Library notes: Unusual time calls for cooking together with ingredients already in kitchen

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 19, 2020

By Stephanie Reister

Rowan Public Library

It’s a challenging time right now with social distancing and everyone rushing to buy hand sanitizer, toilet paper and milk. Families are also spending more time together, which can be an opportunity to cook and use what is already on hand.

I plan on using the Rowan Public Library book “Hack Your Cupboard” by Alyssa Wiegand and Carla Carreon. It gives recipes and tips on cooking with what you already have in your kitchen. I knew this book was for me when I read that Wiegand’s personal cooking philosophy is, “Everything is better with cheese.” There is always cheese in my refrigerator.

This book is aimed at beginner cooks, but anyone can learn from the pantry hacks, knife skills and recipes that combine unusual ingredients. I’m definitely going to follow the tips on pan-frying and braising. I can be a bit impatient when I’m cooking, so it’s good to keep the slow-and-steady tips in mind.

Another book that interests me is “Waste Free Kitchen Handbook” by Dana Gunders. The subtitle says it’s a guide to eating well and saving money by wasting less food. I need to read this cover to cover. I always think I will eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, but then end up throwing some out.

Gunders says, “The basic rule is easy to grasp and much, much harder to practice: Plan your meals, make a shopping list from that plan, and stick to the list— and then stick to the plan.” The book is divided up into three parts, “Strategies for Everyday Life,” recipes, and a directory of foods with how to store them.

The chapter “The Crafty Kitchen” discusses mindful cooking to avoid waste, including the right serving sizes to make for family meals and parties. Another chapter “Can I Eat It?” gives good information on what happens when foods age and the meanings of expiration dates.

You have easy access to eBooks about cooking through the NC Digital Library via its website or the Libby app. Use your library card number and four-digit PIN to check out items and place holds online. Go to the Subjects tab and find Cooking & Food in the Nonfiction section.

You can pull up a virtual book to help you in your frugal cooking quest. There’s a book available in the digital library called “Eat It Up!” by Sherri Brooks Vinton. It claims, “These delicious 150 recipes mine the treasure in your kitchen…”

These books remind us that it’s a good idea to use up what you have before buying more. Keep on cooking and sharing some laughs. You’ll be happy for the time together. Well, eventually you will when things are back to normal and you can fondly look back on this time.

Rowan Public Library has modified its services due to 2020 Coronavirus. For the latest information, visit or call 704-216-8243.

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