1. The cookbooks I’m cracking open
A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater (HarperCollins)
I’ve been obsessed with Slater’s writing for years. He has a way of making every recipe, simple or complex, sound compelling. This new book feels extra-special: It’s chunky, offers loads of witty narrative and has lovely design details.
Filipinx by Angela Dimayuga and Ligaya Mishan (Abrams)
I’m privileged to have experienced many food cultures in Toronto, but I’ve long felt that Filipino cuisine is under-represented in the restaurant and cookbook worlds. It’s great to see several new books exploring this rich food culture. Filipinx focuses on the diaspora, a POV near and dear to my immigrant heart. Cooking is, after all, about adapting.
All Day Baking: Savoury, Not Sweet by Michael and Pippa James (Hardie Grant)
I’m a retailer, so the post-holiday season is my time to bake. And while I have a sweet tooth, my craving for savoury is stronger. This book is going to be in heavy rotation this winter: Its Indian Vegetable Curry Pie and Root Vegetable Wellington recipes are beckoning me to the rolling pin.—Mika Bareket from Good Egg, a Toronto cookbook store and independent cookbook publisher
2. I want to see purple reign over store shelves
Ube is a purple yam from the Philippines that has a nutty, vanilla-like flavour when cooked. Ube ice cream was one of my favourite desserts growing up in Asia, but the flavour didn’t take off here until Filipino food businesses started featuring it. Now big brands like Trader Joe’s are trying to get in on its deliciousness.—Irene Ngo, Chatelaine food content director
3. The way I’m changing dining out
I want to let go of the impulse to always try something new. Instead, I want to put in the effort (and ask the uncomfortable questions) to find restaurants with ethical labour practices as well as delicious food, and support the hell out of them. It helps that a good restaurant is always better than a new one.—Corey Mintz, journalist and author of The Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After (PublicAffairs)
4. I’m going to cut down on kitchen waste—by cutting down on meal planning
I plan three dinners a week. Any more and I inevitably have an evening when I don’t want to cook, plans change or I lose steam. Plus, what are you going to do with all the half-stalks of celery and leftover rice from seven planned meals?
I freestyle the rest of the week’s dinners with those leftover bits and a list of simple go-tos: pasta, coconut Thai curry, frittata, veggie dal, quesadillas and bean soups. I can make them from pantry staples, and they accommodate straggling ingredients well. Or I just start over and build whatever’s left strategically into my next three-day meal plan. It totally minimizes waste.—Jennifer Pallian, blogger at foodess.com and food waste champion at Love Food Hate Waste Canada
5. The kitchen project I want to master
I’ve long wanted to make cheese buldak, a Korean dish of spicy barbecued chicken blanketed with cheese whose name literally translates to “fire chicken.” A local place used to make theirs with a crispy layer of rice. I sorely miss it. The cold nights of the new year are the ideal time to bring it back.—Tara O’Brady, cookbook author and recipe developer
6. My next kitchen splurge: A second-hand pan
I was going to treat myself to a cast iron braiser but fell down the rabbit hole of vintage cookware instead. Many mid-century pots and pans still cook well if you take care of them. Also, they’re gorgeous—and you can find them for a steal if you’re willing to scour estate sales or thrift shops.—Chantal Braganza, Chatelaine senior editor