COOKBOOK GETS SALTED: FOOD52: A NEW WAY TO DINNER
We examine the cookbook that simplifies everyday cooking.
We try out some of the make-in-bulk-for-days
of-mixing-matching-and-riffing recipes in Food52: A New Way to Dinner—a Playbook of
Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead.
“We actually do most of our cooking on the weekends,” say the authors of Food52: A New Way to Dinner, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. As parents and business owners, they understand all too well the perils of committing to home-cooked dinners. TV chefs and dieticians the world over ramble on about cooking your own meals as the holy grail of healthy living, but that is hardly the case in reality: after enduring a stressful day at work, you come home to a mound of unpeeled vegetables, half-thawed chicken, and day-old leftovers. At this point, some of us give up and eat out.
But not these two. Hesser and Stubbs have come together to start a kitchen revolution. And it begins with acknowledging that one simply can’t cook from scratch every day. Advance preparation is key. It’s not a new concept, but Hesser and Stubs do introduce the concept of modular cooking—ingredients and dishes that can be eaten fresh, kept for a later date, or combined with other available ingredients to create entirely new dishes. As Stubbs puts it, this cookbook features recipes that can “bear the burden of being stretched and poked and prodded” to adapt to different situations.
The techniques used here are not new. Braising, toasting, baking, and assembly are just some of the time- and effort-saving methods employed.
Cooking at home is also as much a logistical operation as it is a gastronomic one, and Food52: A New Way to Dinner recognises this. The book also recommends a list of “cheat items” to always have on hand: sausages, crusty bread, eggs, and good quality chocolate—these items require little to no preparation and will help stretch menus and elevate dishes. Liven up your Turbo Jook with some sausage and egg, or soak up the lovely Oxtail Stew with a hunk of old bread. Shave some chocolate over your Coconut Dream Bars for added oomph.