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An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace Paperback – June 19, 2012
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“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
"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
“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
“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.”
"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
About the Author
Tamar Adler is a contributing writer to Vogue. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Believer, and The NewYorker.com. Adler has won a James Beard Award and an IACP Award. Tamar is the author of Something Old, Something New and An Everlasting Meal. She lives in Hudson, New York.
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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.
That's when (luckily) I came across this book. Tamar Adler first and foremost is a beautiful writer and honestly I got so much more from this book than learning how to cook. I feel like this book gave me permission to make simple meals, to trust time honored traditions from around the world, to salvage food scraps and turn them into feasts and most of all to trust my instincts when it comes to flavors and experimentation. I feel closer to being a real chef rather than just a recipe follower. I think this book also made me feel like a few vegetables and some leftover rice can be a perfectly acceptable meal when done well, whereas before if I didn't have meat or fish I felt l wasn't serving something worthwhile to my family.
Because of this book I've started going to my weekly farmers market for my veggies and fruit, I bought a good bike from Craigslist that I now ride everyday (weather permitting), my grocery bill is literally HALF as expensive as it used to be, and when I look in my cupboards (or freezer, or fridge) I can't believe how much food I have just waiting to be turned into simple, but tasty meals! Suddenly a bag of rice or a few sweet potatoes looks like I could be fed well for days. I waste so much less food, odds and ends from cooking, that I completely understand why she calls this book an everlasting meal, it truly does feel like that! The author reminded me and taught me that people have been well fed for centuries and they weren't running to a specialty grocery store for weird ingredients or eating animal protein at every meal. They were feeding themselves, simply, humbly and well.
Another thing about this book is that every time I pick it up I feel better after having read it. It reminds me of reading poetry or listening to "This American Life". There are certain activities that when we do them we feel elevated and simultaneously closer to ourselves and being human. This book reminds me of what is real and important in life. It's the simple things. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It has changed my life and I am forever grateful.
I enjoy a book that, no matter what I feel about it, makes me want to know more about the author as this one does.
This would be a wonderful book for someone starting their cooking life, but who never had a grandmother to cook alongside. It is grounding, and removes fear from the equation. My grandmother and mother lived and cooked like this; I have been blessed to have them.
I love the index at the end, since many great ideas are mentioned in passing and I will want to go back to them at some point. Though I don't agree with all of Adler's conclusions, she doesn't ask me to. She only asks me to consider them. Like any friend or mentor would.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a good read for people who know how to cook or who simply love food.Read more