Chief author Tamar Adler turns to the leftovers, comprehensively

NEW YORK (AP) — Not long ago, Tamar Adler’s husband was putting away and picked up a handkerchief their son had barely used. Adler stopped her husband from throwing it away.

“I was like, ‘No, no, this fabric still has a use!’ And he said to me, “I think that’s actually how we would identify a zombie you versus the real you: just try to throw something – anything – and if you don’t jump on it, we know it’s not you,” she recalled.

Adler can show off this strong ethic of repurposing in his new 500-page cookbook, “The Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Leftovers AZ,” a comprehensive Scribner’s guide to reusing leftovers, from potato cooking water to one day sauerkraut.

“It’s not a stingy practice. It’s a flavor-infused practice and a way to preserve what you have. Use it instead of throwing it away,” she said from her home in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Adler turns old pad thai into omelette, turns broccoli stalks and wilted leaves into pesto, turns old meatloaf into pizza, converts stale bread into bread pudding, adds old bacon grease to make bread corn and even uses peanut shells as kitty litter.
Many things, she insists, taste better the next day, such as beans, rice, stews and soups. Other dishes require invention, like when she turns coleslaw into soup and cheesecake into a milkshake.
“What I was hoping was that most of it would secretly seep into everyone’s thinking so things start to look usable instead of feeling like they should be. discarded,” she said.
“Slowly it might start to change and move towards ‘Oh, maybe I shouldn’t throw that old iced tea down the drain’ – not to save the world but just because it’ll be awesome like something else tomorrow .”
Adler has always had a bit of a rebreather in her; As a teenager, she enjoyed shopping at thrift stores. “There was something inside me that was always like, ‘We don’t always have to have new releases. Old releases are cool,'” she said.
This trend followed her as she became a James Beard Award-winning food writer and editor with experience cooking at restaurants such as Chez Panisse and Prune. His books include “An Everlasting Meal” and “Something Old, Something New”.
“As I became a cook and learned how much better things taste, how easier it is and how less expensive it is to let things evolve, that is certainly become more pronounced,” she said.
Adler began working on her new cookbook in alphabetical order, listing foods from A to Z and then attacking them in order, rather than starting with dishes she already knew. “It could have been a really bad idea, but it could have saved me some ruts,” she said.
She found that leftover sausages and vegetables add flavor to stews and pasta sauces, and frying an item was another way to give it new life. South Asian or Southeast Asian flavors have proven to be great ways to invigorate veggies – whether it’s cauliflower or cabbage – and add a bit of flavor. citrus immediately awoke many leftovers.
“These are culinary practices all over the world and in so many cultures,” she said.
An empty Almond Butter Jar is used to make Tamar’s Empty Nut Butter Noodles, which create a sauce from leftover Nut Butter in the Jar.
And beyond food, Adler finds that empty vinegar and salad dressing bottles are also natural containers for making and storing salad dressings.
Scribner editor and longtime Adler editor Kara Watson credits Adler with one leftover dish that keeps getting better: She turns leftover pasta into a pasta frittata the next day, then puts the leftovers of frittata the next day on a piece of toast. bread.
“It’s the most delicious version of the meal – three days later, and it’s the tastiest and most interesting texture-wise. So that’s kind of telling,” Watson said.

“The Everlasting Meal Cookbook” comes at a time when food prices are spiking, environmentalism is urging us not to throw away reusable things, and the pandemic has forced us to become better cooks. Adler emphasizes saving time and improving taste as well.
“It’s not about virtue, is it? You’re not bad at throwing things away or good at saving things. It’s just good for you because it’s delicious, and then you have it and you don’t have to do it again,” she added. said.
Now that the book is complete, Adler can laugh at the times when her experiments didn’t always work, like when she tried to turn stale apple cider donuts into savory bread dumplings and a recipe tester wrote a “scathing” review.
Then there was an attempt at recovering underripe melon with prawns which, to her, tasted good. “My husband tasted it and he was like, ‘This is the kind of thing that’s good for a bite when you’re hungry.’ And I was like, ‘Well, maybe it’s okay.’ And he was like, ‘No, that’s not OK.’
Looking back on the experience, Adler sees her final recipes as the product of a painstaking process, but one that elevates what she poetically calls “the remnants of her earlier hungers.”
“There were tough ones who were tough that I eventually defeated. And then there were tough ones that won me over,” she laughs.
Mark Kennedy is at