I'm sure you know the story of the hungry beggar who arrives in a miserly village with nothing but a kettle. He drops an ordinary stone in the kettle, adds some water and calls it "stone soup".
"It's delicious!" he cries to the gathering crowd. "Now if only I had an onion ..."
One by one, the villagers part with their produce — and their miserly ways. Before long, the pretend soup has become a real one: savory, aromatic and generous enough to feed the entire town.
It's a good story for lean times like these. Fact is, the miracle of dinner is an ordinary one — and these three books make it easy to conjure up mouthwatering meals from the most unmagical of ingredients.