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In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World Paperback – May 24, 2011

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The Best and Lightest: 150 Healthy Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner by Editors of Food Network Magazine
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Editorial Reviews


“I love In the Small Kitchen so much. It’s packed with brilliant advice and delicious recipes for anyone who wants to cook and entertain—no matter what size your kitchen.” (Ina Garten)

“[Cara and Phoebe’s] fantastic cookbook, In the Small Kitchen, [is] a collection of innovative recipes.” (Glamour)

“Childhood friends learn to how survive as home cooks in cramped NYC quarters.” (Daily News)

“A thoughtful guide for novice cooks, those who have the ambition and tastes for great meals but not necessarily the honed skills or applianced-out kitchens to execute them. Regardless of your kitchen’s square footage, the recipes in In the Small Kitchen translate beautifully.” (Serious Eats)

“Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a girl who’s burned boiling water, this book will feed you, please you, and maybe even inspire you to take a little leap of your own.” (Bust Magazine)

“Part memoir, part instruction manual, this cookbook stands out because of its usability. [In the Small Kitchen] is sure to please the reader as well as the eater.” (Free Lance-Star)

“An essential first-apartment culinary guide.” (MSN Glo)

“A very edible collection of both recipes and life stories that are sure to make you hungry for more.” (

“Friends and food: What could be more fun? That’s the underlying premise of this practical and creative cookbook. Easy-to-read recipes for all occasions, whether eating alone, with a date or partying with friends.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Those who’ve never been confined to a tiny kitchen rarely learn to cook smart and joyfully with full awareness of the miracle of dinner. Cara and Phoebe make me wistful for the good old days of cooking for twenty in a four-foot-square kitchen. Bravo!” (Molly O'Neill, author One Big Table)

“I was as charmed by this brilliant collection of recipes as I was transported by the stories behind them. This is a truly wonderful cookbook.” (Keith McNally, restaurateur and owner of Balthazar)

“If the only things you know how to make are ramen and reservations, Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine want you to know that you, too, can become a great chef.” (Metro)

“Cara and Phoebe have figured out what takes some of us a tad longer to realize. We can cook anywhere, any time, with anything on any budget. Take this book into your kitchen, even if it’s a hot plate and a toaster oven on a bookshelf, and feast.” (Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of Public Radio’s The Splendid Table from American Public Media)

“[Cara and Phoebe] teach us that no coffee table is too small or studio space too humble to throw a little party for friends in. This book is chock-full of easy-to-follow recipes, bursting with fresh flavors and produce.” (The Kitchn)

“So much more than just a collection of recipes. I feel like I know these ladies, and if I ever found myself in New York, they’d happily pull up an extra chair. Cara and Pheobe’s recipes are fresh, tasty, and relatively easy to prepare...I ate it all up.” (Reading for Sanity)

“In the Small Kitchen is a comprehensive and inspiring must-have guide for quarter-life cooks everywhere. Cara and Phoebe infuse their writing, and their appealing recipes, with the humor and wisdom of those with twice their life experience.” (Merrill Stubbs, coauthor of The Food52 Cookbook)

“With limited time, space, budgets and sometimes the obstacle of masses to feed, these girls are able to not only impress but keep their guests coming back for more.” (

“Taking a tried-and-true recipe and improvising is part of the fun of cooking. It’s among the joys offered in In the Small Kitchen.” (The Modesto Bee)

“Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine share delicious recipes and hilarious narratives about cooking and entertaining within the constraints of a twenty-something life.” (New Canaan Patch)

“[Cara and Phoebe] have succeeded very well in creating a wonderful book that’s as fun and funny as it is a practical guide. In the Small Kitchen is a combination starter cookbook and journal chronicling a coming of age year in the friends’ shared lives.” (The Martha's Vineyard Times)

From the Back Cover

It's hard to forget your first apartment—its cramped closets, one too many roommates, and oh-so-tiny kitchen—or the first entry-level job, vibrant but hectic social life, and newfound independence that come with it. For Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine, that first small kitchen was a blessing in disguise, a haven from adulthood's worries and thrills. In the Small Kitchen, inspired by their popular website Big Girls, Small Kitchen, is their debut cookbook, filled with more than 100 delicious recipes for cooking and entertaining within the constraints of a twentysomething life. Whether you're packing Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches for a cubicle picnic, staying in with a cup of Workweek Tomato Soup and Cara's Classic Gooey Grilled Cheese, whipping up Three Onion Dip and Pimm's Cup for a cocktail party, or making Shrimp Risotto with Sweet Peas and Leeks to impress a special dinner date, Cara and Phoebe will show you how to stretch your imagination and your pocketbook to get the most out of your small kitchen without sacrificing the flavor or fun of savoring a good meal. In the Small Kitchen will get a new generation into the habit of cooking and make your kitchen a place everyone wants to be.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061998249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061998249
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Hello Kitchen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I own hundreds of cookbooks. That sounds worse than it is, considering my age :) I don't really read most, I just search for recipes that sound good and follow them. Some don't include any useable recipes, but are good for sparking ideas. I generally ignore the forward to the book as well as most of the text other than the recipes. I'm sorry, but to me that's all a cookbook needs to be. A resource, or a reference.

