Simplicity in food seems to be the "it" thing today. We (Americans) all seem to want to get back to real, local ingredients when we cook. We're tired of processed food and counting calories. That's why I was so excited to read through and review Home Cooked by Anya Fernald.
Fernald got a fellowship immediately following her college education that allowed her to spend a year working at cheese dairies in Europe and northern Africa. She says that this is where she "learned to eat." I think that it is quite humorous that Fernald's methods are said to be that of cucina povera, or that of the frugal Italian peasant.
In Italy, McDonald's is a place to be seen because it means that you have the extra money to spend on eating out. It is the less wealthy Italian that has to eat organic or locally grown food. Isn't that incredible?! Here in America, McDonald's Dollar Menu is what you eat from when you barely have anything left for food. But it seems that life is slower in Europe, and oh how I long for that.
I have talked before about how meal planning is the only way to go to save on groceries around here, but I my favorite story in the cookbook was when Fernald and friends were casually discussing the desire to eat urchin and within a few hours they had a plan and were diving for urchin and then made spaghetti ai ricci on the beach. Doesn't that sound AMAZING?! To just decide you want to eat something and go out and catch it? I love that!
The Italians as described by Fernald made a habit of canning and preserving food while it was in season so that it could be enjoyed later, which is what we are trying to do more of. There is also very little waste as even bones are used to make broths. I've also been trying to do this with our chicken bones. I rarely buy broth any more.
The single most life changing recipe that I found in the book so far would have to be the sofritto. It is mixture of olive oil, onions, carrots and celery stalks that is cooked ahead and then frozen to be used later in soups and sauces. So many soups and even many tomato sauces call for these ingredients to be sauteed first, but by making a large batch ahead of time, while ingredients are in season, you save yourself time and get the best flavor. Now, I'm making mine with ingredients from the store this time, but plan to make much more this summer when our carrots are fresh and I can get onions at the farmers market.
If you long for simple, good food then I highly recommend checking out Fernald's Home Cooked.
For more information on this cookbook go here.
For more information about the author go here.
Disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. This post also contains affiliate link, which mean that if you purchase any item after using the link the blog receives compensation to keep things running at no extra cost to you. Thank you for the support.
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large white onions, coarsely diced
- 4 large carrots, peeled and coarsely diced
- 4 celery stalks, coarsely diced
- In a large heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over low heat.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and caramelized, about 90 minutes.
- Let cool, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
- Spoon the sofritto into ice cube trays and freeze.
- Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a plastic freezer storage bag. Keep in the freezer until ready to use; the sofritto will keep, frozen, for up to 6 months