The Salt Lake City Public Library has something called the "Lucky Day Collection" - recent books that are highly sought after, and which can only be found by going to the library. They're not even listed in the library's online catalog. My mother the librarian (yes, really) thinks this is an incredible idea. And I like it because I know I can walk in the front door and find an absolute gem.
What is it about library books? Libraries promote themselves as the free alternative to bookstores, but I just find more and more books I want to own. This is emphatically one of those books.
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace is the cookbook to read when you're burned out on cookbooks. It's not a cookbook so much as it is a very readable treatise on how to prepare the humblest of foods gloriously. It is practical and well thought out, helping us to remember we don't have to waste food, and indeed, some food tastes far better when you keep it for the next meal instead of throwing it away. An Everlasting Meal goes beyond being budget friendly, or environmentally friendly. It gently reminds us that we probably already have all the ingredients for a delicious meal, if we will just take a moment to think things through.
Besides all this, Adler has incredible insight into the ingredients themselves. At once advocating thrift, she reminds us that the best meat, eggs, and milk come from animals who have really lived, not animals who are crammed into cages and fed things they were never meant to eat. While we might have to pay more for good meat, with her suggestions, we can make it go much further than a steak that is gobbled up in a single meal.
From soups, to beans, to vegetables, to meat, to what to do with all sorts of little odds and ends that seem to accumulate in any kitchen, this book finds a place for all of it. It is full of excellent advice without being preachy, something I find remarkable in itself. It is full of pearls of wisdom, not only about how to prepare food, but how to enjoy it. I'll leave you with just one:
"You, of course, are not I, and it must be from someplace in you, not this book, that you serve...Only remember what is plainly and always true: the act of serving fulfills itself. It doesn't matter what you serve."