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The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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Why (and How) a Beautiful Kitchen Means Better Food
A kitchen's first task is functional: It is a place to produce good food with cleanliness and efficiency. But functionality and beauty go hand in hand. We've met people who seem afraid to have beautiful things in their cooking spacethey react in shock and dismay when they see paintings or rugs in a busy kitchen. "What if it gets ruined? That's so nonfunctional!" We couldn't disagree more. Everything in life decays and wears out eventually. Having something you consider beautiful in the kitchen is a nudge toward enjoying the act of cooking, a reminder that food is more than fuel.
A beautiful kitchen also helps us remember to clean regularly. When you enjoy your space, even in some small way, it's so much more pleasurable to keep it clean.
Once you've worked on your cooking zones and storage capacity, find creative ways to make beauty and functionality go hand in hand. A kitchen you enjoy is one that will motivate you to nourish your household. Here are a few ways to bring a bit of beauty into even the dingiest of kitchens:
- Enjoy the beauty of food itself. Heap oranges or persimmons in a dish on the countertop (this also will remind you to eat them promptly!). Tomatoes, onions, even sweet potatoes have an earthy beauty that grounds a kitchen. Store herbs with their cut ends in a shallow glass of water, which will keep them fresh and handy for snipping, as well as add a splash of green to your workspace.
- Cover ugly countertops with a huge butcher block. If you have a tiny and hideous laminate countertop, cover it up with a hefty cutting board, which is more beautiful and also of course very functional.
- Hang a vibrant work of art. No backsplash? Frame an inexpensive print and hang it behind the stove. Yes, the glass will get greasy eventually, but it's easier to clean glass than a painted wall.
- Line drawers and cabinets with colorful fabric or paper. Apply fabric wallpaper to the backs of your cabinets using fabric starch; the cloth wallpaper is both washable and removable. Line drawers with pretty paper from an art supply store.
- Enhance the sense of space with a mirror. A big mirror hung on one wall or over the kitchen table reflects light, helps make up for the lack of a window, and increases the feeling of spaciousness.
- Lay down a rug. You may think it will get irredeemably dirty, but a patterned rug will hide stains and is easy to vacuum. With a nonslip rug pad beneath, it's also nicer to stand on than hard, cold tile.
- Adorn the table or windowsill with living plants or fresh flowers. Fresh flowers are a simple grace note for any kitchen. Splurge on them to make your space feel more special, or snip evergreen twigs or even flowering weeds from your backyard or on your walk home. Anything alive makes the kitchen feel more welcoming.
- Paint! Paint is a major tool for the cook with an ugly, dark kitchen. Don't forget the ceiling, where color can instantly make the room more cheerful (think sky blue, lemon yellow, pale washes of bright colors). Painting the entire room can seem daunting, but with careful cleaning, taping, and priming, you can do an expert job by yourself.
- Supply music or a radio. The companionship of radio is something we appreciate in our kitchens. Faith keeps a Tivoli radio on her windowsill and listens to NPR and podcasts while she cooks; she plugs in an iPod for dinner parties.
"This labor of love from Sara Kate and Faith of The Kitchn feels like the answer to a lot of lingering kitchen questions. The book is a combination of recipes, kitchen lessons, and organizational and storage tips. It’s everything. So very good!" –Joy the Baker
"[The Kitchn Cookbook] is essentially a road map for organizing the busiest room in your house, stocking your pantry, and implementing simple tweaks that will make cooking faster, more delicious, and more fun." –Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine
"TheKitchn.com is the go-to site for many home cooks, owing to its warm, friendly editorial voice; its accessible recipes and how-tos; and the glimpses into other people’s kitchens--both figuratively and literally. [The Kitchn Cookbook]’s 150 recipes include one-pot coconut chickpea curry, slow cooker carnitas, and no-bake banana and peanut butter caramel icebox cake. Tips for stocking, organizing, and cleaning your kitchen are also included--the five-minute-a-day plan for a clean kitchen alone makes the book worth the price." –Library Journal
"While the book may be called a cookbook, it certainly isn’t just that. One half of the book is recipes, but the other half is what Gillingham and Durand are calling a handbook to a happy kitchen and loving your kitchen more.” –Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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It's a beautifully presented, nice thick cookbook. I especially love the lack of a useless dust jacket. Dust jackets just get in the way - especially in the kitchen!
The cookbook would be great for people just starting to cook or set up their first kitchen. I see new graduates not planning on moving back in with the folks being a primary audience for this book. Sections include how to set up a kitchen, how to deal with a problematic kitchen (e.g., too small), the best tools and serving ware, and the 50 essential skills every cook should know. They start from the basics, like boiling water. That might seem way too basic -- and they acknowledge this -- but I think new cooks would appreciate the great pictures they have illustrating the difference between what a simmering pot of water is compared to a full boil. All of that makes up a full half of the book! So much knowledge!
The second half of the cookbook are the recipes. If you are a regular reader of the site, you'll appreciate that this section includes both classic recipes from thekitchn.com (Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups, Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken) as well as newbies (No-Bake Banana and Peanut Butter Caramel Icebox Cake?! Hello, gorgeous!). Everything is written very clearly with easy to follow directions. As a personal preference, I wish there were more pictures.
All in all, a win! Happy to have this book on my shelf, and plan to give it to some seniors come May.
I bought it as a gift to my (almost) newly wed son and daughter-in-law who just moved into their first house. But not before I kept it long enough to read and copy some recipes!