My experience with In the Small Kitchen was quite different. The book states this cookbook was written by the creators of Big Girls, Small Kitchen. I had never heard of their blog before, and I purposely avoided it until after reading the book so I'd know if the book could stand alone if you were not already a fan. After reading the book, then exploring their website, I realized that the authors' experience with blogging has turned them into masters of short stories. I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading this book as a book and not just as a cookbook. The book stood very well without prior knowledge of the authors or their website.

Things I enjoyed most about this cookbook:
*The book begins with a list of basic essential equipment. You'll be surprised at how little you really need until you see it explained as well as they did. I'm channeling my inner kitchen minimalist!
*Many of the recipes serve just 2 people. They can be easily doubled or more, but are a great starting point.
*All of the recipes call for easily accessible ingredients, even if the results are far from ordinary

The first recipe I tried from In the Small Kitchen was Swiss Chard Frittata. The recipe serves 2, but it was easy to cut in half and prepare in a small single serving pan. I love Swiss chard, but it never occurred to me to use it in a frittata.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Reynard VINE VOICE on August 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Recipes Tried (8.17.2011):20 of 100

Ah, another cookbook based off a blog. Filled with stories and anecdotes along with recipes. I should learn by now that these aren't really to my taste but I always hope that the recipes will be more than enough to make up for the other stuff I must sift through. I'm not going to say this is a bad cookbook by any means, but I won't say it is excellent either.

The two authors of this cookbook are friends, who, as they grew up, moved to college, and beyond took their friendship to the kitchen. The express their love of cooking, their mistakes and their successes. They also share dinner party tricks and tips and other sundry items and stories. I have to confess that I wasn't very fond of their stories; like most personal anecdotes I read in cookbooks its probably great for those who known them, but to the stranger it can be hard to connect.

There are several chapters including Getting Started, which doesn't have recipes but rather is a how-to and pantry stock of sorts. Next chapter is Cooking for One, which as it sounds is cooking for one. Despite it being named this however, many of the recipes could easily be shared, at least the ones I tried. I have tried the Peas for One, which was good but made quite a bit. The Spinach Pie Quesadilla, which really wasn't anything special which is the same comments I have for the Swiss Chard Frittata. The Yogurt Carbonara was quick to make but really not so excellent as well. The Soft Scrambled Eggs and Gooey Grilled Cheese Sandwich were both things that are pretty standard and basic to make. I did really like Phoebe's Pesto Panino and thought it had a great mix of flavors.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian Connors VINE VOICE on June 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cookbooks take all different forms -- some elaborate, some spartan, some nerdy, some flowery. Although "In The Small Kitchen" certainly resembles a lot of other memoirish cookbooks I've seen, its strongest point is that it's very personal and social while still being creative. To an extent I liken it to Mitchell Davis' criminally obscure Cook Something, a book that incorporates some of the best of the author's social circle's tastes. Though menu-oriented, the authors' creative recipes (polenta steaks? yum) and personal stories capture the experiences of two people their first few years of life on their own in an engaging, cozy manner.

And the recipes are innovative -- from Phoebe's ultimate comfort food, the "mug of peas", to onion tarts and several different takes on pasta, as well as social activities like magazine clubs, and even advice for dating dinners, the book is just plain fun. The authors revel in the best our current cuisines have to offer, making everything approachable and less intimidating for people who haven't spent a lot of time in that sort of social environment.

This is a cool book. That's really the limit of what there is to say about it, and anything else is gravy. It's also a great excuse to get a few friends together for a dinner party.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alcee Arobin VINE VOICE on September 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have a ton of cookbooks, and while I can't necessarily say that this one stands out, there are a few reasons why I believe it's better than average and deserving of at least four stars.

First of all this is a cookbook that's geared toward the younger crowd and actually does manage to feel hip. Secondly, there is a concerted effort toward using fresh, healthy ingredients. This would be a great choice if you're either vegetarian or don't like a lot of protein in your diet. There are several meat recipes, but most could be adapted to fit a veg-only diet. Also, in my experience, these recipes really are ideal for someone working in a small kitchen with limited space. Finally and most important for me, I love that most of these recipes are designed for two servings. It makes perfect since. Anything larger wouldn't make much since considering their demographic. That said, there is a chapter devoted to dinner parties with larger servings.

Now mind you, a lot of things in the book are redundant. The introduction includes a list of essential kitchen utensils. Is it just me or does just about every cookbook include a similar section these days? I suppose they felt it useful for their target audience (college kids to late-20s) who might not have as much experience, but I'm getting sick of these lists. As the recipes go, there's not much here that's terribly original. These all feel like things I've seen before, although there are definitely some unique takes on a few classics (see, for example, the Swiss chard frittata).

One thing maybe to consider: I was given a copy of that Pioneer Woman's cookbook last year. Out of curiosity, I checked her blog and discovered that just about every thing listed in the book could be found online.
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