By Cinda Chavich

Touchwood Editions 2015 $29.95

Waste not, want not – something we should all be more concerned about when it comes to the food we buy. We have gone through many stages of a culinary evolution and are now more educated on the value of eating locally, but this book goes further in our education.  Chavich wants us to acquire better habits and teaches us how to make the most of the food we purchase. This is not a glossy coffee table cookbook, but more a reference tool we all can use more often in the kitchen.

Cinda Chavich is a well-respected food writer in Canada with lots of information to share, and she gives us the facts on food waste in this country, and deals with our concerns for food safety as well.

The book is set out alphabetically with each ingredient given a one-page summary of guidelines for buying, storing and serving, as well as numerous quick fixes for using up. A few recipes with the featured ingredient follow.

Chavich talks about general strategies to live by to achieve the goals of better food use habits. She gives us the “White Box Challenge” a reference to when chefs are given a black box of ingredients (either on reality cooking shows or as a professional test) and have to come up with a meal. The “white box” being, of course, your refrigerator.

So open your refrigerator, grab five ingredients and devise a meal plan. After reading this book you may feel more confident doing so.

Karen Miller is a lawyer by trade, giving her a knack for picking apart a cookbook. She has taught many styles of cooking classes and was part of the Calgary Dishing girls.

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