Customer Reviews: The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified!
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on November 3, 2013
Seriously, I've always been that girl that needed "a pinch" measured out. I mean, whose pinch are we talking about?? A giant, a baby, a little old lady?! I overthink everything. Jessica Seinfeld spells it out, God bless her soul!!

I never learned to cook. I'm 25 and live off fast food and frozen dinners. Imagine my dismay when I meet a man who can cook without thinking about it and doesn't know my dirty little secret! I gotta find a way to hide it...

Enter "The Can't Cookbook".

The very first recipe I tried was the Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts, and 15 (FIFTEEN!!!!) minutes later I was eating moist, flavorful chicken better than anything my mama ever made.

I'm sold, and SUPER excited to memorize these simple recipes so I can act like I've been cooking all along.

Buy this book.
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on July 19, 2015
I received this book from monthly lifestyle subscription box almost 2 years ago and I still use it today. It's a wonderful cook book full of great recipes. This book is designed to help even the most clueless person in the kitchen. A lot of the book I kind of bypassed because I know my way around the kitchen but for the sake of this review I will go over it.

The contents of this book has 7 sections outside of the introduction, index and acknowledgements.

1. Gear Up: This section discusses the basic kitchen tools you need in the your home to cook the recipes in the this book as well as just simple basic meals. She goes over knives, pots/pans/skillets, preparation utensils like cutting boards, mixing bowls, and pans to bake with. She also covers some electric appliances like mixers, blenders, slow cooker etc. Most of these items are simple tools you use in your home, nothing extravagant for a more experienced cook.

2./3. Stock Up/Set Up: These sections covers how to make cooking in the kitchen as easy as possible by doing things ahead of time.

4. How To: This section will show you how to put to action all those "complicated" cooking terms when you follow a recipe. The author breaks down several food items and teach how they may be asked to be prepared like garlic, onion, herbs. etc.

5. Recipes: Recipes are broken down into the following categories: Breakfast, Chicken, Meat, Fish, Pasta, Vegetables, Grains & Beans, Salads, and Desserts. There are over 100 recipes so there is a little something for everyone.

Each recipe is very easy to follow and the author really does a great job at breaking down each step to avoid confusion. Here are few of my favorite recipes.

Skillet Roasted Potatoes & Chicken
Chicken with Rice & Peas
Herb Roasted Beef with Potatoes & Carrots
Lemon-Thyme Salmon
Smashed Potatoes with Chives
Lemon-Thyme Portabello Mushrooms
Roasted Cauliflower & Sage
Broiled Honey Nut Banana
Marinated Strawberries

6. Quickies: This section covers some simple meals you can create if you aren't comfortable yet handling the more complicated recipes in the book. These recipes cover ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These "recipes" require very little cooking.

7. Other Useful Things: This section covers other odds and in that that may help helpful to a more beginner cook like what fresh produce is in season, and storage and food safety guidelines.

In conclusion this book is great. I've been cooking for many years and only used it for the recipes but there are many layers to this book that can be helpful to just about anyone. There are also videos that show you how to do certain steps that you can access from online if you are a more visual learner as well.

Please rate my review as "helpful" if you have found it as such or any of my other reviews. I enjoy writing reviews and put a lot of effort into how I feel about the products. I think it is important as consumers to make a well informed decision before purchasing a product.
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on March 31, 2014
I liked this better than I expected to.

This would actually be a good weeknight cookbook for pretty much anyone who isn't a super-serious cook, even if s/he is somewhat experienced. The recipes are basic--roasted vegetables, etc.--but they look good; they're not health-crazy but they're not gratuitously unhealthy, either; they don't require obscure ingredients, they don't use canned soup, they don't require a lot of ingredients (Rachael Ray's recipes sometimes strike me as overly long for the results you get), and they don't require special equipment. Even though she recommends a food processor as a long-term purchase, I think the pesto is the only recipe that really needs it (can you make pesto in a blender? If so, you don't even need the processor. I suspect more people have blenders, and they're less expensive).

Where it could have been better:
1) There are no instructions on the safe handling of chicken. Normally this wouldn't bother me except that the book is aimed at inexperienced cooks, who might not think through how foods can be cross-contaminated if you reuse your chicken knife and cutting board on the salad vegetables, etc.
2) There is an information section but it's at the back of the book. Put it at the front! It's useful! Make sure people read it!
3) It could use a small glossary. For instance, it does tell you how to poach chicken, but if you knew ahead of time that poaching just meant to cook by simmering in liquid, it would feel less like a mystery going in.
4) She frequently refers to meat cuts by weight but does not recommend the purchase of a food scale. I think a food scale is more essential than a salad spinner, pepper grinder, food processor, or panini press.

I think it's reasonable to point out, though, that she makes a comment in the introduction, something about if you're one of those Can't Cooks who gets halfway through a recipe and realizes you don't have an ingredient or don't know how to do the next step, etc. If that's the reason you "can't cook", then your problem is that you don't read through recipes first to find out what you need and what you have to do. If that's your problem, neither this nor any other book can save you, because that is a planning problem, not a book problem. This book is simple, but there are many other books that are just as simple, and none of them can magically make home chefs out of people who don't plan or follow instructions effectively. I wasn't born knowing how to cook, either; I got there by reading the recipe first, Googling what I didn't know, and not experimenting too much until I had enough experience to understand how I might affect the results.

