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What to Cook


What To Cook When You Think There's Nothing In The House To Eat: More Than 175 Recipes And Meal Ideas
by Arthur Schwartz
New York: HarperPerennial (HarperCollins), 1992. 275p.

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From the jacket

This is the book for folks who like to eat well but may be a little lazy about traveling to the store on a rainy Sunday afternoon; too tired to stop at the market after work; or just too frugal not to use what's on hand.

... Organized alphabetically by ingredient, What to Cook provides tips on selecting, purchasing, and storing the ingredients along with the recipes that feature an ingredient. A box of spaghetti, for example, lasts longer than many marriages. Add olive oil (which, even in the typically overheated American cupboard will keep for a year), some garlic (a two-month shelf-life at room temperature), a pinch of hot pepper (the author's is three years old and still going strong) and you've got a dish -- spaghetti aglio olio -- that every Italian from boot's hip to heel would applaud.

    This is not fancy food. It's everyday food with traditional recipes, mainly updated working-class and farm food for the new working class: singles, couples, and young families that often do not have time to shop. It is for those with the most basic cooking skills, who want guidance and inspiration for taking the most mundane and long-lasting ingredients and turning them into a comforting plate of food.


Praise for What To Cook When You Think There's Nothing In The House To Eat

"Some cookbooks are fun to read, others are useful. What to Cook is both. It manages to transform a bare cupboard into a kitchen adventure. We're going to keep our copy on the emergency shelf, so we can turn to it whenever we find ourselves in need of quick recipe or some delightful kitchen companionship: Arthur Schwartz has provided plenty of both."
-- Jane and Michael Stern

"This is without question the best book on quick meals I've ever seen. A primer written with warmth and thoughtfulness, What to Cook is timely and reliable, bursting with good ideas, easy recipes and tempting food. I emphatically recommend it."
-- Paula Wolfert

"Arthur Schwartz is a man who cooks almost as well as he eats, and in this book he shares both of these doable pleasures with the home cook."
-- Barbara Kafka

"Even the snobbiest cooks will be mesmerized by Arthur Schwartz's ingenuity in the kitchen pantry. He draws on centuries-old, make-do food -- using, as country cooks would, only what's there -- and dishes up very contemporary tastes."
-- Sheryl Julian, Boston Globe

"The last time I checked my cupboards, looking for something to throw together after an unsatisfactory night out at a charity event -- I found a box of noodles, a jar of pickled pigs' lips, three bouillon cubes (marbled with age!), a very dried tube of sun-dried tomato paste and 38 jars of seasonings awaiting the day when I get my certificate from Le Carbon Blue! I decided to throw in my chintz apron and search the nabe for some scrambled legs and bacon. Now with Arthur's book at my reach, I think I'll stock some edibles and become a chef of consequence!"
-- Mario Buatta, a.k.a. the Prince of Chintz



Sample Recipes
Chocolate Pudding in a Mug   Welsh Rabbit
Margaret O'Shea's "Kill-Me-Quick" Scones   Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
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