This is the most amazing, inspirational food-related book I have read in years. It is not exactly a cookbook, but it contains a lot of recipes, and I have been cooking from it regularly since I read it a couple of months ago. I have found it transformative.
The book is not a series of recipes so much as a set of ideas for making delicious meals out of materials you already have on hand. It contains many ideas for concocting wonderful things to eat from scraps and leftovers, such as vegetable stalks, onion skins, leftover cooking water and stale bread. There is also a truly amazing chapter that discusses how to precook all your vegetables for the week on Sunday and then use them throughout the week for simple weeknight meals. I work full-time and have a toddler and another on the way, so I don't have time to pore over cookbooks and prepare elaborate meals in the way I used to. I really appreciate how this book has enabled me to produce better dinners in less time, and with a lot less stress. The recipes themselves are wonderful because they are so versatile. They invite substitution rather than making you feel like you will fail if you don't have a particular item on the list.
Since reading this book, I am cooking better and more often, eating more vegetables and wasting less and saving money. Just some of the things I have been able to do:
Roast vegetables for the week ahead of time and use them for quick weeknight meals, salads, risotto, pasta, whatever.
Save my vegetable scraps for stock and soup - I recently made an amazing minestrone that was comprised largely of kitchen scraps and leftover cooking liquids of various kinds (combined with beans and pasta, of course) - mostly stuff that I previously would have thrown away or composted.
Have others been reading this book? I thought it would be fun to start a little thread to talk about the techniques we have learned and enjoyed from this book.
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