A gifty, funny, and practical guide to transforming the most lackluster of ingredients into a delicious meal, making bad food good and making good food even better, from the author of the New York Times bestselling and IACP Award–winning Twelve Recipes.
Dinner is looking meh. Maybe the stove was left unattended for just a second too long for your original plan; maybe the on-sale meat at the supermarket isn’t looking quite worth the savings after two days in the fridge. Do you waste food and time trying to start from scratch, or money ordering takeout? No, you face up to the facts, step up your game, and transform that cooking conundrum into a delicious meal. The best way to do that? Follow the guidance of Cal Peternell, a chef coming out of the restaurant kitchen to meet cooks where they are with this funny, practical manual for making Bad Food Good.
Though many pro chefs may be able to get their sustainably sourced, locally grown, 100 percent grass-fed, organic ingredients and gently guide them through careful preparation to a simply sublime dish, most of us don’t achieve farm-to-table perfection in every step of the process. From facing down third-day leftovers that have lost a little of their luster to the limits of their local supermarket’s quality, many home cooks start at a disadvantage. With his signature dry wit and years of experience cooking for everyone from high-end restaurant patrons to his hungry family, Cal Peternell is here to level the playing field with this bag of tricks for turning standard (or substandard) fare into a meal to be proud of, troubleshooting such situations as:
- Making the best of burned food (Burned your toast? Time to make Cheesy Onion Bread Pudding!)
- Hacking packaged food (including 5 variations on “Hackaroni and Cheese”)
- Things restaurants often do wrong and you can do better (including pesto, queso, bean dip, ranch, and more)
- Spicing up lackluster vegetables (Brocco Tacos dazzle both in name and in flavor)
- Snazzing up dishes with “special sauces for the boring” (including vegetable purees and an infinite variety of savory butter sauces)
Cal also includes a series of hilarious Old Man cocktails, ranging from the Bitter Old Man (one part bitter, one part brandy) to the Wise Old Man (8 ounces water and a good night’s sleep).
Up your cooking game by learning how to spin anything in your pantry or fridge into something special with Burnt Toast and Other Disasters.