the i <3 trader joe's cookbook

I bought this for my sister for Christmas, and after flipping through it decided I needed to have it, too. So I put the Barnes & Noble gift card that my uncle gave me to good use last Friday.

The irony, of course, is that I will soon be moving to a state that has no Trader Joe’s. But it’s not like you can’t get, say,  goat cheese or proscuitto anywhere in the state. The days of small southern town grocery stores stocking nothing but mayo, white bread, and pickled pig’s feet are long gone. For instance, I was able to find all the ingredients I needed to make hot & sour soup at Rouse’s, a sort of quasi Whole Foods-ish grocery store that’s in Youngsville, a dinky little town barely bigger than Abbeville and just down the road from it. And in fact, there’s an actual Whole Foods in Lafayette.

The only thing that kind of sucks is that none of these stores combine slightly exotic foods with Trader Joe’s low prices. While Rouse’s isn’t nearly as expensive as Whole Paycheck Foods, it still doesn’t approach TJ’s surisingly low prices. No matter how many years I’ve been buying groceries there, I’m still always surprised at how low the total is when they finish ringing me up.

Anyway, the book. It’s worth the price just for the appetizer section alone, which has a lot of unusual combos of sweet and savory, most involving cheese: apricots and goat cheese, cherry preserves with pepper and pecarino romano, puff pastry with green olives and gorgonzola. And the other sections — which include salads, soups, poultry, pork, red meat, and desserts — all have at least 4 or 5 recipes that I can’t wait to make.

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