Books | ‘Graze: Inspiration for Small Plates and Meandering Meals’ by Suzanne Lenzer

This cookbook’s chapters are organized according to how much effort the reader wants to put forth.

graze book
Photo by Mike Ramm

Restaurants impact what we eat and how we eat. Just like when the farm-to-table movement ushered in farmers market mania, the small plates revolution will eventually dominate home tables, too. And when it’s harder than ever to find time to cook a full meal, it makes sense to embrace a hunk of cheese, a cured meat, a loaf of bread and quickly prepped vegetables to create dinner.

Graze is a charming companion, a book mostly of ideas and shopping tips, with meal plans and selected recipes to put together both weeknight sessions and bigger dinner parties. Suzanne Lenzer gives directions on draping soppressata around two grissini (Italian breadsticks) and mashing Stilton into butter, but also for roasting thinly sliced parsnips into crispy tendrils and rolling dough to form tartlets crowded with smoked salmon and asparagus. Chapters divide into how much the cook is willing to work, with nothing rivaling the elaborate chef-driven coffee table vanity projects. This is a cookbook celebrating good, seasonal food simply—a book of the times, really.

(October 2017)