Frugal Boot Camp: An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler


An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler is aptly subtitled "Cooking with Economy and Grace".  Published in 2011, the book is available on Amazon for $10 hardback.  I am sure there are other sources but I didn't take time to seek them out.

 I think, after reading this book and M.F.K. Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf,  that the most readable of cookbook authors have known what it is to have little food, but know too that little food is always the making of a feast if it is approached with the right mindset. 

Adler is a proponent of using all of something, be it vegetable, fruit or innards of an animal that many people find repellant.  She reminds me that there was a day and a time when, as an elderly relative once put it, "We ate all the pig, except the 'oink'."  It was considered wasteful to do otherwise.

And so I find myself determined to be yet more economical in my kitchen.  I've saved bones for broth and ends of onions and carrots and celery for broth making.  I've saved peels and cores of apples for making jelly.  I save ends of bread loaves and last bits of cornbread in the freezer.  And to what purpose?  So that I can make the dog pup Popsicles from the broth we don't eat or toss the bones because it's taking up room I deem more valuable for 'real food' and ditto for the apple peels and cores.  My sole saving is that I do indeed use the bread pieces for strata, French toast and croutons.  It's not enough.  For all of my 'zero waste' mentality and determination to use it up there are many things yet that might be used in this kitchen.

I love that Adler suggests what you might do with leftovers, burnt or over/under cooked foods.  I like that she suggests purchasing the least expensive cuts of meats, using all of the vegetable or fruit.  I like that she even has a chapter on digging into the further reaches of the cabinets and using canned beans or tomatoes or other items to create a meal. 

If it's merely recipes you want this book may not be the one for you.  If what you need, as I did, is a reminder of how foods might be used to their fullest, and how one needn't go hungry nor spend fortunes you don't have to satisfy the need for food, then this would be a great book to sit down and read and absorb.  And I do mean absorb.  Truly I started this book two years before I could finish it the first time because it made me think so hard as I read it.  Now I have made my way through it again, I feel I have learned a great deal.  That's saying something after spending 48 years in the kitchen preparing meals. 

4 comments:

Lana said...

Yes on using all of the vegetable or fruit! I often observe such huge waste in our children's kitchens. Broccoli florets are cut off and the stalks discarded and the way I see peppers being cut wastes 25% of them. Broccoli stalks are delicious peeled and cut into sticks to be eaten raw and I will keep cutting my peppers the way I always have even though I have been told it is the old fashioned way. (Smiles)

My great grandmother was legendary for her pressed turkey that she made from the turkey carcass. Lots of snickering behind hands over that but an example of the economy that has been lost.

Anonymous said...

I also love this book and it has changed the way I cook for my family. I particularly liked her advice on how not to waste produce, but to cook it as soon as you have bought it and then store it in the fridge to use as a basis for meals throughout the week. Chess

Sparkiedoll said...

I stayed with a friend this week - she made me breakfast. I egg mixed with one mashed banana. Fry the batter as per a pancake....
I've just made one for my son and he ate it with Greek yogurt and honey. It would make 2 smaller pancakes ideal for a dessert...serve with whatever you fancy. I've got overripe bananas in the freezer thinking I'd use them for a cake but now I've been given this recipe, banana pancakes it is. I can't believe that I've never heard of it before. Just had to share this healthy, frugal and delicious 'recipe'! Oh, the only stipulation my friend made was that if you make double it must be 1 egg and 1 banana per portion. Doubling the recipe mix doesn't work. Best wishes from Rose in the UK

Kathy said...

Oh I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has good intentions. I just gave my dog some broth that I had made a frozen ages ago. I also started one of those yogurt cartons with leftovers intending to make soup when it was full.
I'll check out the book. thanks!

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