Saturday, January 31, 2015
Living the Pantry Lifestyle: A cookbook edition
It is time to do another show and tell, sharing my favorite cookbooks to use with the Pantry Lifestyle. As I have written so often, I have come to find knowing how to cook can be just as important as stocking the pantry.
I'm still learning a lot about cooking and baking. For instance, I made chili this past week pretty much as I have made it since I found a recipe I liked in one of Beverly Nye's cookbooks as a bride. But it has been tweaked over the years as I learned more about cooking.
I brown the ground beef until it is nice and brown now and then remove it. I add a little bit of oil and then add the onions, peppers, and... spices. Then slowly cook until all is nice and almost caramelized. All of this in preparation for adding back the beef and the remaining ingredients. All techniques learned through the years with the same recipe (minus the can of soup these days) but oh so much deeper in flavor.
So to help you along in your gaining of knowledge, here are some of the cookbooks that I have found helpful. All links are Amazon Associate links which means, should you make a purchase after clicking on them I receive a tiny percentage and it cost neither of us anything but a little extra time. If you want to know more about any cookbook, you will usually find a lot of information at Amazon.
Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry is a book I had heard good things about and tuned in to a cooking show when I saw on a promo that they were going to interview the author in her home. So I decided to use credit to purchase it sight unseen (something I rarely do these days).
I absolutely love this book and I think you would, too. It is a huge book with a lot of teaching about technique and recipes for all kinds of "putting up" foods for your pantry from the basics of jams and jellies, to pickling, to making your own cheese, and much more. And she makes it all look so easy (which she says most of the time, "putting up" is quite easy).
More info... here.
I ordered this as part of Mr. & Mrs. Christopher's Christmas this year with Amazon credit. They know I have it but since both are crazy busy with work at the moment, I feel no shame in keeping it to read for a couple of weeks.
This is an amazing book, exactly what I wanted to find for them as it teaches everything from setting up your pantry, organizing your kitchen, lots of how-to recipes and cooking techniques, and even shares how to host parties.
It is written by the people at the website The Kitchn (not a typo) and while written for the 20-somethings just starting out... this grandmother is learning a thing or two. It is absolutely beautiful and full of photos. Hmmm... I may have to get my own copy of this book. ;)
I purchased this book for the Kindle at a great price, trying to decide between it and the above book for a gift (the gift would have been the hardback version). It is written by the long time chef of the famous Chez Panisse restaurant (founded by Alice Waters).
The idea for the book came when the chef's oldest son left for college and he realized his son didn't know the basics of cooking, which he believes is essential for everyone. So this book is easy to read and to understand for it is very much a book from father to son... and everyone else wanting to know the basics of great cooking. Not fancy smancy but just good food using the freshest of ingredients.
This book will get read and re-read by me and will most likely end up purchased as a gift for a future birthday. Oh... the premise is that there are just twelve basic recipes (and techniques) that one builds on to be a great cook.
I was asked if a fairly new cook could use Jerusalem, the answer is yes! My copy of this wonderful book resides in Mr. & Mrs. Christopher's kitchen as I'm encouraging them to try the easier recipes.
If you love good Middle Eastern food, you will love this book. If you just enjoy reading good cookbooks, you will love this book. You may know that the authors co-own a few restaurants which started in London. You may not know that one is Palestinian and the other Jewish and they grew up in Jerusalem at the same time but for obvious reasons... never met.
This book is a visual love letter to their hometown's food and culture. Many of these dishes trace back to Biblical times. It is full of the kinds of food children would have grown up eating (very easy to make) as well as more complex dishes. I had no trouble finding spices locally (like sumac) but if you decide you want to try some of the dishes with authentic spices, they are available online. And many can be prepared without authentic spices. Highly recommended! I know I can visit my copy any time. ;)
Info... here. Oh, there is a great section on hummus alone. They believe world peace can be found through a perfect recipe for hummus. ;)
I bought a copy of this book for myself two years ago and loved it so much, I bought a copy for my young granddaughter (and fellow cookbook lover) for her birthday. Her mom (my daughter) loved it so much that she bought a copy for one of her friend's birthdays. She thought (as do I) that it is one of the most beautiful cookbooks she has ever read.
Clodagh is an Irish cook whose PBS show I have enjoyed very much. This book is full of ideas about stocking a pantry, preserving food, entertaining, afternoon tea time, and lots of great recipes! This is definitely one of my favorite cookbooks in a quite large collection.
More info... here.
I have written about this before but it is the best book I ever read about cooking. Not really a cookbook (although it has recipes) but about how one thinks of food and putting it all together to feed and nourish people. Love it.
Hearth & Home is well known in homeschool circles, one of the very best books for a combination of reading about cooking, building up a pantry, healthy foods, etc. I know I have written about it before but it also deserves another recommendation.
No photos, very simple. Enough prose one can curl up with it and read it as a novel... and I have!
I recommend any books by Tessa Kiros but I think my favorite is Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes. For in it she shares photos and recipes from the parts of the world where her parents and grandparents are from, her husband's heritage, and the places where they have lived.
The books are always beautiful, the recipes easy to understand, and this is the kind of cookbook you can curl up with in a cozy chair and enjoy. I will say if you do not have good eyesight, then it is difficult to read Apples For Jam unless in good light. For it was written when it was all the rage to print prose and recipes in the lightest shades of grey. I think publishers have gotten over that after enough complaints from those of us no longer in our twenties!
Info on Falling Cloudberries is... here. Then you can find her other books from that page. Many have been out for a long enough period of time that they are very reasonable purchased used.
I have found the best deals on cookbooks at library sales, thrift stores, garage sales, and used on Amazon. Although cookbooks and books about the pantry are at the top of my list for using Amazon credit even before they plunge in price (which cookbooks often do after a few years).
I am certain this provides enough perusing for awhile!