two cookbooks to beat the January cooking blues

It happens each January, I get bored with everything in my cooking repertoire and I start looking for something new to shake things up. While there are a vast amount of recipes available at my fingertips, I enjoy flipping through cookbooks. Two that I recently found at my public library attempt to solve that common weekday cooking challenge: after a full day of work, you want a tasty, healthy, and easy-to-cook meal.

A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ vegetarian recipes for quick, flavor-packed, meals

by Anna Jones

I love the premise, in as quick as 10 minutes you can put quite an array of delicious and healthy meals on the table without sacrificing flavour. I think it must go without saying that the photographs are divine, I loved most the plates that looked partially finished (either in preparation or in enjoyment). The care taken in layout and styling comes through.

However, despite years of cooking experience, and dutifully following the reminder to mise en place, I felt that the time estimates are not accurate, or at least don’t take into account the prep work. I also wish there was some indication of the number of pots and dishes required, several dishes were definitely fussier than I expected when I first read through them.

However, the flavours! I’ve spent most of the past two weeks cooking an array of dishes from this book and definitely enjoyed the taste of every single one. I’m not sure if I can identify one great recipe though I think the flavours of the tomato, miso, and sesame soup were just right after the gazpachos of this summer and my standard tomato soup felt lacking. Even with my frustrations as to time estimates and fussiness, I could see this quickly becoming a well used book in my year-round rotation.

Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavours

Simple by Diana Henryby Diana Henry

This title follows a similar premise to Jones’, simple and flavourful dishes. Organized traditionally by dish type: eggs, salads, pulses, etc, know that this is a book for omnivores! Pork and shellfish are featured along with many other ingredients. Beware some hidden fussiness, the dishes will be worth it, but read through carefully before you make an assumption on how long it will take, there aren’t useful time estimates. The dishes are strong on sophistication, and flavour. My recipe review has focused on the pulses, while I’ve made many of these dishes in some variation before, there’s sometimes something about seeing it in a new format that makes it something different. The red lentil & pumpkin dal was easy and the house smelled amazing and definitely hit the spot. The photos are beautiful and I get hungry reading through it.

Is there a new cookbook that excites you? Please let me know!

Reader interactions

2 Replies to “two cookbooks to beat the January cooking blues”

  1. Dear Penguin Girl, thank you for this post. I requested the book by Anna Jones from my library and found another one she had published last year. Need to do more veggie meals.

  2. Here’s an update. Anna Jones started me on a journey. After reading her cookbook, I began watching food documentaries and I find my husband and I are eating more veggies and having more meatless meals. Thank you Anna and another thank you, Penguin Girl, for the introduction to her lovely cookbook.

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