Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Buy This Cookbook: Poor Girl Gourmet

Hey everyone! I've been trying recently to actually have a regular update schedule. It wasn't a conscious effort at first, just an idea to post twice a week, and I looked back and realized that, the past few weeks, I'd posted on Tuesday and Friday. So before I posted on Friday, I said, "cool--I'm gonna stick to that schedule." Of course it only lasts one post. OF COURSE. Yesterday, I woke up with a combination sinus-allergy/TMJ headache which even Excedrin, Claratin D and a nose rinse thing couldn't help, an awful stomachache every time I ate anything, and 24-hour narcolepsy. The post, needless to say, didn't happen. So it's happening today, and another one will happen on Friday, and I'll try to stick to a schedule. (Once the semester starts up, though, I can't promise anything.)

This post does not include a recipe. This post exists because I feel a moral obligation to tell you when I find something awesome food-related (like my garlic zoom). I suppose I should mention--nobody's giving me free stuff or paying me to review things. I just want the world to know about faster and more fun ways to mince garlic, and now, much cheaper ways to eat gourmet food at home.

I met up with a friend in Harvard Square a while ago, just to hang out and walk around and talk about stuff. It ended up being one of those July days where it feels like the air is starting to boil, so we stayed indoors, hopping from a bookstore to a tea shop to a store with weird stuff to a bar where the World Cup was on TV. On one of these hops, we walked by a bookstore (you can't not walk by a bookstore at least 7 times in Harvard Square). I looked in the window and saw this book on display and needed to have it. Because...well, because I'm a college kid, and Mike's a med student, and my mom's paying two tuitions, so while occasionally it's nice to go all-out and prepare something super expensive, it's not a good habit to be in. So I go into the store. I buy the cookbook. I bring it home and read it through and daydream about the recipes.

Photo Credit: Amy's email signature

I had no idea that Poor Girl Gourmet was a blog, but given my inclination toward cooking from blogs, I was happy to find that it was. You should all go read her blog, if you don't already. But you still need to buy the cookbook. Why? Well, the recipes in the book aren't on the blog, so you can't get them on her site. And sometimes it's nice to have everything printed on a nice pretty piece of paper in front of you--it's way easier to flip through a cookbook for dinner inspiration than it is to read a million blog posts.

Each recipe is categorized according to course (main dish, salad, dessert, etc) and expense. I feel it's important to mention that these recipes all serve 4-6 people (or more, sometimes). They're divided into "Under $5," "Under $10," "Under $15," and at the end there's a section for "splurges." There's also a little section on wine, which I imagine would be great if I planned on entertaining someone who knows anything about wine (since I don't).

Now, the best part about this cookbook (at least, I think) is that reading it and using it, you begin to get a sense of how it works--how cooking gourmet for almost no money works. And, after a little while, you adapt the recipes, keeping them inexpensive. And a little while after that, you start to develop inexpensive-cooking habits even when you're not basing it off a recipe you found in the book at all. It changes how you look at making dinner and makes you realize that you don't need to spend $30 on groceries to make something everyone will love, and you stop doing that. And then you have more money than you've had in months and a few new favorite recipes to whip up on a hot summer day.

I already have food spills on half the pages. And you'll save the money on food that you spent on the book within a month, at least.

Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget, by Amy McCoy. Click here to buy the cookbook, and click here to visit her blog (and DO BOTH!)

Over time, I'll be sharing with you two or three recipes from this cookbook (with Amy's permission) to give you an idea of how awesome it is.