Customer Reviews: In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love
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on October 5, 2010
Ok, so I've only made one recipe from this book so far, Extra Garlicky Sesame Cured Broccoli Salad, but it was soooooo good and easy that I've made it three weeks in a row, and everyone who tries it loves it (or says they do). The recipes are quick and easy (though not as quick as Melissa Clark's time estimates, at least for me). And the stories that go along with them are fun.
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on September 11, 2010
Lots of great recipe ideas and a good read to boot. But, what I especially like about this book is that nearly all the recipes have a "variation" so you can essentially make any recipe to your particular liking. After a while, you realize that you can even create your own variations...and then the fun begins! What an accomplishment for a home cook to become her own original "chef".
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on February 24, 2011
this is beyond an awesome cookbook. It has amusing and insightful stories before each recipe and descriptions on what the flavors are for each dish. I have made two simple things, (Zucchini with Mint and Garlic & Roasted and Spiced Cauliflower with Almonds) and they were delish! I am planning on making the "Rich and Nutty Brown Butter Cornbread" , "Homemade Spaetzle with Browned Onions, Swiss Chard, and Emmentaler", "Zucchini Latkes, 'Deep Fried Bourbon Peach Pies" and on and can look at the Table of Contents to read all the mouthwatering recipes! great book!!!
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VINE VOICEon March 29, 2011
I am admittedly unfamiliar with Ms. Clark's column, and picked this book up on a whim. Though her personal anecdotes were cheerful and appropriately applicable to the recipes, they were not what I was looking for and somewhat detracted from my opinion of the book.

There were some great recipes tucked within the pages, and it was well worth flipping through to find and experiment with them. That said, I didn't feel like I got very much out of the book in relation to its overall length. Many recipes seemed too taste-specific in a "trendy New Yorker" fashion, and just didn't appeal to my personal preferences. I'd flip through a copy of this if possible before you decide to buy it to make sure its right for you.
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on March 4, 2014
With more than 30 cookbooks under her belt, many co-written with foodie universe stars like Daniel Boulud and Waldy Malouf, Melissa Clark engages her New York Times food column fans again in In The Kitchen With A Good Apptite:150 Stores and Recipes About the Food You Love but now with the backstories behind her own favorite recipes.
Ranging from dead easy like her roast chicken and her Italian in-law’s signature zucchini with mint and garlic to slightly more ambitious propositions like duck confit, Clark lays out the improvisational thesis to improve and invent new and intriguing recipes aimed at the home cook.
For readers who dearly miss Laurie Colwin and her endearing Home Cooking volumes I and II for their appealing anecdotes, In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite approximates the spirit of Colwin. No, the stories aren’t quite up to Colwin’s poignant and sometimes funny level of writing but the recipes may actually be better.
Most are fairly simple with a twist of Clark’s own invention or her own riffs on the culinary creations of famous foodie friends, like the Olive Oil Granola with dried apricots and pistachios. While some ingredients she prefers like Tuscan kale may be more difficult for those outside city centers to obtain most recipes are doable at home and variations are listed for almost every concoction.
The adventurous attitude to food Clark displays is due to her parents and she includes some charming anecdotes about these foodie pioneers. Her advice on winning over juvenile picky eaters is just one more lagniappe of her book. How she entertains guests on both formal and casual occasions (what she brings to potlucks, for example) is instructive and delivered free of any Martha Stewart fussiness or pretension.
Ambitious home cooks and kitchen beginners alike will appreciate the simplicity of so many of her recipes and will soon learn how to cook with the inspiration and freedom of a jazz musician by carefully reading her stories.
All in all, it’s a likable, comforting read and should provide many memorable meals.
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on July 8, 2015
This is my go-to cookbook for everyday cooking. The recipes are both practical and accessible. They also have a certain comforting appeal to them, while still being unique and unexpected (Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croutons for example). The book is divided into 12 chapters with each chapter having a clever title. For example, the chapter on chicken is titled "It Tastes Like Chicken" and the chapter on meat is titled "I Was Never a Vegetarian." But the bottom line is there are ten somewhat unconventional categories: breakfast-y items, vegetables, fish, chicken, meat, cheese, sandwiches, fried foods, holiday foods, pies, and beverages. Each chapter has about ten recipes and there is a narrative before each recipe that is both entertaining and informative. A number of recipes are also followed with variations. So for example, the recipe for Roasted Chicken Thighs with Green Peaches, Basil, and Ginger is followed by several variations using slightly different ingredients, such as apples, gin, and coriander seeds instead of peaches, basil and ginger.

