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An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Graceby Tamar Adler
Synopses & Reviews
Modeled on M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf — written in 1942 during wartime rations to convince readers that good eating was always possible — An Everlasting Meal teaches how to cook well regardless of circumstance, offering a practical, pleasurable path to the kitchen.
Tamar Adler shares what chefs instinctively know: each ingredient you buy, chop, and cook ought to be prepared with a keen eye toward future meals.
Having An Everlasting Meal means using yesterday’s roasted broccoli as the sauce for tonight’s pasta, which fills tomorrow’s vegetable omelet, which is made into a sandwich the next day. Adler explains that saving and using parsley stems, chicken bones, onion skins, orange peels, and pasta water is not only “green,” but the key to cooking well, adding depth of flavor to your plate. Adler offers fixes for dishes that have gone awry — what to do if you add too much salt, or burn the roast — and how to prepare a meal when you’re convinced all you have is a jar of olives. She reveals that the ubiquitous bunches of scallions at convenience stores are actually vegetables (and how to cook them), and gives as careful a treatment to the dried beans and the jar of sauerkraut on your shelf as she does to locally grown produce.
Adler describes how to use all of everything, so that you’re not spending more money, or working harder, than you need to. An Everlasting Meal will make life easier and more enjoyable by keeping your stove and refrigerator, and heart and table, full of nourishment and pleasure.
"An Everlasting Meal is beautifully intimate, approaching cooking as a narrative that begins not with a list of ingredients or a tutorial on cutting an onion, but with a way of thinking....Tamar is one of the great writers I know — her prose is exquisitely crafted, beautiful and clear-eyed and open, in the thoughtful spirit of M.F.K. Fisher. This is a book to sink into and read deeply." Alice Waters, from the Foreword
"Tamar Adler understands a simple truth that seems to evade a lot of cookbook writers and self-proclaimed ‘foodies’: cooking well isn't about special equipment or exotic condiments or over-tested recipes (and it sure isn't about ‘quickfire challenges’ or kicking it up a notch). It's about learning some basics, respecting the ingredients, and developing a little culinary intuition, or maybe just plain common sense. A book can’t necessarily teach you how to do that, but An Everlasting Meal will almost certainly inspire you to teach yourself." Colman Andrews, author of The Country Cooking of Italy and Editorial Director of TheDailyMeal.com
"It can be tricky, in this age of ethically charged supermarket choices, to remember that eating is an act of celebration. Tamar Adler's terrific book wisely presents itself as a series of how to’s — 'How To Boil Water, How to Have Balance, How to Live Well' — with the suggestion that it's not only possible to do all these things, but in fact a pleasure. An Everlasting Meal provides the very best kind of lesson (reminding us we enjoy being taught), that there is real joy to be had in eating, and eating well." Dan Barber, Chef/Co-Owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
"In this beautiful book, Tamar Adler explores the difference between frugal and resourceful cooking. Few people can turn the act of boiling water into poetry. Adler does. By the time you savor the last page, your kitchen will have transformed into a playground, a boudoir and a wide open field. An Everlasting Meal deserves to be an instant and everlasting culinary classic." Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing and Stuffed and Starved
"An Everlasting Meal is a great thrill to read. Anyone who cooks is engaged in a re-creation of the Enlightenment Age — beginning with alchemy and mystery, always grasping towards chemistry and a tasty supper. With this book, Tamar Adler has chronicled our epic. Her tone manages to make the reader almost feel like he is thinking out loud. A marvelous accomplishment." Jack Hitt, contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine
"Lessons so right and so eloquent that I think of them as homilies." Corby Kummer, The New York Times Book Review
"Reads less like a cookbook than like a recipe for a delicious life." New York Magazine
"Reading [An Everlasting Meal] is like having a cooking teacher whispering suggestions in your ear....Mindfulness, I'm discovering through this terrific book, can be delicious." Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City
"Tamar Adler has written the best book on ‘cooking with economy and grace’ that I have read since MFK Fisher." Michael Pollan
"What it really is is a book about how to live a good life: take the long view, give to others, learn from everything you do, and always, always, always mindfully enjoy what you are doing and what you've done. The fact you'll learn to be a great cook is just a bonus." Forbes.com
Reviving the inspiring message of M. F. K. Fishers 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 worlds 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.
About the Author
A former editor at Harper’s Magazine, Tamar Adler has cooked at Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune restaurant and Chez Panisse. She was the founding head chef of the restaurant Farm 255 in Athens, Georgia. Tamar currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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