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223 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a new way of thinking. . .
I read a lot but don't often write reviews for books, much less cookbooks. However, I really must write a review for An Everlasting Meal because it literally changed my life (in a week!). I am the child of the typical baby-boomer working mother who was too busy to cook, yet too poor to buy anything good -- my childhood was all economy, no grace. After marrying, I...
Published on January 8, 2012 by momma chic

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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written ... but ...
I was really looking forward to reading this book, truly on pins and needles about it. Ms. Adler writes very well and I would love to read more of her work, but I could not get very far with this title. I was under the impression that this was a discussion about frugality but perhaps this is my own failure to understand the book's intent through its brief summary...
Published 20 months ago by Cam Davis


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223 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a new way of thinking. . ., January 8, 2012
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I read a lot but don't often write reviews for books, much less cookbooks. However, I really must write a review for An Everlasting Meal because it literally changed my life (in a week!). I am the child of the typical baby-boomer working mother who was too busy to cook, yet too poor to buy anything good -- my childhood was all economy, no grace. After marrying, I became a self-taught cook, learning from those Food Network shows and glossy paged celebrity chef cookbooks. While I am grateful for the techniques I have learned, I have felt the past few years my cooking has suffered from all grace and no economy. This has led to the problem of cooking burnout, and spoiled (lovely, organic) groceries, and way too much Thai takeout. With 3 growing kids, less time to grocery shop, and huge food bills, I needed a change of thinking AND doing. This book has provided that!

Tonight I had a few (lovely, organic) chicken breasts in the fridge that were getting perilously close to the date. As it is the end of the weekend, I haven't shopped in days and I don't have the ingredients to make any of my glossy paged cookbook recipes. There was some stuff in the fridge, yet I would have thought "nothing to make". Thanks to Tamar Adler, I pulled out my trusty pot, boiled some very salty water and starting by boiling the chicken (who does that???) with a handful of Tuscan spice blend. Then I sauteed a diced onion with some leftover mushrooms (that also would have gone bad), chopped celery ends my kids didn't eat from their Ants on a Log, then made a little roux. I created a sauce with a couple of cups of the broth from the chicken breasts and a cup of milk and random cheese bits. Then I tossed some random leftover cooked veggies and the diced chicken breasts in my lovely mushroom sauce. I also found some too-stale-for-salad croutons in the pantry, so I threw them in the rest of my seasoned broth, making a kind of stuffing, and put it on top of my mushroom saucey chicken concoction and baked for a few minutes. My family declared this makeshift casserole the best thing ever. And there was enough to put another one in the freezer, so I have solved "what's for dinner" twice, never having touched a single recipe. Everything except the chicken, onion, and cup of milk was what Tamar calls "ends", most of which would likely have been in the garbage.

If this sounds like the sort of thing that regularly happens at your house, then you probably don't need this book. If kitchen economy and/or grace are sorely lacking in your home, you will probably save the price of this book in one meal.

I did read the Kindle version, which I normally wouldn't do with a cookbook. However, this book is prose, not glossy photos, and meant to be read in order, so Kindle works great.
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79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one book which got me cooking., October 27, 2011
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I really enjoyed Tamar Adler's book. The tone of it, and how she is so kind to all involved - eggs, beans, or us poor helpless things lost in the kitchen. I felt like she was taking me by the hand to show me that cooking is not daunting, that it is just part of everyday life. I only need to start water boiling, or pick up where I left off, and follow the thread of continuity.

I have a collection of unread cookbooks for kitchen-challenged people. I tried to use them but I could just not get into them, as if they were trying to fix a problem I didn't have. But this book is a beautiful read in itself, a true book, not only a collection of recipes. It shows how to look at things differently, as if she were just whispering to us, "you've known it all along". I don't need to learn from these cookbooks, I can cook already, enough to get started. And the idea of always using ends to feed beginnings, nuts roasted in the cooling oven or pasta turned into a frittata, is very appealing to me, almost poetic.

This book flows with wonderful ease and a sense of elegant clarity all along; and it finally got me cooking regularly where all the others had failed!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Inspiring, December 11, 2011
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If you love food and are looking for something a little different than the typical cook book, check out Tamar Adler's "An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace." I'll admit up-front that I was predisposed to like this book since Tamar started as a cook at Chez Panisse the same week I started my culinary school internship in Chez's kitchen. But the book has received strong reviews from the likes of The New York Times and Forbes - so this positive review isn't just personal bias. Fans of M.F.K. Fisher will feel right at home - inspired by Fisher's "How to Cook a Wolf" (1942), "An Everlasting Meal" is more about cooking well (and therefore living well) than it is a collection of recipes. Recipes in standard format are scattered throughout, and they follow traditional methods - no molecular gastronomy here. In chapter 19, I was ecstatic to discover Tamar's version of Maiale al Latte - pork braised in milk with garlic, sage and lemon - which I was first introduced to at Chez and has since become one of my all-time favorite dishes. But beyond the "formal" recipes, Tamar's prose and its underlying message of cooking (and living) well will inspire novice and experienced cooks alike.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you want to cook!, October 29, 2011
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This book is a real beauty.

It accomplishes two rare things: it's poetry, first of all -- the prose is gorgeous, each sentence its own little haiku-like balancing act. Which isn't to say that it's tough to read -- it flows -- but it's rare to encounter this level of writing, especially in a book about food.

