Hardcore foodies might balk initially at the thesis statement of Miguel Barclay’s slim, appealing cookbook “One Pound Meals.” The Instagram star, who went viral for posting short, cut-together videos preparing one-pound, one-person meals, contends that most recipes require too many ingredients. Barclay insists that eliminating the unnecessary stuff is the trick to fixing food for less money. What his recipes sacrifice in complexity, they make up for in flavour and feasibility. Thrifty and clever, the simplicity of these dishes makes it seem entirely possible to throw them together on a weeknight, between class and that last-minute club event.
Cookbooks tend to capture some kind of joy – a respect for flavour, a deep love of craft or presentation, a sense of fun. Barclay finds his joy in innovation, in tricks and hacks to turn a recipe that might daunt an amateur into a manageable meal. It’s clearly designed for an on-the-go person, who otherwise wouldn’t cook at all. However, foodies who would rather turn their noses up will miss out; the book is full of cooking hints and tips, just as a tired chef might cook for herself at the end of a shift. The book’s design is user-friendly, with an index by ingredient in the back. If you want to use every penny of your one pound (or Euro), it’s easy to buy a pack of chicken and use it in different dishes throughout the week.
Barclay’s book is notable for the sheer variety of flavours and cultures he evokes with one cabinet of spices. From curry to Chinese food to pizza, “One Pound Meals” proves home cooking doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming, or expensive. Good food for all, regardless of budget!