I’m really enjoying Lukas Volger’s new cookbook, Start Simple: Eleven Everyday Ingredients for Countless Weeknight Meals. It came out two months ago, a positively bizarre time in which we entered and left our homes with abandon, casually hugged friends we were happy to see, and if our nose became itchy, we’d scratch it and not stand paralyzed in panic afterward. What salad days! Volger’s new book wasn’t created with pandemic cooking in mind — what was, really — but it feels just right for right now because each chapter focuses on a staple our local store is miraculously not out of (tofu, tortillas, beans, greens, squash, and more), and the recipes have refreshingly short ingredient lists and unfussy assemblies. Volger’s vegetarian cooking is very doable, the kind of do-ability that comes from the fact that this is clearly the food he cooks for himself at home, so all of the kinks are smoothed out. Everything sounds so good — smoky chickpea salad with olives and lemon and black beans with scallion-lime vinaigrette from the bean section are on my shortlist — you might find yourself wondering why this unwavering simplicity isn’t the goal of every cookbook.