I’ve already alluded to the fact that I cannot cook. Not only can I NOT cook. I do not LIKE cooking. I find it to be boring andcan think of several things I would rather do with my time. With that said, I do understand that I need too eat and the best and cheapest way for me to do this is to cook my own food.
For the most part, I eat at home and keep my food super simple. Pasta, baked potatoes, salads, and things like that. The food is nothing to write home about and is usually pretty blah in general but it gets the job done in that it feeds me.
My biggest issue is that I don’t even know the basics of cooking. I don’t know what simple foods go together to make a nice delicious meal. Enter Mark Bittman‘s brilliant How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Bittman gives you the basics and in most cases gives you several different ways to do it. For instance, you learn to do an oil and pasta dish and he then gives you 10 other ways to do that. Vegetables that can be prepared and added to it or maybe a slight variation or spice that can be added to the dish to change it up a bit.
Bittman starts from the beginning telling me what items you need to have in your kitchen and pantry just to get by. To those that like to cook, this might sound stupid but for someone like me I did not even know what the basics were. I always need to run to the store for things that I should already have in my kitchen. I’m slowly stocking up and I can already see the difference. I’m finding myself just making stuff up as I go. The other night I made a simple pasta dish without a real recipe just using what I had in my pantry. Go me!
There’s another thing that I love about Bittman. He’s not a food snob. While I try to buy fresh it’s not always feasible for me. As a single woman I find that food often goes bad before I eat it all. Sometimes, I just can’t make it to the store for more fresh veggies or don’t have time to make beans. At other times, I’m just flat out busy and need to make a quick dinner. Bittman acknowledges this and even admits that frozen veggies, while not ideal, are not the end of the world.
He also lets you know which foods are ok to make ahead and advocates freezing food for future use.
I found that most of his food was well within my bounds of culinary expertise and simple. If I want to jazz it up I can. If I just want to do a simple rice and tofu I’m capable of that and it will taste delicious. The biggest thing is that I’m learning how to cook. I’m slowly learning what to do with that pile of vegetables that someone hands me.
That alone is worth the cost of this cookbook.
GeekGirl Rating: A+