The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Inspired Recipes for Hard-to-Inspire Cooks (That's Me)

Categories: Get Lit, Recipes

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Photos by Christina Uticone
Not only are the photos by Christina Uticone, SO IS THE FOOD.
Molly Dunn really needs to stop writing about cookbooks, because I'm going broke and gaining weight. That goes for you, too, Patrise Shuttlesworth!

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.

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Meatloaf Meatballs with Tomato Glaze. I managed to photograph ONE before they were gone.
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.

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.

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3 comments
MalloryB88
MalloryB88

Wow, I've been hearing a lot of good things about the smitten kitchen cookbook, and as Margie said, this review is really sells it well! I've been mostly relying on some great digital cookbooks recommended by In The Kitchen (http://truewebservices.com/InTheKitchen/cookbook-holiday) as well as fave cooking blogs like Chow, but it'd be great to have this physical book to accompany those resources, especially since it's apparently just a great read in general!

jennfung15
jennfung15

I love the blog, I went to the book signing, and I've been making things out of her cookbook non-stop. I'm a Smitten Kitchen groupie. She makes me look like I know what I'm doing. If you're still skeptical  try out her blog recipes, and if the work out for you, the book will be your new kitchen staple. 

AwesomeMargie
AwesomeMargie

Damn.  I've always loved The Smitten Kitchen blog but I didn't want to purchase the book because I am running out of room.  Well, you just sold me on it.  

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