Friday, May 24, 2013

Cookbooks: One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder

In our culture, we are obsessed with time. Because of this, it is inevitable that some of the basics begin to become neglected. Unfortunately, one of the most basic basics of living that often gets left behind is eating properly. I know affluent, professional people whose evening meal is a constant decision about which take-out place to frequent on which particular evening. And no matter how good the take-out, there’s a part of me that really thinks that all that food made with only sustenance in mind (no thought for either love or health) just can’t be good for you.

In One Pan, Two Plates (Chronicle), Carla Snyder not only addresses these very basic concerns, she does something about it. “I can’t help you with your laundry or bills,” Snyder writes in her introduction, “but One Pan, Two Plates can help you get a healthful meal on the table in less time and with less cleanup.”

The book is focused on making beautiful one dish meals for two people -- a couple, perhaps or a parent and child -- but some of these would be terrific for a single, as well: dinner tonight and lunch for one reheated at work tomorrow. Either way, life gets a whole lot healthier.

Healthier and more delicious. Here’s a sampling of what’s on offer: Veal Piccata with Brussels Sprouts Hash and Apples. Rib-Eye Steaks Florentine. Crispy Sage Pork Cutlets with Couscous. Tuna Burgers. Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches. Barley and Lentil Salad. Pasta Carbonara. Wild Mushroom Frittata. Clearly I could go on -- there are “over 70 complete weeknight meals for two” included in the book -- but you get the idea.

If I have one quibble, it would be that One Pan, Two Plates is rather heavy on meat-based recipes. These days, that would not seem to be an accurate reflection of how most people eat or want to be eating. There are some recipes that are light on meat products, but few that are devoid of it. For some people, however, that news will be a plus rather than a minus. And for non-vegetarians, it’s a terrific book. The recipes are clear and well-illustrated. Most ingredients are easy to come by and each recipe lets you know how long it will take from start to finish as well as the amount of time you’ll actually spend fiddling in the kitchen. ◊

Aaron Blanton is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.

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Blogger Ella said...

Thank you this sounds like a terrific book, when children leave the nest or perhaps a single parent. My mom is always saying it is hard to cook for one.

Friday, May 24, 2013 at 2:44:00 PM PDT  

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