The Poorcraft Cookbook

The Poorcraft Cookbook

The Poorcraft Cookbook is an outstanding addition to the Poorcraft series.

The original volume, which came out in 2012, had a handful of recipes (focusing on rice, beans, pasta, potatoes, and a roast chicken) in the food chapter. This volume, by Nero Villagallos O’Reilly, expands greatly on the idea.

It takes a while before we actually get to the recipes, as advice on buying and cooking comes first. Penny (the one with the practical advice) and her dog Nickel help neighbor Milli learn about all the places you can obtain food, spices, and cooking equipment. Bulk buying, cleaning techniques, and storage organization all make an appearance with useful (and potentially life-saving) tips. (The book is 238 pages, and the recipes start on p80.)

The recipes surprised me. There are a lot of breads, for instance, including tortillas and pizza dough, as well as plenty of desserts. There are no solo meat recipes, but various bowls, breakfast dishes, sandwiches, pastas, soups, sauces, several curries, casseroles, and even mixed drinks make an appearance. I haven’t tried a lot of things mentioned here, but I don’t have to consider cost in my choices. It was eye-opening how simple ingredients could be prepared in a variety of ways. Many of these are vegetable-focused, which would probably be healthier than my usual patterns.

Even illustrated, most of the recipes are only one or two pages. I would have appreciated more explanation of some of the dishes — I was unfamiliar with migas or sancocho, for example — but the space doesn’t allow for anything more than ingredients and instructions. Still, I’m trying the chilaquiles for breakfast soon.

The Poorcraft Cookbook

The first Poorcraft said “no ramen noodles!” because it was about “living well on less”. There is a ramen recipe here, but it’s much more complex than packaged noodles with salt flavor.

My biggest complaint is that the notes should have been on the same page as the content they’re commenting on. Flipping back and forth digitally without hyperlinks is too hard. Particularly since the note section doesn’t provide context for the comment. Otherwise, this would make an excellent read for anyone out on their own.

The pre-order crowd-funding option closes today. (This was the project where Kickstarter leader Iron Circus changed to their own system.) You can get a digital version now, a print version at the end of the month, but only the publisher’s preorder version offers lay-flat spiral binding — although you have to wait until September for it to arrive. (The publisher provided a digital copy for review.)

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