Yesterday I took the opportunity to visit the library on my own while Will stayed home with our little one. I returned one book, but mainly went to search for cookbooks to bring home. I wanted one title in particular, but as it must have been taken out already I lingered in the food aisle reading the names along various spines until a few caught my attention. All in all, I took home one by Nigella Lawson, two from Catherine McCord (popular for her baby and kid-friendly cooking), and one other by Nicky Moona that includes some really healthy and traditional Ayurvedic recipes. I also headed over to the children’s library to pick out another Winnie the Pooh for you-know-who.
In the evening I sat in bed and leafed through the books, marking all of the pages that included a recipe I hope to try. I’m most excited about Catherine McCord’s Weelicious books, because I have been looking for fresh ideas regarding healthy, whole foods recipes to try out on Piper. McCord includes a huge variety of recipes in her books, though not all of them are vegetarian. Regardless, she does clearly mark in at least one book which foods are dairy free, egg free, nut free, etc., which is helpful for vegans, vegetarians, and also for those with food allergies. This morning Piper and I used a mango that we had sitting around to make two mango popsicles, and then filled the rest of the molds with blended strawberries for strawberry popsicles; both methods can be found in McCord’s book, I believe the one titled One Family. One Meal. I also put together a super quick and easy granola bar from another of her recipes. It’s filled with things like pepitas, flaxseeds, old fashioned rolled oats, sunflower seeds, and almond butter. I’m eager for Piper to try it, as it is filled with all sorts of goodies like omega 3’s, magnesium, and protein, to name a few. I’ll be returning to her books when we run out of hummus to put together a few batches of our own. Two dips that sound really yummy are her black bean dip as well as her carrot miso dip. I like the idea of whipping together our own hummus and other spreads because I imagine when we have control of the ingredients, the flavor and nutritional value are usually greater.
Nigella’s book was a pleasure to flip through, just because I’ve long admired her food writing and the style and ease with which she seems to approach cooking. I also happen to love British cooks and food in general; eggplant isn’t just eggplant but aubergine, zucchinis are courgettes, and cupcakes are more magically named fairy cakes. I find that Nigella’s book seemed more approachable to me, though that may be because cooking toddler-specific meals is a bit new for me still, and as such seems daunting sometimes. Yet, there is still something about the way Nigella approaches food that seems so tried and true. She cooks for herself as much as for others, and includes a recipe for something called “Noodle Soup for Needy People” — I can imagine her eating a bowlful on her own at midnight, just as she so often is portrayed picking through the fridge for leftovers on her shows. This is food that people will eat often, and will learn the recipes for quickly, until cooking them becomes second nature. Tonight I’ll try her potato and mushroom gratin — don’t bother to peel the potatoes, she says! I’m also looking forward to adapting her Singapore noodles recipe, her sweet and sour cucumber salad, her “Cloudy Lemonade for a Sunny Day”, lentil and walnut salad, and even her super simple minestrone. I’m in a place right now where I’m finding the middle ground between eating healthy whole foods and being able to prepare them quickly for a hungry family. I’m really pleased with what I found on my short trip to the library, and I’ll keep you all updated about any particularly delicious meals that we’ve enjoyed.
What are your favorite cookbooks? Do you have a favorite cook or chef?