An Everlasting Meal is less a cookbook than an extended musing of the possibilities that are often under the cook’s very nose. The author is a strong advocate of using as much of produce or piece of meat as is possible. What the average reader would throw away impudently she shrewdly eyes for its place in a future meal.
I like the set up of An Everlasting Meal – each chapter is an essay on a particular type of food, be it rice or eggs or burnt vegetables. Adler finds a use for pretty much anything that’s edible. She acknowledges that occasionally there are kitchen failures, but even these can be turned around into something palatable.
Suffice it to say that the book lacks illustrations; I look at this as a strength. Adler’s writing is entertaining enough to inspire the reader. She provides more suggesting rather than actual recipes, although there are plenty of these scattered through the book, ready for the cook’s imagination.
Adler styled this book as a latter-day nod to M. F. K. Fisher’s classic How to Cook a Wolf, which Fisher wrote during the deprivations of World War II, when much of the wisdom of cooking depended on stretching what was in the larder as far as it would go. You can find How to Cook a Wolf in the collection The Art of Eating here at the Greensboro Public Library.
(William Hicks, Information Services)