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The Good Stuff Cookbook Paperback – May 24, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"In this solar system of culinary stars, there is a newborn one that shines very bright. Chef Spike Mendelsohn has a pulse on the American heartbeat for delicious, soul-satisfying comfort foods from his crowd-pleasing restaurant on Capitol Hill that has pleased Presidents and celebs. Enjoy the Good Stuff recipes and see why folks are coming back for more."
Chef Art Smith, TLC's Comfort Food

"With The Good Stuff Cookbook, Spike Mendelsohn applies his limitless imagination to classic American comfort food."
Tom Colicchio, chef/owner of Craft restaurants and Colicchio & Sons

"I am a self-proclaimed queen of burgers, and it looks like Spike is on his way to becoming the king. I am obsessed with all things between the bun and have really enjoyed eating my way through the Good Stuff. Spike knows how to bring the fun to bun."
Rachael Ray

One of the most popular contestants ever on the hit television show Top Chef, Chef Spike Mendelsohn is one of the hottest celebrity chefs on the scene. His new restaurant in Washington, D.C., Good Stuff Eatery, has been a resounding success and even claims First Lady Michelle Obama as a fan. In The Good Stuff Cookbook, he serves up fast, fun, and fresh recipes for classic fare like burgers, sides, shakes, and desserts, as well as menu suggestions for all types of events, from big parties to casual family dinners.

You'll find old favorites with a twist: unique and tasty sauces and mayonnaises like Good Stuff Sauce and Curry Mayonnaise; fan-favorite sides like Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus; the famous Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, malts, and floats; and, of course, Chef Spike's crowd-pleasing burgers made with beef, turkey, chicken, pork, and even lamb.

  • The book features 120 fresh and delicious recipes and 140 full-color photos
  • Mendelsohn is one of the hottest up-and-coming chefs on the food scene with two new restaurants, a new web-based show on Food2.com called "By The Book, Off The Hook," and a number of other projects in the works
  • This is the perfect all-American cookbook for anyone who loves great casual comfort food like burgers, fries, and shakes, but wants to shake things up with a gourmet touch

Just in time for Independence Day barbecues and summertime cookouts, The Good Stuff Cookbook offers a fresh and inventive take on classic American food.

Recipe Excerpts from The Good Stuff Cookbook

Farmhouse Bacon Cheeseburger

Milky Way Malt

Spike's Village Fries

Spike Mendelsohn and Rachael Ray: Author One-on-One

In an amazon-exclusive interview, Spike Mendelsohn and Rachael Ray have a casual kitchen chat about music and inspirations.

Spike Mendelsohn: I’m a huge fan of cranking up the music when I’m in the kitchen. It gives me a great vibe, rhythm and beat while I’m chopping, basting and putting together a meal. I listen to everything from The Beatles to Vampire Weekend, reggae, hip-hop and some rock. It really depends what kind of food I’m making and the mood I’m in. What kind of music do you listen to when cooking?

Rachael Ray: We listen to a wide range of music when we are making dinner. We love the Foo Fighters, U2, The Hold Steady and the Kings of Leon. Recently, we have been listening to this new band out of Baltimore called J Roddy Walston and The Business.

Spike Mendelsohn: And while you’re cooking… if you could invite anyone to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Rachael Ray: Living or dead? Living I would have to say I’d love to meet Dave Ghrol from the Foo Fighters. Dead would have to be my grandfather.

Spike Mendelsohn: My grandfather was a huge influence growing up as well. I’d love to have the opportunity to just sit with him and crack some jokes and then grill him about what I’m doing in the business and what I can do better. He ran so many restaurants during his time and that knowledge, his candid attitude and amazing sense of humor is something I really miss.

My restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, was named after a saying he used so many times. When he loved something he’d do that hockey goal fist pump up and down in the air and say “GOOOOOOD STUUUUFFF.” So we named our restaurant after that, and burgers were what we decided to feature since my best food memory is with him in his backyard, in the Laurentian Mountains, grilling some burgers. He used to wrap them in wax paper so the juices stay in and the buns got steamed a bit. It was the best meal, the best memory, and that’s how we serve the burgers at my restaurant.

Rachel Ray: My best food memory, again deals with my grandfather. When I was growing up, I ate like a 60-year-old Italian man because my grandfather would make me my lunch. Sardine sandwiches and roasted vegetables—no one would sit near me in the lunchroom since my food didn't look or smell like theirs. But I loved it.

