The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Inspired Recipes for Hard-to-Inspire Cooks (That's Me)
Molly Dunn really needs to stop writing about cookbooks, because I'm going broke and gaining weight. That goes for you, too, Patrise Shuttlesworth!
Photos by Christina Uticone Not only are the photos by Christina Uticone, SO IS THE FOOD.
I was browsing the shelves at Brazos Bookstore less than two weeks ago, and mentioned to manager Jeremy Ellis how much I had enjoyed the cookbook Plenty, which I picked up after Patrise recommended it here on EOW.
"Have you seen The Smitten Kitchen?" Jeremy asked, leading me over to a display. As I flipped through the pages, Jeremy mentioned that one thing that really sets The Smitten Kitchen apart is what a great read it is -- SOLD.
Since purchasing the book 13 days ago, I have been reading it
during between conference calls. I brought it to the gym. I baked a cake on a Monday, and then baked the same cake all over again the next Friday, after we had finished the first one.
To say that I am obsessed is an understatement.
I am not a confident cook, although I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was just a few years ago. Part of the problem is that I started cooking so late in life, and part of the problem is my type-A personality, which causes me to panic and hyperventilate at the thought of not following a recipe exactly. Kitchen improvisation is not my strong suit.
Meatloaf Meatballs with Tomato Glaze. I managed to photograph ONE before they were gone.
The Smitten Kitchen is a cookbook written by home cook/blogger Deb Perelman, who developed all of her recipes in a teeny-tiny New York City kitchen. Her writing is warm and inviting, lightly self-deprecating, and full of stories about her own recipe substitution hits and misses. Perelman's stories have given me (or at least encouraged) a certain level of confidence in myself I didn't possess before. It doesn't hurt that so many of her recipes include ingredients we regularly keep on hand, and that she includes common substitutions in the footnotes.
The chapters include: Breakfast, Salads, Sandwiches/Tarts/Pizzas, Main Dish (Vegetarian & Meat Eaters), Sweets (cookies, pies, etc.), and Party Snacks & Drinks. Her recipes are set up in paragraph form rather than bullet points, which some Amazon reviewers didn't like but I didn't mind at all. What I really love about the book, though, are the chapters on measurements (including a conversion guide, HOLLA!), her tips, and her assessment on stocking a kitchen with gear and gadgets. She works in a small space, so her choices and reasoning are interesting -- even if you have room for a zillion appliances, it's still very informative.