I have tried a number of recipes in this book to great success. The garlic sesame-cured broccoli salad is surprisingly good, the shrimp for a small kitchen is amazing, the roasted shrimp and broccoli is wonderfully flavorful and healthy, the spicy garlicky cashew chicken is delicious (also stuff the cashew mixture into zucchini-- it is a knockout), the roasted chicken thighs with green peaches was a winner for my partner even though he is normally not a fan of peaches, and the sausages with sweet pepper and onion stew is my partner's all-time favorite dish. Not only have I made all these recipes more than once, but there are still a ton of recipes that I'm dying to try.

A few caveats people should be aware of. First there are no pictures. This is completely fine with me, but I know there are some people who feel strongly about their cookbooks having pictures. Second, it seems like a lot of the recipes in the book are available online at the NYT where Ms. Clark is a food writer. This is also is not a problem for me because I enjoy her recipes so much that I'm happy to have paid to have them all in one place. But if you aren't sure about the book, you could consider trying a few of her online recipes to see if it is worth the investment for you. And finally, there are a wide range of recipes here. Some are healthy, some are not. Some are vegetarian, some are not. If you are looking for a book on a particular type of cooking, you will probably find some thing that will interest you, but other parts of the book may not work for you.

Overall this is one of the best cookbooks I own. I go to it regularly when I'm looking for an accessible recipe to make on a weeknight. I also usually make these recipes more than once, which is not something I normally do (there are just too many interesting recipes out there for me to make something more than once!). So the bottom line is that this is a real winner in my book.
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on July 4, 2012
I first bought her Cook this Now, and fell hard for it. Even though that book has some of her favorites from this one at the end, I was so happy with the meals I made from it that I figured it was worth buying this one too. And I'm so glad that I did. Easy to find ingredients, clear instructions, and usually fairly quick and easy prep with very good results. The one slight negative would be that I have found that I often need to bump the spices up in her recipes, but I like things with a lot of flavor. There are no pictures in this book, but I didn't find that a problem. She writes very endearingly about each recipe and makes you want to try it without needing a photo.
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on December 20, 2011
I've borrowed this so many times I HAD to finally buy my own copy. All of the chicken dishes are delicious, the soups are great, and so are the veggie dishes- I've cooked through them all, and need the book so I can keep making them and finish cooking my way through the book. The stories are entertaining as well, and I love the fact that each story usually leads to at least one variation on the title recipe.
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on July 15, 2011
I am not obsessed with all cookbooks that run with the same format, a short brief narrative-like description of cooking. It was illustrative and beautiful just by her imaginative usage of diction. Then follows the recipe and you can tweak it according to her suggestions or just follow the recipe. It allows the reader to tweak recipes for a second and third take on the dish. Must have cookbook. I bought it in Kindle and I loved it. I love the fact that I can carry it around with me everywhere, and the dictionary built in the kindle helps with terms i'm not familiar with. GET IT NOW!
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on September 15, 2013
This is a super fun book with out of this world recipes. I have given it to my brother - who loves it, and my hope to be husband of my niece. Melissa's stories are very entertaining and, as I said, followed by incredible recipes. Our favorite from the book is the kale salad. It has become a stale for potlucks. It also inspired the asparagus an brussel sprout salads - which are also wonderful.
I don't think that you can go wrong with this cookbook - even if you don't cook.
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