“An Everlasting Meal" by Tamar Adler - a Review

I am a member of The Kitchen Reader – a great foodie online book club.  Every month we read a designated book, food writing rather than recipes, and review it on our blogs.  When I saw that October’s book was, “An Everlasting Meal – Cooking with Economy and Grace” by Tamar (good Cornish name!) Adler I was in two minds whether to read it or not.  On the plus side it is Just My Sort of Thing being about the use of leftovers, both incidental and planned, on the minus side I didn't want it to influence my own book  in any way.  

Everything worked out perfectly however because although I ordered the book some while ago it only arrived yesterday – two days after sending my own manuscript off to my publishers.

Even better because of its late arrival I had a good excuse to lie around all day reading!  And what did I think?  Read on …

I was hooked pretty well from the start when Ms. Adler said in the introduction how much she loves M.F.K. Fisher’s book “How to Cook a Wolf” and had modelled “An Everlasting Meal” on it.  Well, as M.F.K. is one of the World’s bestest food writers ever (see here for my review of her “The Art of Eating”) this sounded promising.

a good read
I find I agree very much with pretty well everything else she says too with one very minor exception.  She states in her section on eggs (written so enticingly I immediately had an egg for lunch!) that Frittatas in Italian and Tortillas in Spanish are called “egg pies” in English.  Well I have been English for bloody ages and have never heard of such a thing in that respect but only, on only perhaps, when referring to a quiche like dish!  Pernickety of me or what?

Tamar Adler’s writing style in unusual and attractive, she says that “beets … have their own way of being” and that “Capers are odd and wild as birds”!  Her chapter “How to Paint without Brushes” on learning about food from its touch, its smell and its sound is spot on.  As she so rightly says, something is ready when you taste it and “don’t wonder”.  Of course this does take time but is so very, very worth it.

“An Everlasting Meal” is different to my own leftovers book; it is a really good read, something to take to bed with you and enjoy (maybe just jumping up occasionally to cook an egg) whereas my own is a handbook to keep in the kitchen and refer to whenever a leftover occurs. Our thinking, however, is very much the same and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants so learn how to cook from the soul.

On the same theme here is someone else I agree with …

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”
Julia Child

crisp tortilla cup filled with creamy baked eggs

About my Egg ...

I've had a few torn flour tortillas in the fridge for a while so made myself a baked egg in a tortilla nest. Its easy – grease a ramekin and encourage a torn tortilla into it to form a cup. Break in an egg and top with a spoonful of cream (or in my case leftover Alfredo sauce - easy recipe for this gorgeous sauce here). Pop in a medium oven till the edge of the tortilla is crisp and golden, the white is set and the yolk is still soft. I baked a couple of tortilla wedges alongside, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.


Speaking of Cookbooks ...

My book mentioned above was published in March, 2013. Originally titled The Leftovers Handbook a second edition is now available and is called
Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers. In it I give all the information, ideas and recipes I can think of for over 450 possible leftovers.


Jenny Eatwell said...

I must investigate this book, as she sounds right up my street too! As for your lunch - now I know what to use those two leftover wraps for! :)

Stacy Spensley said...

I love her descriptions (and capers), and another one that captured me was: "Minestrone is much more than a bean soup; it is the complete expression of the bean's generosity, its raison d' etre."

Glad to read your perspective!

s said...

Yes that's a lovely one too. She seems to have close relationships with her ingredients!

Sarah said...

Yes, Adler has a quirky but lovely writing style. While we are on the topic of beans, thanks to Stacy, I liked the story about her stay in a convent in Mexico, where the first course of dinner was plain bean broth. "The broth was so pure and simple, the air seemed to thin as we ate."

How exciting that your manuscript is now done! Hooray!

Iris said...

Mmm I'm going to have to try that egg in a tortilla cup some time. Excited to read your book next year!