This afternoon my sister, my cousin and I went on one of those delightful, purposeless strolls through uptown Minneapolis, wandering in and out of used bookstores, examining kitchen utensils in specialty stores, and perusing the spice crates at Penzey's flagship store on Hennepin Avenue.
Now that she has graduated from college and moved out on her own, my sister needs a cookbook. I am very particular about cookbooks, and had had my eye on one in particular for a while: Mark Bittman's large yellow tome, How to Cook Everything. I found a copy for my sister, and presented her with her first cookbook just in time for dinner preparation.
We found a recipe for Simple Bean Croquettes on p. 521 and another for Tomato-Onion Salsa on p. 772. They made a simple, fresh dinner, along with a simple salad of fresh greens and a broccoli au gratin.
Before we started, I read the book's introduction out loud to my sister, and a few words stood out for me:
For all but the poorest Americans, there remains an embarrassment of riches when it comes to food. We are able to scorn leftovers, to buy almost every food pre-prepared--even salad!--to eat out daily, to rely heavily on frozen foods. Yet although we may gain marginal amounts of time by doing these things, we lose the delights of working in the kitchen, the wonders of creation, the pleasures of time spent in the honest pursuit of tradition and the nourishment of our bodies and those of our families. (p. xii)
Oh, yes! Food as a "wonder of creation" indeed! How much I like Bittman's attitudes towards food and its preparation.
And how about this trio of gelati, wrenched fresh from our ice cream maker: plum sorbet and espresso gelato (The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook) and honey-orange sorbet (epicurious).
What could be a more fitting end to a summer's meal than fresh-made ices?