I am a member of Food52’s wonderful online Cookbook Club. Each month we choose a different cookbook to collectively cook from and share our experiences. We’ve cooked from Simple by Ottolenghi; Salt Fat Acid Heat by Saimin Nosrat; Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden and Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman among many others. For a long time, the main administrator of the group was Lindsay-Jean Hard. Coincidentally, in that same group at the beginning of the year we made food-resolutions. One of my resolutions was to throw out less food. I was unaware of her column at Food52, but when I saw that Lindsay-Jean was putting out a book on just this topic, I was delighted. (Though it would have been MUCH better for my resolution if I’d found the column months ago.
In 85 innovative recipes, Lindsay-Jean Hard—who wrote the “Cooking with Scraps” column for Food52—shows just how delicious and surprising the all-too-often-discarded parts of food can be, transforming what might be considered trash into culinary treasure.
Here’s how to put those seeds, stems, tops, rinds to good use for more delicious (and more frugal) cooking: Carrot greens—bright, fresh, and packed with flavor—make a zesty pesto. Water from canned beans behaves just like egg whites, perfect for vegan mayonnaise that even non-vegans will love. And serve broccoli stems olive-oil poached on lemony ricotta toast. It’s pure food genius, all the while critically reducing waste one dish at a time.
The book is organized by food, so finding a recipe to use up the scrap you have on hand is easy. Hard also includes useful tips on storing different vegetables to maximize their lifespan, and tips on composting for when there’s something you really can’t fully use up.
The recipes in the book seem a little bit odd at first, if like me, you haven’t made much of an effort to use the scraps of food before. I’ve been privileged enough to grow up with plenty of food, so I’ve never had to resort to using scraps out of necessity. However, as I paged through the book, I found myself positively inspired by the clever uses for things I’d never have thought to use. Apple cores to make syrup for pancakes? Outrageous at first, but after reading further, it sounds delicious. I am also now obsessed with the broccoli stem ricotta toasts and the cheddar nub pub cheese.
Cooking With Scraps is veggie focused, but it’s not a vegetarian book, nor is it just 80 variations on vegetable soups. Many of the recipes are as inventive and exciting as you’d find in any other inspired cookbook, but they’ve got the added benefit of leaving you feeling responsible. By cooking with scraps you’re not only making an eco-friendly decision, but a wallet-friendly decision as well. You’re making the veggies you buy stretch farther. Waste less, spend less.
Cooking With Scraps hits shelves on October 30 and is absolutely worth picking up if you’re looking to reduce your food waste and enjoy tasty results.
Thank you to Workman Publishing Group for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.