Ask MeFi: How can I learn to plan meals?"I have a hard time preparing and eating three healthy meals a day. I 'm a great cook and I've taken college-level nutrition courses, but there's a big difference between knowing how to make one particular dish and being able to shop for, prepare and eat three meals a day, five or six days a week."
Living in New York where you can buy a little bit of fresh food every day (or get the most amazing food delivered to your doorstep whilst you lounge around in your pajamas) I'm terribly spoiled, but I've always been in awe of people who can do long-term meal planning. If you're not one of them, this thread is full of fantastic tips.
Two hours north of Barcelona and only open six months out of the year, Ferran Adrià's experimental flagship El Bulli is widely considered to be the best restaurant in the world. So, as you might well imagine, it's rather hard to get reservations and even if you can get them you'll have considerable travelling costs, but for a few hundred dollars each you can get Adrià's El Bulli cookbooks off of Amazon and have fun in your own kitchen. Each hardcover book is "filled with full color photographs, presents not only El Bulli's
unparalleled recipes, but also an analysis of their development, philosophy, and technique" and is "presented as a boxed set that includes the main volume, along with a detailed Users Guide and an interactive CD that contains each recipe,
numbered and catalogued by year."
El Bulli: 1983-1993, the first volume, is only available special order and at its list price: a whopping $492. Most expensive cookbook ever? I sure think (hope?) so, but if you know differently please let me know.
El Bulli: 1994-1997 is slightly cheaper than its predecessor but still also going for its list price of $450. Third volume El Bulli: 1998-2002 is currently deeply discounted from $350 to $220.50, so if you're an Adrià fan or know someone who is, that probably makes it the El Bulli cookbook to pick up this season.
The Best Recipes in the World is just you'd expect from Bittman--a collection of recipes from around the world, presented in a familar "Minimalist" format including ingredients that can be easily found at your neighborhood grocery store, suggested variations, and each coded to indicate whether it is "make ahead," "serve at room temp./cold," or "30 minutes or less."
The cookbook is organized in the traditional cookbook format--by course. I think this makes sense because it's familar to most of us, but I've already bookmarked the "Recipes by Cuisine" index in the back of the cookbook. Browsing by cuisine is how this belly works.
Masala Winter Squash was the first recipe I tried. I don't cook winter squash that often, but it came in our bi-weekly fruit and veggie box delivery, so I was happy to experiment.The recipe was easy to follow and the end result belly satisfying.
What other people are saying:
Pinoy Cook: "The idea of grilling adobo was something I picked up from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World. When I read it, my first reaction was to raise my eyebrows. Like, here’s another foreigner bastarizing my country’s beloved adobo. But then I considered if his innovations detracted from the adoboness of adobo to justify judging it as a bastarized recipe. Truth is, despite sounding different, it was adobo through and through. . ."
Snack Blog: ". . . The international pantry section is
particularly helpful and it seems the key to global cooking, as Bittman
points out, most techniques are universal, it’s the ingredients that
make the difference."