And, second of all, it does this magic thing: it really, really, makes you want to cook. Adler makes it seem like such an obvious thing -- she puts cooking firmly where it should be, a daily & central activity in our lives.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes to put food in their mouth and cares ever so slightly about what it is.
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52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the pleasure and practicality of food usage and cooking, October 19, 2011
"An Everlasting Meal", by Tamar Adler, is an impressive, informed, invaluable inside look at the pleasure and practicality of food usage and cooking in a sustainable manner. Making the most of the flavors found in almost every part and particle of foods both common and exotic is not a new theory, nor is it one lacking in culinary satisfaction. On the contrary, learning to incorporate natural flavors and cooking essences into savory seasonings and sauces is a true treat for the taste buds. This is a carry-it-forward food plan that takes some skill in the kitchen, an organized mind, and a commitment to not letting valuable resources go to waste. Why throw it out and then have to go buy it again? Why not accept it, embrace it, and enjoy it? My favorite chapter in the book is "How to Live Well", and it glorifies one of the most humble, and most essential of all foods: the dried bean. Being from the South, I have an innate love for a bowl of brown beans with some boiled potatoes and a hunk of cornbread on the side. Add some sliced onions and slices of juicy home-grown tomatoes, and you have a peasant's meal fit for royalty! There are wonderful recipes and cooking tips throughout "An Everlasting Meal", but there is also a gentle reminder of how simple and soothing it can be to just cook and enjoy food with your family and friends.

Review Copy Gratis Simon & Schuster
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will make you happy, October 23, 2011
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An Everlasting Meal aims to redeem cooking from the fallen world of packaged pre-boiled eggs, celebrity chefs, overpriced restaurants, and fussy recipes. Tamar Adler wishes to remind us that cooking can be simple and elegant and inexpensive. Her essays are beautiful and wise, and though she offers up the occasional recipe, her ambition is to set us free from the tyranny of recipes. Keep this book within easy reach in your kitchen and pick it up whenever you find yourself hungry and needing inspiration.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely beautiful, October 19, 2011
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The writing in this book is striking. When I looked in the forward I noticed that Alice Waters described the author's preternatural poise and presence. Preternatural isn't a word most people use, and it conveys a lot.

And I'm amazed at how wonderful the writing is. There are formal recipes, but primarily the author just talks about food and cooking. She talks about how to cook and how to live at the same time. She writes eloquently and lengthily about the importance of bean broth.

I should have bought two copies, so I could feel safe in lending one out.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written ... but ..., January 7, 2013
By 
Cam Davis "It's a beautiful day!" (Greensboro, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to reading this book, truly on pins and needles about it. Ms. Adler writes very well and I would love to read more of her work, but I could not get very far with this title. I was under the impression that this was a discussion about frugality but perhaps this is my own failure to understand the book's intent through its brief summary.

Where this first fails, for me, is that there are a *lot* of gourmet ingredients. If I typically had on hand items like capers, a bottle of red wine vinegar in order to use just a drop ("a drop" is what the recipe calls for), juniper berries, coconut milk, and anchovy fillets (just to name a few), why would I bother using stalks, leaves, skin, and bones? Also, the author's answer to many food "remains" quandaries is olive oil. She drizzles and pours and sprinkles her way through several bottles of the stuff. Olive oil is indeed useful, and flavorful, but it gets a little tiresome to read about after a few chapters.

Additionally, the author's tone is somewhat patronizing. I don't know how to articulate examples without copying entire passages, but the pretentious pen-in-lieu-of-finger shaking set me on edge. It was like visiting Auntie Prim's house and being told not to sit on the furniture because the furniture is for company only, darling, and by the way you really shouldn't wear "off the rack."

While I was prepared to dive into this book and to be enthralled beyond measure I am left disappointed and somewhat irritable. I hate writing reviews like this, especially for an author who does indeed have such talent with prose. Perhaps the fault lies in the subtitle "cooking with economy and grace." While "An Everlasting Meal" may be harmonious it certainly is not providence.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has already changed my life, January 16, 2012
I can't tell you how much I love this book. In just 10 days (since I bought it), I've put Tamar's brilliant advice to good use more than any cookbook I've ever own. I've turned kale stems (previously discarded) into a delicious spread for breads. I've roasted and refrigerated all sorts of vegetables, drawing upon them throughout the week rather than letting them go bad in the crisper. I've actually come to appreciate parsley (WTH?). Most of all, however, I don't feel like I'm simply learning new recipes: I'm learning a whole new way to think about food and its preparation. Tamar, you're awesome. So's your book.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and refreshing, December 16, 2011
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I suspect it's hard to write a "breakthrough" book about cooking and food these days, but Tamar Adler's lovely new offering, "An Everlasting Meal", rewards us and then some. It's both traditional and non-traditional, which makes it more appealing.

Adler writes around the edges of food. She readily admits not to like cooking on occasion and for those of us who appreciate food but never have had the patience to cook...well, this is something good to hear. She tells that taste is everything and not to throw away most of what we gardeners, cooks or eaters might do...like the tops of vegetables, for instance. Adler even makes the reader study.....I love English peas and got caught up in her rapture about them and how to involve children in preparing them. I don't care for beets but I gobbled up her lines about them with just as much intrigue.

What I really love about this book is her creativity in naming chapters. "How to Live Well", is devoted to beans, of all things...that staple of so many diets. "How to Feel Powerful" delves into...of all things...anchovies and olives. But my favorite was "How to Light a Room". You must purchase this book for that chapter alone.

Adler's narrative is straightforward with recipes along the way that most of us will probably never make but are tempting to read. Just when you think she might not have sense of humor, she tells the story of an onion and a garlic farmer. Such good stuff. I highly recommend "An Everlasting Meal".
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An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler (Paperback - June 19, 2012)
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