a couple weeks ago, i asked for suggestions for a good new cookbook to order. jasmine and clotilde both gave me some excellent suggestions, but in the end i ended up going with one that i’d never heard of before mostly because the concept fit my needs. more than i need a ton of recipes, i need somewhere to start learning how to understand food, how it behaves, what happens when you cook it this way verses this other way, flavor matching, etc etc, all combined with small serving size recipes.
these, let me tell you, are so hard to find! it seems like every cookbook i look at that has the information i want has recipes for serving a family of 5. or, the books with smaller serving sizes are incredibly unappealing — they have novelty recipes (generally supposed to be “sexy”, since apparently lingerie is no longer enough of an aphrodisiac, oh no, now i have to cook aphrodisiac foods IN lingerie and buy expensive wine and take out a third mortgage to afford said ingredients and wine in order to have a romantic evening) and no practical tips whatsoever.
believe you me, i know. i spent lots of time trolling through table of contents, user reviews, and recommendations at various book sources online, not to mention going down to the bookstore and flipping through their (affordable) stock.
so when i finally found Solo Suppers, i was pretty freaking excited! from the table of contents, i liked the look of the sections — i could not resist the idea of an Eggs & Cheese section. from the snippet of introduction text online, it appeared to be not only sensibly laid out, but have sensible tips and sensible (read: affordable) ingredients that don’t involve food that may or may not actually be aphrodisiacs and cooking in lingerie. and i know, i know, it’s only meant to make meals for one, but i figure i can either a) make two or b) inflate the recipe a bit. we don’t tend to eat large portion sizes anyway.
and now that it’s actually (finally!) come in the mail, i’m thrilled to have it.
one of the very first sections? keeping wine fresh! how useful is that? she’s got a “conversion chart” for leftovers (reheat techniques, or recreation tips), and just looking through the first section (sauces) i discovered that each sauce is accompanied with techniques for using it that are not limited to what to serve it on — oh no. thin it out, thicken it up, freeze it, fridge it, simmer it — the suggestions just keep on coming.