Monday, August 30, 2004

Ready When You Are:Cookbook

What says comfort to you? Macaroni and cheese? Chicken pot pie? Chili con carne? Borscht? Risotto? Pho Bo (Vietnamese beef and noodle soup)? Comfort foods come in all forms and all nationalities. Comfort food often comes in the form of a one-dish meal. Martha Rose Shulman author of more than twenty books including Mediterranean Light has written Ready When You Are a compendium of comforting one-dish meals that features about 200 recipes and all of the ones just mentioned.

One of the things l particularly like about this book is that it really gives you a peek into the mind of a great cook. Shulman, a working mom, tells you how she makes meals, including even what equipment she uses. Each recipe gives you a visual clue indicating it it can be made in advance and whether it is vegetarian or can easily be made vegetarian. She introduces the recipes telling you where she got the idea for it, and at the end of the recipe she offers tips on advance preparations and even what to do with leftovers! It's as if she has thought of everything.

The book is filled with recipes you may be familiar with as well as more exotic versions of comfort food. I can't wait to try Catalan chick peas with sausage, Turkish summer vegetable stew and couscous with chicken, lemon and olives. Next time I want to bring a casserole to someone who needs a meal, I can skip the standard lasagna and make something not just hearty but healthy as well. Whether you are looking for recipes for your family, for entertaining or just something to stash in the fridge that will last you more than a meal or two, this is a book chock full of good ideas. And yes, she does include some comforting dessert recipes as well. Do visit Martha Rose Shulman's web site where you can check out some of her recipes for yourself.