Small Town Simple

The Simplicity Adventures of a Mother and Daughter

A Page From An Everlasting Meal

Small Town Simple

Tamar Adler had me with her extended title, Cooking with Economy and Grace.  I loved those words and what they represented.  I immediately reflected on some meals of my grandmothers; simple, humble, satisfying.  So when I read about this book, quite some time ago, on Carmella Rayone’s blog, Assortment, I knew this was a book I would appreciate.  But this isn’t a book review.  I wanted to put into practice what Tamar shared within her pages – cooking is simple, it is rewarding to prepare and enjoy food created by our own hands and nothing should go to waste.

I’ve always enjoyed cooking.  But these days I am really trying to be present in the moment of preparation.  Sounds rather silly, doesn’t it?  But I’m thinking, if I can slow down and enjoy the process of cooking, then I can slow down and really taste my food, appreciate a glass of Merlot, savor the time set aside for a meal.  But I digress…

Because my budget has been tight over the past three years, nothing should go to waste was a driving thought for me.  How can I make sure that what I purchase for consumption is used, not thrown away?  When we throw out food, for whatever reason, we are literally throwing our money away.  And I simply didn’t have the extra cash to be so cavalier about my food.  So I’ve worked at this thought of nothing should go to waste. 

A couple of weeks ago I must admit, I was preparing one of those boxed pasta/rice salads for my lunch.  Once the bag of cooked contents was removed from the pot of boiling water, I was left with the most delicious aromatic broth.  Typically, we would just toss that broth, right?  But I looked up from my steamy pot and saw An Everlasting Meal and I remember what Tamar had advised; “Great meals rarely start at points that all look like beginnings.  They usually pick up where something else leaves off….”  So I took the broth, brought it back to a boil, added some dried beans and cooked those.  I usually cook beans with water but not this time.  And the result was delicious.

A meal was made from some leftover tortellini, a small chicken breast, and a quarter of a left over avocado.  I cubed the chicken, tossed it in a little olive oil to cook, added the tortellini and avocado and a nice dinner was created.  And while I prepared my feast, I opted to leave off the news, enjoy the quiet, smell the aromas and then enjoy my meal.  After a day of noise, heat and humidity, I treated my meal like a feast.

So there it is.  Look for ways, and we know there are many, to take yesterday’s food to create tomorrow’s meal.  It is a lovely way to cook with economy and grace.

xo, Carolyn

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