I think Piecemeal is going to be a useful cookbook that will encourage adaptation and experimentation. Kathryn Pauline gives a recipe for a component and then provides three recipes in increasing degrees of complexity that utilize that component. The components range from “leafy herbs” to “turkey spinach meatballs,” to “Mulled wine pears.” The sections are Vegetables, Meats, Dressings and Sauces, and Fruits, compotes, and curds.
After the table of contents, Pauline has helpfully broken the recipes down by type so that if you are looking for soup, you don’t have to search through the components. The section on how to use this book is very good. I particularly appreciate her tutorial on using the freezer, because I am a chaos gremlin when it comes freezing foods.
I like the middle ground that Pauline has staked out between meal prep cooking and chaos cooking. I tend towards chaos, but that often means throwing out things that have gone bad because you only needed half the amount sold in the grocery store for the one recipe you planned. Component cooking means I can make all of the thing I bought, but eat it in different ways through out the week.
The tag lines are, “a meal planning repertoire with 120 recipes to make in 5+, 15+, or 30+ minutes” and “30 bold ingredients + 90 variations.” I am not a huge fan of assigning time values to recipes, and in this case I think it’s a bit more misleading than usual, because the time to cook the component isn’t factored in. But that’s a pretty small complaint for a book I think is quite useful and usable.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Chronicle Books and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, honestly and freely given.