Food and Beverage

Discover: The Luxury of Seasonal Meal Planning and Cookbooks

There is something alluring about a beautiful cookbook. The promise of lovely meals, the look and feel of the book in your hands, the excitement of trying a new food combination. I love cookbooks and own a great many.

Some are dog eared and food stained, others used on occasion for inspiration in creating some of my own recipes. Whatever the reason, there are so many to choose from. My collection is comprised of those I’ve bought, or were sent to me, some were gifts and I love them all.

Why Stop at a Week? Meal Plan for a Season!

As each season rolls around, I like to create something of a menu for the next few months. I do this for a number of reasons from being better able to take advantage of seasonally available produce, to make meal time more exciting in opening the door early to try new things. Whether it is you doing the cooking or someone else, a fresh perspective on your meals is energizing and being prepared feels luxurious!

How and Why Plan a Seasonal Menu

Here’s how I do it: Gather a number of cookbooks that inspire. Explore the recipes and discover some new ones to try look at different variations on some favorites and come up with a repertoire. Create this list of recipes categorized by what meal they would be cooked for. Next to the title of the recipe, denote the title of the book and which page on which the recipe appears. Then I update my basic shopping list. If you don’t already have a basic shopping list for all your pantry and fridge needs create one or seek one online and adjust it to your needs. Be sure that it is really complete. Make up a list for those little extra things you may not carry all the time in anticipation of when you’ll need them. Store the lists together and have them ready for each month. Keep yourself stocked on a regular basis with the basics. This alone will make a world of difference and make cooking feel more luxurious because what you need can be at your fingertips. Why plan for a season? Taking the time to look at an entire season takes the pressure off a weekly chore. Designating certain days of the week for certain types of meals makes it even easier, for example: Wednesday is Pasta Night, Sunday is Sunday Dinner roast, and so on. When it comes to what to cook, the hardest part seems to be the mealtime inspiration, so, in creating my fall and winter menu I can relax and enjoy more. Here’s what cookbooks are inspiring me right now:

Cookbooks to Consider

1. French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano: A terrific book, filled with delectable dishes.

2. Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver: Approachable and delicious recipes.

3. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1., by Julia Child: Julia Child is the indisputable queen. A terrific classic must-have cookbook.

4. Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells: This was the cookbook that inspired the menu of the little French bistro where I worked as a sous chef long, in Toronto. A superb cookbook then and now.

by Angela Tunner

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