An Everlasting Read

One of my longest-running habits is reading at night before I go to bed. I usually have three or four books running at the same time. Aside from whatever newish book I’ve got going, I’ve usually got an L.M. Montgomery paperback on the nightstand:

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Another of my favorite types of books to read at night are cookbooks. As much as I love picture-heavy, food-porny type cookbooks, the ones with lots of text are the best. For two years, my go-to food reading at night Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal:

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I’m a fairly slow reader, but the book is actually taking a long time to finish because I like to save it for when I’m in a self-pitying funk and need some comforting cheer. Her recipes are incredibly simple, and refreshingly free of trendy ingredients and culinary buzzwords. Here’s the beginning of one of her recipes:

“The pot was invented 10,000 years ago, and a simmering one has been a symbol of a well-tended hearth every since. I don’t mean to suggest that now that you have been reminded of the age and goodness of a pot of water, you start boiling everything in your kitchen, but that instead of trying to figure out what to do about dinner, you put a big pot of water on the stove, light the burner under it, and then, as soon as it’s on its way to getting hot, start looking for things to put in it. Once you do, you will have dropped yourself, in a single gesture, directly into the middle of cooking a meal, jostled by your faith and will a few steps closer to dinner…”

Boil some water, then put stuff in it. Great, right? I also like the book because she advocates bread as a part of a healthful meal. But I appreciate the book best of all because she’s bringing back a great vocabulary word to apply to food: “wholesome.” Anything that isn’t overly processed, and has a few simple ingredients can be classified as wholesome, which allows me to reframe my sometimes weird eating choices completely. “What a wholesome snack,” I say to myself as I shove the fourth shortbread cookie of the day into my mouth. Carrots, a hardboiled egg and some bread and butter are suddenly a wholesome midday meal, and not just the scraps I’ve scavenged in a bout of breastfeeding-induced ravenous hunger. Thanks, Tamar.

-C

Excerpt originally posted here.

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3 thoughts on “An Everlasting Read

  1. I am with you on the “wholesome” thing. I used to run screaming from anything in a can or jar out of an unexamined fear of “processed foods,” but if it’s just organic tomatoes some machine has mashed up, it couldn’t be so bad, right?

    • Oh totally. My winter meal planning got so much easier once I realized frozen and canned foods really aren’t messed with a whole lot before preservation.

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