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Cook inspires creativity with food

A low-stress approach to low-budget meals

By Peggy Hyland

For The Free Lance-Star

TAMAR Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal” is  a boon to cooks of all experience levels.  She teaches by intuition and inspiration, rather than strict instruction, with ideas for saving time, money and stress.

The book features more guidelines than recipes, and what recipes she provides are open to myriad interpretations (“Cook whatever vegetables you have or like.”).  Adler’s approach is a revolt against “food writers’ proclivities for making cooking seem difficult.”  She deals with combining basic staples, stretching pricey ingredients, using every bit of meat and vegetables, even salvaging burned food.  She emphasizes simplicity and seasonality to yield the best results for the least money.

She provides ideas that help avoid the mental blocks that inevitably befall all cooks:  put a pot of water on to boil and rummage around for whatever is at hand.  If, as she urges, good stock, roasted vegetables, and leftovers are available, something delicious will follow.  Elegant foods like risottos, frittatas and tarts are demystified and returned to their humble origins.  “Tarts did not come into being because pastry needed to be filled, but because ingredients needed somewhere to go.”

Adler encourages tasting throughout the process to gain a better understanding of how ingredients develop as they cook.  Combining this with the “guidelines, not recipes” approach will free you from the boundaries of cookbooks and leave you limited only by your imagination.

Peggy Hyland is a freelance writer  in Fredericksburg.

AN EVERLASTING MEAL

By Tamar Adley

(Scribner, $25, 272 pp.)

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/books/2012/07/24/cook-inspires-creativity-with-food/

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