So, as a book for people who "can't cook" I think it went 80%.
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on October 8, 2013
People that haven't checked out the book should not be allowed to review it. I was so excited for this book I pre-ordered it thanks for someone I knew that had it before it hit the shelves. I wing Pinterest recipes but am in no way a cook. A lot of cook books are daunting and overwhelming to the point they collect dust on my counter. This woman is a genius. She even explains what you need in your kitchen, why you need it and what the gadgets do that are referenced in some recipes. I so wish I owned this before I registered for my wedding.
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on November 11, 2013
From The Mommy's Review/The Alternative

Luckily for many of us, Jessica Seinfeld has recently released the Can't Cook Book: 100+ Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified (Atria Books). This self-taught cook and author of Deceptively Delicious (a book many moms and dads have in their arsenal), has created a unique, informative, and entertaining cookbook for anyone who needs a basic primer in all things cooking. (To be honest, I'm a few steps ahead of that, but not much!)

Seinfeld starts the book with a dossier on what to have in your pantry, what basic cooking utensils are, and even directions on how to cut onions, avocados, and more. Following that, she offers easy-to-follow recipes for everything from breakfast (who doesn't LOVE Lemon Ricotta pancakes) to main dishes (Roasted Striped-Bass and Tomatoes, anyone?), and of course, desserts.

There are two things that I adore about this extremely helpful cookbook. First is Seinfeld's tone throughout the book. She talks to the home cook like an old girlfriend, offering words of encouragement and a lot of humor. (Re: the Baked Egg Noodles & Cheese recipe, she writes, "Try not to eat the entire batch before serving.") Each recipe starts off with a "Don't Panic" tip, such as "Using an electric mixer may put you off, but it's only about as complicated as using a blow-dryer," or "Using the food processor... is a big step forward. I think you're ready."

What I also love about this book is the online component, and interactive feature that will truly help the most novice of cooks. By using a scanner on your cell phone, you can access a series of videos with Seinfeld giving you a direct how-to on basic techniques and more. For example, I never knew that you should spoon flour into your measuring cup to get the proper amount!

This is a great cookbook for those of us who are not gourmet home cooks by any stretch of the imagination. It would be a great holiday present or bridal shower or housewarming gift for someone who'd like to improve on their culinary expertise.

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on February 17, 2015
Who's never cooked anything other than mac and cheese or toast before until now? ME! This book has helped me conquer my fear of the kitchen! Jessica Seinfeld's writing feels so personal and relaxed, even if you want to freak out a little bit, she has little sections like Don't Panic that make it better. It's simply a fantastic cookbook for beginners, she has nicely laid out kitchen essentials and their functions and she really makes it easy to enjoy cooking. She has great, simple tips that I had never thought of that are incredibly helpful.

All of the wonderful introduction stuff aside, the meals are ridiculously tasty! My first meal seemed like quite a tall order but I did it, Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Tomatoes (see picture #1). The second meal seemed almost easy because of the practice with the first, Herb Roasted Beef with Potatoes and Carrots AND a dessert - Flourless Fudge Cake with Whipped Cream (see picture #2). Both meals and the dessert were delicious and my whole family was impressed with it. I highly recommend this book for beginner cooks who don't go into the kitchen for anything other than ice. Buy this cook book, introduce yourself to your stove and get cooking, you won't regret it!
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on October 11, 2013
First, a note about the mean spirited people that gave this one star without even seeing or reading it. Just ignore their stupid remarks and read the reviews from those of us who actually bought the book.

I bought the hard cover because I like to be able to have cookbooks open while cooking and to be able to copy a recipe to use as a shopping list.

Mechanically, this book is first class all the way. It is one of the most expensive, and practical bindings available. The covers are heavy hard board and can’t curl or distort. The pages are high quality paper in full color. The binding is heavy, double wire, steel looped, with rectangle punched pages which allow the book to lay perfectly flat, and stays open to your page. I would recommend spending the few additional bucks and buy the hard cover over the kindle version. (Even though 90% of the books I buy are for my Kindle)

The content is just as classy as the book binding. Well thought out, covers everything that the new, or apprehensive cook needs to know. Great looking recipes, easy to follow instructions, and lots of photos. Even people that can cook will learn something from this book.
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on November 10, 2013
My mom picked this up at the library. I made a comment to the effect of "yeah, like she ever has to cook." But this is a really great cookbook. It would be great for those just starting out in life or someone like me who despises cooking. The recipes are easy and look delicious. There are NO recipes with a list of 20 ingredients. That is always a turn-off to me. Plus she breaks down exactly what you need for your kitchen and has great how-to examples for things like cutting an onion ( yeah, I was doing it wrong. Lol). I don't have many cookbooks but this one I will be purchasing.
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on January 27, 2015
I feel like this book was written for me. I am a nightmare in the kitchen. I started following Jessica Seinfeld on Facebook and her meals looked amazing. I then checked out her Do It Delicious page (note; I am NEVER inspired to follow food posts online).
Due to the fact that I liked her style and humor, in addition to her presentation and food recommendations. ..I purchased her book
It is excellent. She makes things simple, clear and delicious - even for someone like me who usually has no business in the kitchen
I am grateful for her efforts as they have definitely afforded me the opportunity to enjoy cooking.
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on February 20, 2016
Just received this cookbook in the mail yesterday. I have read through it completely and I absolutely love it! I'm in my 60s and I've been cooking all my life so I'm far from a beginner. That said, I've not really ever been that confident in the kitchen but I've managed over the years to please family and guests at the dinner table. I'm just not very creative. These recipes are simple with relatively few ingredients BUT Jessica's ingredients are the ticket to flavorful dishes to please the palate. I don't like to fuss a lot in the kitchen or make a big mess. With these recipes you won't have a lot of fuss or a big mess and she goes step by step to make certain you are successful. She tells you absolutely everything you need and exactly what to do from beginning to end. You just can't go wrong and the quickie little recipes at the very end are fantastic. I highly highly highly recommend this cookbook!
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