Admittedly, I'm not much for cookbooks. I'll peruse them when I'm at the library or in a bookstore, but there are very few I own and very few I want to own. You could blame it partly on my age: like many other things, I get most of my recipes from the interweb. But it also has something to do with my high expectations. A proper cookbook must have good pictures. It must use ingredients that I can actually buy. It must spell everything out clearly yet simply.
But An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler is even better than all. It isn't a cookbook, per se. It's a book about cooking, eating and living well. And it's beautiful.
The subtitle explains it completely: Cooking with Economy and Grace. It's divided into chapters ("How to Stride Ahead," "How to Teach an Egg to Fly") that outline and address different aspects of cooking: working with eggs, with vegetables; creating salads; rescuing meals from what seems like ruin; how to make one meal fold into another. There are recipes scattered throughout (like the end-of-the-week vegetable curry on page 51) but it isn't just recipes. Because recipes aren't everything when it comes to cooking.
Every part of it is delightful, especially the prose. Tamar Adler has more than just a gift for cooking; she has a gift for words.
If I were only going to own three books about cooking, it would be these: Simply in Season, Good to the Grain and An Everlasting Meal. I cannot recommend it enough.
Visit Tamar Adler's website for more about her and about the book.