The Art of Simple Food and 1080 Recipes

By Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books

Don’t forget: these books below (and the ones mentioned in the socialite!) are available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this review—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

In our narrow little bookstore world, it’s “go” time—the holiday shopping season approaches. Publishers save their best books (or at least the ones they think will sell best) for the winter shopping madness. And while it’s hard to pick just two cookbooks from our bursting section to tell you about (tablehopper runs a tight ship!), I know I’ve chosen a pair of gems.

A new cookbook from Alice Waters seems too obvious a choice, but this new book is more than just a collection of recipes. The Art of Simple Food is a primer on her “delicious revolution”—cooking and eating fresh, simple, in-season food. This book is too simple for industry types, but a perfect book (or gift) for tablehopper subscribers like me: those that eat out a lot because they’re too harried or “unskilled” to eat well. This is the kind of cookbook you can read linearly, from page one onward, and it reminds you how simple it can be to eat well. Stock your larder, shop frequently, and buy quality (seasonal) ingredients. The Art of Simple Food is a cooking class in one (pretty) book, and I won’t buy bottled salad dressing again.

1080 Recipes could be a worthy companion to Waters’ book, as many of the recipes are simple and delicious. But this is Spain’s best-selling cookbook for the last 30 years, finally translated into English (with the more classic recipes updated for today’s cooks). If you’ve seen The Silver Spoon (Italy’s Joy of Cooking), this is from the same publisher, and it’s even more handsome than its Italian cousin. And at less than $.04/recipe, it’s a bargain.

Thanks for reading.