Cookbooks to help get out of a home cooking rut
October 19, 2020 1:51 PM   Subscribe

I am feeling uninspired by my kitchen and cookbook shelf and would love pandemic-friendly cookbook recommendations. Have you recently found a cookbook that has improved your eat at home all the time life? I’m particularly interested in ones with recipes that don’t require a full summer vegetable/herb garden (because it’s snowing right now) or stops at multiple grocery stores.
posted by Maarika to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I've really been enjoying Dinner by Melissa Clark. All of the recipes have been great*, and all have pretty easy to source ingredients. There's definitely a nod to seasonality--it's veg-forward, but not blindingly so.

I also have a preorder in for East by Meera Sodha and I'm really excited to get started with it--details to come when I've cooked more.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 2:03 PM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Alex Guarnaschelli's Cook With Me comes out today, I believe, and is home-cook oriented. I plan to pick it up because it seems like the kind of food I can easily plan for in my normal grocery/delivery runs.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:17 PM on October 19, 2020

Oh, I forgot to explain the asterisk in my first comment - every recipe has been great, but ONE, which was edible but a little bland. It was definitely the exception that proves the rule, highlighting how much we enjoyed everything else.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 2:23 PM on October 19, 2020

I love Maggie Green's Essential Pantry as well as The Essential Plant-Based Pantry. Both books walk you through the process of streamlining and stocking your pantry so that you can make any of the recipes with the addition of easily available fresh ingredients. Her simple and flavorful recipes are standards in our house.
posted by GeorgieYeats at 2:39 PM on October 19, 2020

We've been enjoying Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter by Nigel Slater. Simple, interesting recipes using seasonal produce. We've found everything we've needed at our standard grocery store, but he also generally provides alternatives for less common ingredients.
posted by cimton at 2:42 PM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm enjoying Half Baked Harvest lately on Insta. She does have cookbooks, and if they are anything like her website, they'd probably be good. I've got a couple on hold at the library to have a flip through.
posted by Ftsqg at 2:52 PM on October 19, 2020

Take a look at Budget Bytes' meal plans.

They are PDFs, so if you want it to be a physical book you'll need to print it out. I like them because the recipes are practical, use a lot of staple ingredients you might already have on hand, and are usually pretty tasty. You can look at all the recipes included.
posted by wondermouse at 3:19 PM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Jacques Pepin's latest cookbook, Quick & Simple, just came out a few days ago. Does what it says on the cover.
posted by briank at 6:43 PM on October 19, 2020

Ottolenghi’s simple fits the bill and is full of so many quick and scrumptious recipes!
posted by beignet at 1:18 AM on October 20, 2020

The last week, I have been re-reading some of my cookbooks, and for your purposes, the River Cottage books stand out. The recipes are very simple to cook and to eat. He rarely uses unusual ingredients, and though they are vegetable forward, I have often used vegs from the freezer instead of fresh and they worked just fine.
Books that are on my current wish-list: Samin Nosrat's "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" and Fuchshia Dunlop's "The Food of Sichuan". Specially the latter probably doesn't fit your requirements because you have to order some stuff online if you don't live in a big city, but I've been trying to cook some of the recipes she has put out on Serious Eats and The Guardian, and it has been quite the revelation.
Samin Nosrat seems to be such a sweet person, and her way of thinking is an inspiration. You could listen to the podcast instead of buying the book.
Nigella Lawson has a new book out, and hers are usually very easy to use as well.
posted by mumimor at 4:01 AM on October 20, 2020

This is a little out of left field, but Eduard De Pomiane's Cooking in 10 minutes, while I only cook about half the recipes from it, is so full of hilarity and Joie de Vivre and ways to enjoy hurried 2am depression meals that it always gets me in a cooking mood. I second all the recommendations for Nigel Slater and would add in the Abel and Cole veg box cookbook for being organised very simply by main vegetable involved, Rukmini Iyer's Roasting Tin cookbooks (most of which involve everyday ingredients), and Nadiya Hussain's Time to Eat which is fabulously simple, affordable and creative/tasty. Ottolenghi and Nigel Slater also both have columns in the Guardian which you can read for tons of free recipes and seeing if you like their style - I heartily second the recommendations for them
posted by MarianHalcombe at 4:20 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal was very inspirational for me. Her premise is to use up every last scrap of food, which I find to be a good skill in the Pandemic. She does advocate preparing/roasting all of the veg that you buy at the Farmer's market right when you get it home, which then she spins into different meals throughout the week. I don't go to the Farmer's Market, but can use the same techinques with my store-bought veg. As a bonus, I really enjoy her writing style.
posted by sarajane at 5:59 AM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thanks so much, everyone! I marked some favorites for books I was able to reserve from my library and other leads.
posted by Maarika at 6:44 PM on October 20, 2020

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