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An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

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There's something so startling about the encounter with passion. A true, full-bodied passion that's been embraced and integrated into every aspect of life. Most days my choices extend only so far as hammer and nail, and I forget the force of joy. I forget the way bliss can trip into meaning, into vibrancy, into a stunningly pigmented existential composition. I forget. Tamar Adler reminds, in prose both crisp and seductive, that passion persists as an option; that there is a world beyond the factory floor. This [making mayonnaise] should all be done by hand. Good olive oil gets bitter when broken by blades. Making mayonnaise by Put the shallot in a small mixing bowl. Add the salt and then enough vinegar to cover. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the shallot of its vinegar, reserving it for a future vinaigrette. Mix the shallot and the rest of the ingredients together.

Books: An Everlasting Meal - Longreads This Week in Books: An Everlasting Meal - Longreads

All ingredients need salt. The noodle or tender spring pea would be narcissistic to imagine it already contained within its cell walls all the perfection it would ever need. We seem, too, to fear that we are failures at being tender and springy if we need to be seasoned. It’s not so: it doesn’t reflect badly on pea or person that either needs help to be most itself. Adler proves herself an adept essayist in this discourse on instinctive home cooking. Though highly personal, it’s much less a food memoir than a kind of cooking tao." — The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Our culture frowns on cooking in water. A pot and water are both simple and homely. It is hard to improve on the technology of the pot, or of the boil, leaving nothing for the cookware industry to sell.About salad, Adler writes, that "it just needs to provide tonic to duller flavors, to sharpen a meal's edges, help define where one taste stops and another begins." Who knew? I feel as if I have a whole new perspective on salad and will look at it with fresh eyes. My other problem is her statement that everything is better salted. While the average human can use (needs!) moderate amounts of salt, a lot of us are getting far too much; a significant population develops hypertension when they eat too much salt. I’d prefer to see most things prepared without much salt, if any, and those who need it can add it at the table. Simple enough to just ignore her statements about salt and not put it in when following her recipes, but I’m not sure the world needs a voice telling it that such and such NEEDS salt. Adler helps jump-start your creative process with easy ideas for even the most specific bits and bobs." — Real Simple

Swift Press | An Everlasting Meal

It wasn't far into the book that I decided that I simply MUST have a copy to call my very own. Not long after that, I realized that one of the reasons I loved this book so much is that it reminds me of my grandmother. Tamar cooks with the grace & love that my grandmother did, and that she passed along to me. It’s really as though no one ever says: it is very worth liking to cook, and you’ve not got to love it. Cooking doesn’t have to be a great production. Often the best meals are assemblages of what’s there. Half my book may be delicately, and hopefully enjoyably, worded permission to be the hungry people we are without feeling as though we’re forced to choose to be gourmands or ascetics.Those are the fundamentals: cook your meat until it’s done, not a minute longer. If your broth tastes too thin, let it go on cooking; if it’s too salty, water it down. Humorless, pretentious, preachy, and nearly every chapter starts with "M.F.K. Fisher says..." Adler immediately states that Fisher is an influence, but in my opinion, she does not add anything new or unique to the dialogue about thoughtful, economical, and graceful cooking. Not being familiar with her any of previous work, her authoritarian tone (e.g., "Children must help shell peas.") was off-putting. I would much rather read Nigel Slater, Simon Hopkinson, Fergus Henderson, Melissa Clark, Mark Bittman, Deborah Madison, or even Alice Waters, who gives a glowing review of Adler's book, but oddly enough, I find less offensive...perhaps because I am familiar with her works.

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