Vacation reading- Simple Food

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August 5, 2009 by currbell

I’m a cook book, food blog kind of girl. One of these days I’m going to sit down and read through “The Joy of Cooking”. Seriously. I love to flip through them, curled up on the couch with a cup of tea or something and just soak in the inspiration; walk away with a week long menu of new and exciting dishes to whip up. Most of the time I’m a child when it comes to my cook books: I want pictures. If it’s worth cooking then they would have put a nice glossy picture of it in the book, right? “The Art of Simple Food- Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution” by Alice Waters is not one of those nice glossy cooking books (thought it does have great black and white sketches all through it), but I think I felt more at home with this cook book than any other I have picked up in quite a while. And no, I’m not quite sure how you feel “at home” with a cook book, but I guess her style and approach really resonated with me. This would be *the perfect* cook book for someone who wants to really start cooking from scratch, someone graduating from college or getting married. Waters starts out with the basics: buy good fresh food in season, buy local, plant a garden, enjoy food and share it. And from there moves steadily through all the basics of learning to really cook, not just follow a recipe. She tells you how she keeps her kitchen stocked with both perishable and imperishable staples, and then lists over 80 different items you can make, ranging from meals to sauces with just theses staples. She goes over the basics of kitchen equipment, and I liked her practical approach. She lists the very bare essentials as two or three good knives and a few pieces of good, heavy heat conductive cookware, and then tells you of other things you might think about adding as you have more money. And the rest of the cook book is full of wonderful descriptions and simple recipes.

“By cooking your way through these lessons, tasting and learning from your
successes (and your mistakes), you will get to know some fundamental techniques
by heart and you won’t have to look them up again. This will enable you to cook
with ease and confidence, inspired by recipes-rather then being ruled by them-
and free to enjoy the sheer pleasure of preparing and sharing simple food with
your friends and family.” ~Alice Waters


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