Part 3! Here we go!
The Family Meal- Home Cooking with Ferran Adria
I remember when I was just discovering my foodieness and I asked someone who the best chef in the world was. Their answer was Ferran Adria of El Bulli. So here we go with that theme again: I just love knowing what a chef eats when they're actually cooking for themselves. Chefs at El Bulli eat a "family meal" together every day and that's what this book is about. They use purposefully inexpensive ingredients as they're feeding a crowd. There is a back up of stocks, broths, and sauces in the freezer. The family meals are well organized and coordinated with step by step instructions and timelines.
Each family meal at el Bulli includes bread, a first course, a second course and desert. The coolest part is they really mix together foods from all different cultures, as the chefs come from all over the world. In one night they'll eat burgers and ceasar salad and the next night its farfalle with pesto, Japanese style bream fish and Mandarin oranges in Cointreau. This book is a great way to adventure out and try new foods on the cheap, plus I promise you will become best friends with your local fishmonger.
The Working Class Foodies Cookbook by Rebecca Lando
The title for this one says it all. After the free PDF in part 1, this is my favorite budget cookbook. Each meal in this book costs under $8 per person and it's really great stuff: risotto, all kinds of soups, shrimp n grits (yum!), pasta from scratch.... Lando also has great recipes for cheaper cuts of meat and explains how to get the best deals/ most bang for your buck. There are recipes for lamb shanks, chicken wings, short ribs, various cuts of pork and the like.
The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
While the first key to cooking on a budget is knowing which foods cost the least (see book above) the second equally important key is to simply have cooking skills. As Lopez-Alt explains, once you know all of the ways to cook an egg, the basics of soups and stocks, meat preparation etc. then you can make something from pretty much anything. Instead of always following recipes you can think on the spot about what you'd like to cook with what you see in your fridge or whats on sale at the market. If there's one book that will make you the best cook you can possibly be, it's this one. It is the literal science of cooking, in a nutshell and Kenji Lopez-Alt does an awesome job of teaching. (he even took all of the pics in the book)
For example, here is a display of eggs boiled at 30 second intervals so you can decide exactly what consistency you'd like:
Thus concludes my list of favorite cookbooks for the cook on a budget. I'd love to know if you have a favorite budget cookbook. Let me know in the comments :-)