4 Cookbooks for the Pandemic
Breathe some life into cooking routines
Raise your hand if you’re tired of cooking. I’m trying to pull inspiration from my colleagues Daniel, Kerri, and of course, Mark, but I have to say, like the rest of the cook-at-home universe, I’m fishing for how to recharge and to feel as committed about cooking at home as I was in March.
In some ways, this is timely, since I’m guessing, like you, I’d like to support our favorite restaurants as the government has left them for dead. But that’s for another post. This is a starter conversation for cookbooks we’re really into right now that get us excited about simmering soups, baking cakes, or preheating the oven for your next epic meal.
In talking to home cooks, one thing I’ve been surprised about during the pandemic is how many of us are, above all, hunt-and-peck recipe gatherers, pulling whatever from Pinterest, NYT Cooking, All Recipes, or a cooking blog — even as cookbook sales are quite brisk. My 70-something-year-old mother, for example, a budding Instagram influencer for Seniors (#himom #southernliving), just got a new iPad and has been going nuts using some app I can’t recall, cataloging her recipes from Gimme Some Oven, Simply Happy Foodie, and whomever else.
Lately, I crave a connection to the author or the region that’s inspired someone to write a cookbook in the first place (no surprise here since I’m not going out and talking to real people in the flesh). I know you don’t have to make it meaningful every time you cook: It’s just dinner. But why not stick with someone you trust, who seems like your kind of cook for the day, or someone you’d want to get to know? At least occasionally, I tell myself.
Outside of Mark — which, of course, you’re here, so chances are you’re using How to Cook Everything and the rest — here are a few of my current go-tos. I’d love to hear yours.
Last year’s New Year’s Resolution was to cook through this book. And this year’s resolution is to have someone look at my kitchen setup and tell me whether I should give up or keep on going: In part because my wok ring doesn’t work and I can’t get my wok hot enough. In the past year, I set off the fire alarm about…