Let smells in. Let the smell of hot tarmac in the summer remind you of a meal you ate the first time you landed in a hot place, when the ground smelled like it was melting. Let the smell of salt remind you of a paper basket of fried clams you ate once, squeezing them with lemon as you walked on a boardwalk. Let it reach your deeper interest. When you smell the sea, and remember the basket of hot fried clams, and the sound of skee-balls knocking against each other, let it help you love what food can do, which is to tie this moment to that one. Then something about the wind off the sea will have sttled in your mind, and carried the fried clams and squeeze of lemon with it. p. 142So why won’t I make a recipe from the book? Because Adler’s recipes are simply meant as a starting point for the readers own imagination, tastes and circumstances. I can’t help feeling that I’d fail Adler miserably by making up one of her recipes as written, as she’s inspired me to do so much more. But she definitely provides some wonderful templates in the book, including a recipe for Ribollita I intend to work from this week. The cover notes indicate that Adler was an editor at Harper’s Magazine, as well as a cook at Prune and Chez Panisse. This book brings together both her talent with words and her love of food in a really beautiful way. I can’t think of a real cook who wouldn’t enjoy this book, and I’ve already picked it out as a great Christmas gift for at least two people, as I think it would be especially comforting to read in winter.
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