One of my all time favorite cookbooks from the world famous self proclaimed home cook maven Ina Garten is her 6th cookbook Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients . This book is a must have for every home cook whether you are gluten free or not. Gifted to me back in 2008 this book came at the perfect time in my life. I was in the beginning stages of learning about celiac disease, gluten, gluten intolerance and what it all meant for me. I was relearning how to eat better and use food as a healer. The premise of Back to Basics falls in line with my basic premise as a home cook. The ability to transform simple fresh ingredients into show stopping crowd pleasing meals. Cooking should not be complicated. Real, whole, and clean ingredients are the cornerstones to the best meals and novice cooks, expert cooks, and everyone in between can learn something from Back to Basics.
Ina’s easy to follow narrative style and the gorgeous full color photos pull you right in and make you want to start cooking immediately upon opening. The book is organized into the standard categories cocktails, breakfasts, main meals, etc with each recipe being laid out in an easy to follow way. Ina peppers the pages with her time tested techniques, tips, tricks, and finishes teaching how how to take ordinary and simple dishes to the next level with last minutes finishes and flourishes. What I like about Back to Basics and Ina’s style as a food writer in general is that she helps you to appreciate that the small details go a long way. Little things like sauteing or roasting veggies before tossing into a salad or toasting pecans before adding to the cookie dough go a long way to add big flavor to relatively simple dishes.
Back to Basics isn’t a gluten free cookbook per se but most of the recipes can be easily converted and many are inherently gluten free because they are based on whole real foods. Cooking from scratch does not take much longer than box cooking and the results are better, cleaner, and healthier than sodium and preservative laden sauces and mixes. Ina talks about the staple spices, oils, and other ingredients that all home cooks should keep on hand to always be ready to cook a top notch meal in no time.
If you are new to cooking or just looking to shake up your techniques as a cook this book is a must have. At the end of the day simple is best and going back to basics is always in vogue no matter the trend.
Visit barefootcontessa.com for more on Ina Garten and her other cookbooks.