Need Fresh Ideas for Dinner? Nigel Slater Has Your Back

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

The book: Eat by Nigel Slater

The angle: A little book packed with over 600 ideas for dinner tonight.

Recipes for right now: Vietnamese Shrimp Baguettes, Split Peas with Eggplant, Chorizo and Sweet Potato Mash, Herb Ricotta Cakes, Chicken with Fennel and Leek, Cauliflower-Cheese Baked Potato, Wasabi Miso Beef

Who would enjoy this book? If you hate repeat dinners and always need new mealtime inspiration.

Quick Facts

Who wrote it: Nigel Slater

Who published it: Ten Speed Press

Number of recipes: Over 600

Other highlights: Here’s what I love about this book: Nigel Slater (love that man), beautiful photos that make me want to cook, concise recipes that tell me just what I need to know to get dinner on the table, and the fact that I’m certain that I could cook from this book for weeks and still find something fresh and new. I also love the short descriptions at the very end of the recipes that give a quick snapshot of what to expect from the dish: “A savory tangle” to describe a spaghetti dish and “Nutty. Spicy. Delicious fingers to lick” to describe a recipe for drumsticks. It’s in these little snippets that I really see Nigel Slater’s stamp.

Here’s what I’m not such a fan of with this book: It’s small and difficult to flip through — it’s a charming and beautifully-designed book, but when I need a quick weeknight recipe, I need function. I want to be able to flip quickly, find a recipe, and then have the book stay open on my counter. Also, I find it difficult to parse out the ingredients. The basic ingredients, like “turnips, orzo, mushroom, shallot, arugula,” are given above the recipe, but the amounts and prep instructions don’t show up until the recipe itself, which (for me) makes it difficult to put together a shopping list or organize my cooking. Maybe it’s just that I’m more used to traditional recipes, but this style feels more cumbersome than helpful to me right now.

These quibbles asides, I am definitely enjoying this cookbook for all the fresh ideas it’s brought to my weekly meal plans. There’s something about British cooking to me, as an American, that feels so familiar and friendly, and yet just “foreign” enough to be intriguing!

Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Eat by Nigel Slater

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