One of my friends hosts a lot of dinner parties but she always prefaces her invitations with this statement. You know I only cook 3 dishes, so if you want something else, you should bring it. Needless to say, a lot of her dinner parties become potluck events which is great for making everyone feel involved. It works.
But the difference between being comfortable making 3 dishes and having 300 dishes you can whip up anytime is in mixing up the ingredients, swapping one spice for another, forgoing frying for poaching instead to create a whole different texture and flavor and presentation, combining two things you never thought could go together – like wearing plaid and striped accessories at the same time. That’s what makes one meal different from another. That flexibility is what makes a cook into a chef.
And New York Times Magazine writer, Mark Bittman, probably the only food writer whose name I recognize instantly, is the person to write about it in Kitchen Matrix.
I own quite a few cookbooks but this one is different. How? Glad you asked!
Cooking is a little like getting ready – how many different ways can you accessorize a little black dress so you look different every time. Professional stylists make big money figuring out answers to this question.
To make the most out of your cooking repertoire, first you identify the main ingredient (the black dress) and then you choose some additions (accessories). In the mood for pasta? Fine. Here are 8 options for how to dress up pasta so you can have a completely different dish every time.
But that’s just pasta. How about 9 options for chicken breasts, or 12 completely different ways to cook chicken legs and thighs.
Now you know it’s not Thanksgiving without leftovers. But after the big meal, do you want to eat the same food again the next day? Probably not. Here are 20 options for the leftovers – none of which is a turkey club sandwich.
The photography is beautiful but this book is more than just a pretty cookbook. It’s a real resource and idea generator for cooks who’re bored with their go-to meals.
Kitchen Matrix would make a great hostess gift or a gift to yourself with ideas on how to jazz up your holiday dinners this year.
One of my favorite sections in this book is the Dinner party planner starting on page 26 – it gives options for cocktails, salads, soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts, so you don’t have to guess what goes together and whether you can make it. For this reason alone, I got a copy of Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix for my 3-dishes-only friend.
I received a free review copy of Kitchen Matrix from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review but the cookbook is already enjoying pride of place in my kitchen with bookmarks for the meals I’m trying first so you know I’m loving it.
Note: I am an Amazon affiliate so when you click on the links included in this post and make a purchase, you’re helping to support my blog. Thanks in advance. Happy reading!