Do you feel like you sometimes get in a mealtime rut and always making the same things? Are you wanting to add more variety to your dinners?
Adding new cookbooks to your collections and having them in a prominent place can help you make dinners more interesting again. When I feel in a rut, I give each of my family members a cookbook and ask them to pick a recipe they would like to try. Then we add them to a list to add into our meal planning!
One of our goals as a family is to eat a greater variety of cuisines from around the world. Having a big family can make this challenging if we stick to takeout or restaurants, both in costs and overall logistics.
Instead, we’ve been adding cookbooks to our collections that allows us to explore new cuisines from the comfort of home. It allows me to tailor dishes if I need, like for allergy issues or for my picky eaters. Also, I don’t have to stress about picking something off a menu that I’m not entirely sure what is in it.
One benefit I hadn’t anticipated was the additional cultural understanding that I’ve gained by reading through the cookbooks. I enjoyed the glimpses into the authors’ families, their cultures, and their experiences and the connections I felt to their stories. We may have grown up in different environments but many of our experiences were similar.
Shadi was born and raised in Iran and she shares lots of little memories from her childhood. She also gives lots of helpful tips for finding unfamiliar ingredients. Two of our favorite dishes so far have been the Beef Pan Kabobs and the Barberry and Saffron Rice.
Char is from Malaysia (I interviewed her on my podcast) and she shares the healthier versions of dishes you may recognize as well as other recipes from her Malaysian Chinese upbringing. The Dan Dan Noodles and the Honey Sesame Chicken are two current favorites.
Although not Native Hawaiian, Alana grew up as a local resident of Hawaii and shares many of the things she learned growing up on Maui, the same island my grandma is from! She does a great job representing the diversity of local Hawaiian food. We've enjoyed the Mochiko chicken and Cone Sushi, a favorite from my childhood.
This cookbook is a beautiful homage to the incredible contributions of immigrants in the United States. It highlights chefs from around the world and their stories as immigrants, as chefs, and as Americans. I often get lost reading this cookbook just for fun! You can read more about the cookbook in my review of it here but it's a great all around cookbook.
There are so many recipes in this book that we are dying to try but a few we have tried and loved are the Cambodian Coconut Milk- Marinated Pork with Rice (Bai Sach Chrouk) and the Coconut Beef Curry from Chinese chef Shuai Wang.