters that focused on vegetables and pantry staples. She has some great ideas that I also incorporate in my kitchen, about finding intuitive ways to use up left overs and to utilize ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, like kitchen scraps, potato peels, parsley stems. Her laid back approach to cooking is refreshing and I love how she's not a food snob and enjoys cooking humble, simple, and sustaining meals in her kitchen. Gourmet food this isn't and that's just f I really enjoyed the chapters that focused on vegetables and pantry staples. She has some great ideas that I also incorporate in my kitchen, about finding intuitive ways to use up left overs and to utilize ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, like kitchen scraps, potato peels, parsley stems. Her laid back approach to cooking is refreshing and I love how she's not a food snob and enjoys cooking humble, simple, and sustaining meals in her kitchen. Gourmet food this isn't and that's just fine with me. I am a vegan so I skipped past the meat, cheese, and based sections, which is the main reason this gets a 4 out of 5 for me, but she has a surprising amount of bean and veggie based meals and techniques, so it's still worth checking out for vegetarians on a budget. She nailed the technique for cooking beans at home too, which is the number one way to eat well on a budget. Undercooked beans are the worst, as are beans that are boiled violently until they explode. So read up on her method if you need help and you'll be simmering beans like a pro. She likens cooking beans to bathing, not swimming, which made me smile and is so true. Oh, and I too save my old glass jars and have a wealth of leftover dressings, herbs, and trimmings that I hate to waste, it's nice to a read a book by someone who celebrates and infinite cycle and connection of the food we prepare,

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Cummins

    So I just put this book on hold because it showed up in Wowbrary as a new purchase at my library (does your library have Wowbrary? It's amazing! If your library does offer it and you don't subscribe, you should! Right now!). And I put off reading it because, well, books about how to eat gracefully sometimes just don't seem as exciting as YA books about the end of the world. But! This book was a delight to read. Almost poetic in its language, it managed to avoid the pretentious-ness bug that lots So I just put this book on hold because it showed up in Wowbrary as a new purchase at my library (does your library have Wowbrary? It's amazing! If your library does offer it and you don't subscribe, you should! Right now!). And I put off reading it because, well, books about how to eat gracefully sometimes just don't seem as exciting as YA books about the end of the world. But! This book was a delight to read. Almost poetic in its language, it managed to avoid the pretentious-ness bug that lots of food books get stuck with. I enjoyed the philosophy behind the book -- that waste isn't necessary when cooking. You can easily use the bits and bobbles in the kitchen to make delicious food, and eating in this graceful and mindful way will actually make you love cooking even more (and make eating delicious food so much cheaper!) I totally recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook, or hates to cook. It's a delight to read and will really inspire you to boil a pot of water (which, Tamar Adler asserts, is the first thing you should do if you're hungry).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was disappointed in this book. I think that's partly because everyone kept comparing it to MFK Fisher, and I've read MFK Fisher, and you, Tamar Adler, are no MFK Fisher. Or even Laurie Colwin. Adler has some good ideas, but there's no joy in the book. One of the great things about Fisher is that she never lets go of the social side of food, or the joy of cooking and eating. Adler either doesn't feel that, or doesn't have the writing skill to make it come across. The book feels more serious tha I was disappointed in this book. I think that's partly because everyone kept comparing it to MFK Fisher, and I've read MFK Fisher, and you, Tamar Adler, are no MFK Fisher. Or even Laurie Colwin. Adler has some good ideas, but there's no joy in the book. One of the great things about Fisher is that she never lets go of the social side of food, or the joy of cooking and eating. Adler either doesn't feel that, or doesn't have the writing skill to make it come across. The book feels more serious than it needs to be, and doesn't do much to make cooking seem fun or exciting. And while Adler has some good ideas, she also keeps falling back on all the same things: Parmesan rind, olives, anchovies.

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