I grew up in was what was then considered an average-sized family of six, with parents from even larger families. They remembered living through the Depression and, in our household, food was not something that was ever wasted. Recently, my sister told me of a friend remarking on the fact that my sister’s family ate “leftovers,” implying that leftovers weren’t “fresh” and therefore somehow not “food.” I’m not certain where this belief came from or how it’s become common thinking but, intentional leftovers are a cook’s best strategy when eating locally on a daily basis.
In her previous book, The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food, Judith Jones describes what she did with the leftovers the week after a dinner party in a section called “The Nine Lives of a Leg of Lamb”. Her new book expands on this notion and, in addition to its focus on the idea of cooking for oneself, is equally useful for those interested in the forgotten art of how to cook for more than one meal at a time.
The legendary editor of some of the world’s greatest cooks, Judith Jones, talks about
THE PLEASURES OF COOKING FOR ONE
RiverRun Bookstore, 20 Congress Street, Portsmouth
Monday, March 8th at 7 p.m.
We’re thrilled to be hosting legendary editor Judith Jones. She has edited some of the world’s greatest cooks, including Julia Child and James Beard, and is the author of The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food. Her new book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One, is a book as passionate as it is practical.
Here, in convincing fashion, Judith Jones demonstrates that cooking for yourself presents unparalleled possibilities for both pleasure and experimentation: you can utilize whatever ingredients appeal, using farmers’ markets and specialty shops to enrich your palate and improve your health; you can feel free to fail, since a meal for one doesn’t have to be perfect; and you can use leftovers to innovate—in the course of a week, the remains of beef bourguignon might be reimagined as a ragù, pork tenderloin may become a stir-fry, a cup or two of wild rice produces both a refreshing pilaf and a rich pancake, and red snapper can be reinvented as a summery salad. It’s a fulfilling and immensely economical process, one perfectly suited for our times—although, as Jones points out, cooking for one also means we can occasionally indulge ourselves in a favorite treat.
Throughout, Jones is both our instructor and our mentor, suggesting basic recipes—such as tomato sauce, preserved lemons, pesto, and homemade stock—that all cooks should have on hand; teaching us how to improvise using an ingenious strategy of building meals through the week; and supplying us with a lifetime’s worth of tips and shortcuts. From Child’s advice for buying fresh meat to Beard’s challenge to beginning crêpe-makers and Lidia Bastianich’s tips for cooking perfectly sauced pasta, Jones’s book presents a wealth of acquired knowledge from our finest cooks.
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