Between the Lines – November 2018

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Something’s Cooking
    There’s something about the cooler temperatures and shorter days of autumn that sends our thoughts to the kitchen. Before heading to the kitchen, check out some of this season’s newest cookbooks.
    Two of the most highly anticipated cookbooks – Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ina Garten’s Cook Like a Pro – have just been released. Both follow the tradition of the authors’ previous volumes by presenting beautifully photographed, delicious, and easy-to-follow recipes. In Simple, Ottelenghi’s seventh cookbook, the London-based chef focuses on recipes that can be pulled together in 30 minutes without sacrificing the innovative, middle-eastern flavors for which he’s known. Garten (a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa) has a legion of fans who propelled her 10 previous books to the bestseller list. In Cook Like a Pro, Garten shares the professional tips she’s picked up over the years to make cooking and entertaining low-stress affairs.
    If comfort food is what you’re after, look no further than Home Cooking by Kate McDermott. Satisfying, no-fuss meals that can be made with ingredients found in most home kitchens take center stage in this collection. Think Sunday roast chicken suppers, hearty soups and stews, and vegetable shepherd’s pie. Most of these recipes can be doubled and frozen for later use, making it easier than ever for busy people to serve home-cooked meals.
    Most people don’t associate swimsuit models with food, so it may come as a surprise that Chrissy Teigen has just released her second cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More. Here, Teigen shares family-friendly recipes such as Cool Ranch Taco Salad and Simple Skillet Broken Lasagna. Personally, I was hooked as soon as I flipped through the pages and landed on a chapter titled “Potatoes & Their Friends.”
    The people of Stowel Lake Farm in British Columbia have built a community of like-minded individuals who have lived and worked together on the farm since the early 2000s. Stowel Lake Farm also hosts a retreat center renowned for its farm-to-table organic cuisine. Seven Seasons on Stowel Lake Farm is a compilation of both the stories and recipes from this vibrant community and, perhaps, just the escape we need in our increasingly polarized times.
    Recent trends in cookbooks highlight the culture and history of place along with recipes. Bottom of the Pot, by Naz Deravian, is a perfect example of how by sharing food traditions we can learn about other cultures. Deravian is a Persian American who, as a young child, fled her homeland with her family in 1980. In Bottom of the Pot, she rekindles the culinary memories of her childhood and presents them to a wider audience looking to learn about and enjoy the rich food traditions of Iran. Similarly, Porto, by Gabriealla Opaz and Sonia Andresson Nolasco, pays homage to the stories and culinary traditions of Portugal’s historic Bolhao Market.
    Food can bridge cultural divides and reflect what a society values most. The Best American Food Writing 2018, edited by Ruth Reichel, does just that with a collection of food-related essays that shine light on our history, politics, and entertainment. Before watching the Warriors take to the court, you may want to read the essay, “The NBA’s Secret Sandwich Addiction.” Then grab a PB&J and enjoy the game.

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