The other day, Philip Brewer, one of my favorite finance bloggers, posted on how cooking at home saves time as well as money. This was not news to me or to others who love to cook at home. For those who do not like to cook--and I wrote an earlier post on my sister-in-law's inefficient and expensive shopping and cooking--Brewer's point might be as mystifying as vectors might be to me.
It is worth your while to learn, however. I am a ridiculously un-domestic person, whose cleaning, organizing, and laundry habits would horrify most (including my sister-in-law, who is a model of efficiency and skill in these other areas). Still, I have learned to do it, the slow and painful way, starting with Julia Child. I remember working for several hours and presenting Mr. FS with a zucchini dish. I was too exhausted to do anything else.
Brewer mentions learning to cook from books and mentions a few--such as The Joy of Cooking. Cooking from books can be frustrating: not all recipes are well-tested, for one thing, and, The Joy of Cooking and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything have thousands of recipes. Where to begin? The paradox of choice once more.
In my comment on Brewer's post, I mentioned one candidate for the cookbook to start with if you are totally clueless. Actually, I mentioned a cookbook writer: Marian Burros, who used to be the restaurant critic for the New York Times. The book I would start with is Keep it Simple: Thirty Minute Meals from Scratch.
This book is easy to find used, in your library, and even on paperbackswap.com.
Burros is not kidding. She has an excellent palate. Her recipes always come out. In fact, two years ago, Miss Em decided to visit her food-loving grandfather a bit earlier than the rest of us. She wanted to cook for him. I gave her a pile of cookbooks from which to copy recipes and she chose many from this book. This is a book that will give you confidence for the future.
Burros gives you a list of pantry staples and cooking equipment. Each menu has a list of staples and a shopping list. She provides a "game plan."
Most of her menus include a main dish, two sides, and dessert. I confess I usually stick to main dish and one side.
Here are a few sample dishes: chicken in lime, cinnamon chicken,snapper in orange sauce, zucchini and rotini, pork chops with apple, cabbage, cumin.
There are fewer than 60 menus, thereby minimizing the paralysis of choice, and EVERYTHING IS GOOD. There's even a quickie Thanksgiving menu.
If anyone is interested, I'll post a few of the recipes.
What is your favorite learn-how-to-cook book?