Those of you who know me well know that I can often be found curled up with a cookbook. I love flipping through recipes and “listening” to passionate cooks share stories and talk about food. As I spend a lot of my time this way, it’s important that I enjoy the writing and personalities of the writers of these books. Whether using print resources or blogs, it’s important to find “your people”.
I’m not interested in cooking fussy food or in “project recipes” that have many steps spread over hours or days. I admire those who take on such cooking and will gladly eat it, but it’s just not me right now. I don’t think cooking should be complicated or difficult and I look for cooks who feel the same.
This includes clean up, so I read recipes paying close attention to prep time and clean up. My own way of cooking revolves around high quality ingredients and the belief that putting food on the table should enjoyable, not stressful. I once made a very yummy green bean tagine, where the time listed to make the recipe did not include stemming the green beans. I believe it called for 3 lbs of beans and it took me a long time!
So here are some of my favorites: How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman is a great resource, especially when you already have an ingredient and want some ideas for what to do with it. Two of our favorite recipes are Shrimp My Way and Spicy Beef and Black Beans. The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is great is another great resource. Both have a good variety of recipes that are easy and delicious and provide useful tips to guarantee success.
I also love cookbook authors who have a sassy tone: Nigella Lawson, Barbara Kafka, Lorna Sass, Ina Garten, Tamar Adler and Deb Pearlman. They aren’t afraid to express their opinions and their goal is to make cooking joyous and accessible. This is my goal as well, as I work with people and groups to remove the stress from menu planning and cooking. Stay tuned for a detailed review of the cookbooks I use most often and a cookbook match-up to determine which sources are best for you!
If you want to make cooking more fun and less stressful, contact me for a free consultation!
Here’s what we’re having for dinner tonight:
What are your favorite cooking resources and why?