Perfectly Good Food: A Totally Achievable Zero Waste Approach to Home Cooking (Paperback)
A Food & Wine Best New Summer Cookbook
A Book Riot Most Anticipated Cookbook of 2023
How to cook flexibly and fight food waste, with 80 recipes and 150 ideas to use up what you have.
You’re standing in front of your refrigerator, a week after your last trip to the supermarket. You’ve got a bunch of random veggies, some wrinkly fruit, near-expired milk, and those pricey fresh herbs you bought for that one recipe and don’t know how to use up. For a split second you picture yourself opening a trash bag, throwing everything away, and ordering takeout. We’ve all been there.
But instead…you pick up this cookbook. In no time you’ve prepared a Make-It-Your-Own Stir-Fry and How-You-Like-It Savory Pancakes, plus a Mix-and-Match Fruit Galette that you’ll have for dessert. Time to celebrate—you’re saving food, shrinking that grocery bill, and learning some key skills for making the most of what you have. It’s exciting to be able to create new dishes and waste less food, and most importantly—a delicious dinner is on the table!
Perfectly Good Food is a book for those moments everyone has, whether you cook for one or a whole household—moments standing before an overfull pantry or near-empty fridge, not sure what to do with an abundance of summer tomatoes or the last of the droopy spinach. Chock-full of ingenious use-it-up tips, smart storage ideas, and infinitely adaptable recipes, this book will teach you
- why smoothies are your secret weapon;
- how to freeze (almost) anything;
- why using your senses in the kitchen (including common sense!) is more important than so-called shelf-life.
Written by the chef-sisters behind Boston’s acclaimed Mei Mei Dumplings, this cookbook/field guide is a crucial resource for the thrifty chef, the environmentally mindful cook, and anyone looking to make the most of their ingredients.
Irene Li is coauthor of the award-winning cookbook Double Awesome Chinese Food. She is a 2022 James Beard Leadership Award winner and lives in Boston, supporting the Mei Mei Dumplings team.
— Dana Goodyear - New Yorker
A field guide that prioritizes functionality and fun, while providing people with tools they can apply as they’re able.
— Charlotte Druckman - Washington Post
Perfectly Good Food is an invigorating change from typical cookbooks because it’s (fittingly) not really concerned with perfect, beautiful, farm-to-fridge food; rather, it’s about getting down and dirty with the stuff you already have . . . [Perfectly Good Food] will make it fun to reconceptualize your kitchen into a mean, green, food waste-fighting machine.
— Adam Rothbarth - Vice
One of the best things about Perfectly Good Food is its desire to help readers depend less on instructions and more on their own confidence in the kitchen, the trickle-down effect of which is less food waste. If you have the confidence and creativity to make something tasty out of that wilted lettuce, you’re much less likely to throw it in the trash…[That] confidence is liberating.
— Francie Lin - Boston Globe
Perfectly Good Food makes a strong case for saving more of the food that we Westerners typically throw away when half eaten or left over; its readers will start to save onions, and view the sell-by dates on most foods with more skepticism.
— Adam Gopnik - New Yorker
Margaret and Irene Li…have put over a decade of professional experience into a 'field guide' for transforming potential kitchen throwaways into delicious meals…I’ve already been inspired to add an 'eat me first' box of leftovers to my fridge, whip up a batch of apple-cheddar muffins with bruised fruit, and celebrate with a tomato-water martini.
— Daniel Walton - Civil Eats
Ever noticed that some cooks can look at a few odds and ends in the refrigerator and somehow know what to do to transform them into a cohesive meal? Margaret and Irene Li…want to help you become someone who knows how to turn a few spare veggies into fried rice, paella or a pot pie. They also have ideas for onion scraps (make chile oil), and share formulas for creating a tasty dressing from the jars and pastes sitting in your fridge door. The book is full of recipes and use-it-up ideas to help you eliminate food waste in your kitchen one delicious summer roll at a time.
— Chandra Ram - Food & Wine
[Perfectly Good Food is a guide] to developing instinct, and with instinct comes the ability to see a use for even the most idiosyncratic ingredients. There is no point in wasting, because something good can come out of everything.
— Bettina Makalintal - Eater
Perfectly Good Food is the most flat-out fun entry in the sometimes austere genre of food waste recipe volumes. The Li sisters gamify the pursuit of using up leftovers, and the prize is really cool stuff to eat. They'll have you using allium scraps to infuse flavor in homemade chili crisp, pureeing saggy heads of lettuce in a creamy soup, and mixing any kind of ground meat into four-ingredient meatballs.
— Sara Bir - Simply Recipes