From Publishers Weekly

Mendelsohn has a lean and hungry look, which is surprising as he is the proprietor of D.C.'s Good Stuff Eatery, home of many a handcrafted hamburger, french-fried potato, and milkshake. In his first collection, this former Top Chef contestant and one time Le Cirque underling expands upon his eatery's menu to offer up 120 comfort foods with attitudes. His mac 'n' cheese is spiked with chopped bacon and herbs. His Blazin' Barn is a Vietnamese-style burger with pickled carrots and cilantro. And his mint Oreo shake calls for one cup milk, two cups ice cream, and 20 mint Oreo cookies. He prefers his fries tossed with rosemary or served with a cheddar cheese sauce that has a cayenne pepper kick. Salads, or wedges, in Spike speak, begin with iceberg lettuce, which then gets topped with anything from poached eggs to fennel, orange, and pomegranate. Since his joint is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, a certain neighborhood family has been known to drop by on occasion. Mendelsohn has returned the favor by creating the Prez Obama Burger, a sophisticated blend of sirloin, bacon, and bleu cheese, topped with red onion marmalade and horseradish mayo. Michelle's Melt, by comparison, is a multifaceted turkey burger with diced green apple and other ingredients inspired by the first lady's South Lawn garden. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470527927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470527924
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I should preface this review by saying that we live close to the Good Stuff Eatery. Too close. Close enough that on the day this book arrived, my husband and I thumbed through it.. then went to Good Stuff. We've eaten there several times, and it's our #1 place to take out of towners, co-workers, friends and strangers off the street to.

All the things that I would want to know how to make are in here, from the blow your mind Toasted Marshmallow shake, to the sauce on the farmhouse burger, and general burger tips. The cookbook is a great read, there is enough back story to make it interesting, but not so much extra text that you skip it. The instructions are easy, and with the exception of a few meals, ingredients are easy to find.

My husband and I are burger fanatics, and we are in love with the Good Stuff Eatery - hence the book purchase. But the book is more than burgers, for example, I came home one night to find that my husband made cookies. Cookies. He has never made cookies before in his life. But the book is accessible and enjoyable no matter your skill level and I highly recommend both the book, and the restaurant the next time you're in DC.
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Format: Paperback
It seems that most people giving this book five stars are rating The Good Stuff Eatery or Spike's appearances on television. I love eating at the Good Stuff Eatery; they have the best hamburgers and milk shakes I have every eaten. If I were reviewing Spike's restaurant here, I would give it five stars. The poor rating I am giving this cook book is based off of what I have read in the book and two recipes I have tried.

The first recipes I tried were the cheese sauce and Man 'N' cheese. There is no way that the recipe as printed in the book is the recipe Spike uses. There are three problems with the cheese sauce recipe. First the recipe has you make a roux from 1/4 cup of butter to 1 cup of flour. With this combination you get a very dry, lumpy dough, similar to what you would want if you were making a crumble topping for a dessert. When you add the milk, it thickens almost instantly--way too much flour! The next problem is the cheese. The recipe calls for one cup of grated sharp cheddar. After adding the cheese, it becomes very clear that this is not enough. The mixture is mostly white with a very pale yellow color. You can hardly taste any cheese. I added almost three cups to get a yellow color to the sauce and adequate cheese flavor. The last problem is the cayenne pepper. If you add the 1.5 teaspoons that the recipe calls for, that's the only thing you will be tasting. A dash or two is adequate.

The Mac 'N' Cheese recipe is problematic because it only calls for 1 cup of the cheese sauce to 1 pound of elbow macaroni. One pound of elbow macaroni noodles fills a 9x13" pan when cooked. Adding one cup of cheese sauce barely coats all of the noodles. I used three cups of the sauce and it still wasn't enough. After baking the macaroni, it was mostly dry, but still edible.
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I have been a huge fan of Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill since I caught wind that a favorite contestant of mine from Top Chef would be opening up a burger place in DC. I bring friends there any time they come to visit - often before I take them to the plethora of sites in the Nation's Capital! The place is a fantastic - great atmosphere, great service, unbelievable comfort food. It had already caused a hit to my waistline before I ordered the book, and now after a day of cooking my favorites from the joint (Colletti's Smokehouse Burger, Onion Petals, Toasted Marshmallow Shake), I know Spike's damage has yet to be fully felt. I was shocked at how closely the recipes I followed turned out just like the restaurant's food. The way he (and his sister) explain techniques is very easy to follow, and many helpful pictures guide you through some of the processes. I am no Top Chef, but Spike makes the food I turn out make it seem that way!

Must-Buy for any foodie, Top Chef fan, DC resident past, present, or future. Spike is a great guy, and you will be better for supporting him.
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Format: Paperback
This is a nice cookbook for ideas, but new cooks need to be wary of following the recipes exactly.

As others have commented, the cheese sauce recipe has the wrong amount of flour. I used 1/4 c. instead of 1 cup. I did use the specified amount of cayenne, and it's just too much. Start with 1/4 tsp and work up to your taste. The mac and cheese made with the cheese sauce was dry, and not cheesy. Next time, less breadcrumbs, more sauce, deeper dish. Maybe extra sharp cheese.

The rosemary honey lemonade was cloyingly sweet. Next time, much more lemon juice. I used 7 lemons, added two more, but still not enough. It's a good idea, though.

Likewise, when I made the toasted marshmallow shake, I added about half the specified number of toasted marshmallows. It was still brown, and very sweet. Even less marshmallows next time.

The chipotle mayo is awesome. I might tweak it a bit next time, but it's good, just as the recipe specifies. It would be a great dip for cold boiled shrimp.

I'll try some of the other recipes, but cautiously. The publisher needs to get someone to try each recipe in a home kitchen, and then put out an errata sheet.
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