Taking the House by Storm

The trials and tribulations of the average gal trying to navigate through life, love and the pursuit of domestic bliss.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One of the Best Cookbooks Ever

Pam Anderson’s How to Cook Without a Book is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. I have plenty – some that I’ve never even made the first recipe out of yet. And not because they’re not good – they’re just not practical.

There are certain ingredients one may or may not have on hand that one needs for a recipe that you might find in, say, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And I want to master it, believe me I do. I just don’t always have the time – or the foie gras – at 7 o’clock on a weeknight.

What I do have the time and ingredients for are the techniques and anti-recipes found in Ms. Anderson’s book. It’s divided into sections like:

• One Easy Formula, Many Supper Soups
• The Big and Bigger Frittata
• Weeknight Ravioli and Lasagna
• If You’ve Made One Sauté, You’ve Made Them All
• If You Can Sauté, You Can Sear
• Simple Ways with Simple Sides
• Spur-of-the-Moment Appetizers

The basic premise is: keep it simple. Ms. Anderson even goes so far as to create mnemonic rhymes so that, eventually, you won’t even need the book anymore. You’ll just recite these little ditties to remember the techniques and create accordingly.

Sadly, I haven’t used it with enough regularity to go that far, but it still comes in extremely handy and is as easy as could be to use.

In a pinch, all I have to do is take out a piece of fish or meat I’ve defrosted, sauté it in a pan and create some sort of pan sauce based on ingredients I already happen to have in either the kitchen or the pantry. How freakin’ awesome is that?

Then all I have to do is whip up a side of either couscous or rice pilaf (something I never, ever made before getting this book. hard to believe, considering how unbelievably easy and tasty it is to make) and open a can or nuke a box of some sort of vegetable. And voilá – a pretty decent meal in the neighborhood of 30 minutes. Take that, Rachel.


  • At 8:09 AM, Blogger Cara said…

    Hey, you're a posting machine! Good job.

    Thanks for giving this book to me for a gift. I thought it was a great cookbook, too. I'll have to get it back out and check out the rhymes so I don't have to depend on the book. My memory is shot.

  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger divaqueen said…

    I am getting this cookbook ASAP! I need all the help I can get!!

  • At 9:28 PM, Blogger meauxjeaux said…

    Rick told me I should post every day – a little too ambitious for my blood. ;) Cara, glad you like the book. Jean, you won't be disappointed, sister!


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