Top positive review
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Expect to make memorable meals with this delightful cookbook
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.