Sunday, September 12, 2021

Staples + 5: 100 Simple Recipes to Make the Most of Your Pantry

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Staples + 5 is an intriguing and well written cookbook written by Tanorria Askew. Due out 2nd Nov 2021 from Penguin Random House on their DK imprint, it's 160 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. 

This is a really upbeat and useful cookbook. The idea is to have a well and simply stocked pantry with a range of staples which can form the basis of a good meal with the addition of 5 ingredients (or fewer). The first section of the book gives a good overview of pantry and staple building with specific ingredients and dried items to keep on hand. The list includes expected food items such as dried pasta, beans, baking products, oils, spices and condiments, canned goods, proteins, and dairy. She covers tools and supplies as well.

The recipes are arranged thematically in chapters: appetizers & snacks, main dishes, side dishes, condiments & fixin's, and desserts. Each recipe is presented with title and description, cooking times, yields, and serving sizes. Recipe ingredients are given in a bullet list sidebar. Measurements are given in American standard measures only. Ingredients will be easy to find at any moderately well stocked grocery store in North America. The recipes run the gamut from simple comfort (flaky homemade biscuits) to fancy (crème brûlée,). Many of the recipes have a southern cuisine emphasis and are simple homestyle cooking.

There is such a warm, inviting, friendly, and sharing vibe throughout the whole book. It's charming and the author's voice comes through clearly: welcoming, kind, and inclusive. I was impressed enough with the writing and style included here that I made it a point to go back and look up some of her media output on Masterchef and her podcast. She's very funny and warm (and professional) and I've become something of a fangirl since reading this book. 

Lots of good ideas and techniques here. Keeping a stocked pantry and adding fresh or seasonal ingredients to the year-round staples is a logical way to cook. 

Five stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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