An Everlasting Meal

I'm down for cooking, and I'm definitely down for food … but I have a short attention span. If I’m interested in a recipe, I’ll start scanning the list of ingredients—my interest waning as the amount of items I don’t already have or can’t easily procure grows. Sadly, anything past 7 ingredients total usually loses me altogether. I like to keep it simple—which is why I was excited to read An Everlasting Meal (thank you Kirsten Blair!).

“Cooking is both simpler and more necessary than we imagine,” writes Tamar Adler. “We don’t need to shop like chefs or cook like chefs; we need to shop and cook like people learning to cook, like what we are—people who are hungry.”

I love this. I love making simple meals from stuff I have laying around. It’s both a challenge and a way of living within my means (I.E. not dropping $50 at Whole Foods on ingredients for one meal—which is WAY too effin easy).

An Everlasting Meal is kind of a cookbook, and kind of not. It’s a collection of essays about the act of cooking in your home and why this is and should be important to all of us—with simple, delicious, intuitive recipes sprinkled throughout.

For instance, why can’t a salad just be a single vegetable raw or cooked with a drizzle of vinegar and olive oil?

It can—and it often is in places like Italy.

Why can’t a chunk of good bread be the centerpiece of your meal?

It definitely should be, and there are unlimited things you can put on it:

“In autumn, roast a whole butternut squash. Smash it in a bowl with good olive oil, a little freshly grated Parmesan, and a lot of freshly cracked black pepper. Spread the squash thickly on the toast, drizzle it with more olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle it with roughly chopped toasted almonds.”

And so on and so forth.

Also, Adler touches on—not gluttony—but why we should be moved by what we eat: because it connects us to moments and memories and fills up our souls.

“Let the smell of salt remind you of a paper basket of fried clams you ate once, squeezing them with lemons as you walked on a boardwalk. Let it reach your deeper interest. When you smell the sea, and remember the basket of hot fried clams, and the sound of skee-balls knocking against each other, let it help you love what food can do, which is to tie this moment to that one.”

It’s nice, right?