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The Best Things We Learned Testing A&M's Cookbook, A New Way to Dinner

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Weekend after weekend for a few months, the Food52 editors carried many bags of groceries home, set the timer, and then started “a cook”—not the "Breaking Bad" kind.

Our Founders Amanda & Merrill Are Writing a Book!
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Our Founders Amanda & Merrill Are Writing a Book!

We were testing the weekend cooking plans in Amanda and Merrill’s playbook for better meals all week long, A New Way to Dinner. Each few-hour cooking plan left us with so much good food to serve as building blocks for the week ahead—and taught us a thing or two along the way.

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Below are the first lessons we thought of when we chatted about our testing experiences. (We all learned a whole lot more—but you'll just have to cook from the book to see all that's possible.)

Sarah testing a spring menu of Merrill's.
  • Always have more cheese, bread, and butter than you think you need.
  • Always have a batch of cream biscuits in the freezer! They will win you so much love from your colleagues if you bring them in for breakfast. 

Sarah

The grocery cart—and the parsnips.
  • Take all your butter out of your fridge before you start cooking. No matter what. Just in case. 
  • New least favorite kitchen task: "coring parsnips."

Amanda

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Sweet and Savory Overnight Roast Pork
Sweet and Savory Overnight Roast Pork
  • The best thing in the world to have at the ready is slow-cooked pork shoulder, pretty much in any form (braised, slow-roasted, crockpotted). You can put it in so many things to make them better!

Kristen

Sam's before and after.
  • If you don't have a baking sheet, you can jigger one by turning your biggest casserole dish upside down and placing a sheet of parchment paper over it.
  • I can make meringues!

Sam

6 Tips for Perfect Meringue

6 Tips for Perfect Meringue by Alice Medrich

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How to Make Meringues with Any Amount of Leftover Egg Whites

How to Make Meringues with Any Amount of Leftover Egg Whites by Alice Medrich

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  • Always have a flavor-packed thing in a jar: confit, pickled something, romesco, green sauce...

  • I have intense food waste anxiety, always afraid I won’t eat all the food I bought. But I learned that I will get through all the food in a totally packed fridge in one week but only if I prepare it all first. A bunch of raw ingredients isn’t going to go anywhere.

Ali

maybe one day I will own a salad spinner

A photo posted by Ali (@itsalislagle) on

  • Buy a bag of lemons and zest and juice them en masse, thus avoiding 1. shrivelly lemons, 2. trying to zest half a lemon.

  • If at first you can't fit two watermelons in your refrigerator, try, try again.

Caroline

How to Grind Sausage at Home
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How to Grind Sausage at Home
  • I can make sausage at home! And it's easy!
  • Goat cheese is a versatile wonder. And you can actually find snap peas in NYC in the middle of winter.

Leslie

Kenzi getting her cook on.
Kenzi getting her cook on.
  • Whatever you do on Sunday, make a green sauce—pesto, chimichurri, charmoula, anything—just make it. It'll open up your whole fridge and pantry for the rest of the week.

  • Creamed greens.

Kenzi

Signed Copy: A New Way to Dinner, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs $36
Signed Copy: A New Way to Dinner, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

Preorder your signed copy of A New Way to Dinner in the Food52 shop!


Tags: a new way to dinner