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The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Hardcover – October 30, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 731 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Asks: Deb Perelman

Mary C. Neal

Q. What's your elevator pitch for The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook? (Or what inspired you to fill this niche?)

A. My hope is that The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is filled with your new favorite things to cook--approachable recipes made with accessible ingredients that exceed your expectations.

Q. Which upcoming fall cookbooks are you most excited about?

A. I am ridiculously excited about Ottolenghi's new Jerusalem book, as I've loved everything he's made so far. I have already tried out a couple recipes from the Mile End Cookbook, and can tell it's going to be an obsession all winter. I just spied brown butter snickerdoodles in the new Baked Elements book; I am pretty sure that needs to happen immediately. And I've been cooking out of the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook and everything has been fresh, wholesome and stunning.

Q. What's on your nightstand? Your Kindle?

A. An Everlasting Meal (Tamar Adler), The Tenth Muse (Judith Jones), A Peace To End All Peace (David Fromkin) and I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen), all print. Can you guess which one my toddler left there?

Q. What’s your favorite restaurant—or the best place you’ve eaten recently?

A. My husband and I are the last people to get to The Breslin in the Ace Hotel, but it doesn't matter, we fell head over heels and have been back three times in three months. The crispy boiled peanuts, lamb burger, fresh, crunchy salads and their grapefruit gin-and-tonic are unforgettable.

Q. What's been your most memorable moment so far as an author (or blogger)?

A. The process of planning the book tour -- making the jump from someone who types things to strangers who might or might not be listening via her laptop to someone who is going to show up in various cities at specific times to hang out with these strangers -- is wild. I am not sure I've gotten my head around it yet, but I still can't wait to get on the road.

Q. What other talent would you most like to have (not including flight or invisibility)?

A. Well, I wish I could dance.

Q. What are you obsessed with now?

A. I've been on a running kick, although I'm really bad at it. No really: terrible. But strangely, that's my favorite part. Starting my day completely humbled by my inability to run half as long or fast as these people on the other treadmills (who can probably dance, too), well, the day only gets better from there. I'm hooked.

Q. What's next for you?

A. The moon! Just kidding. I really hope to just keep doing what I'm doing -- cooking, writing, having fun with my family and running around NYC like a tourist. My goals are less rooted in a desire for a designer kitchen (though, you know, if you have one lying around...) and balcony overlooking Central Park and more a hope that I'll keep having fun doing what I do, so that it feels as un-work-like as possible.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A tiny kitchen and great eats are the winning formula for popular New York City food blogger Deb Perelman, confessed picky and obsessive self-taught cook of smittenkitchen.com blogging fame. In her first cookbook, awaited by an enormous fan base, Perelman shares her undisguised love of cooking and 300 recipes that come out of her apartment's postage stamp–size kitchen. Driven by curiosity and a desire to share her cooking discoveries, Perelman delivers a collection of lab notes from well-tested culinary experiments and open dialogue with blog fans whose questions Deb credits with having fine-tuned my cooking by forcing me to question everything. What makes the best roast chicken? How can you make gnocchi light as pillows? She approaches each cooking challenge with aplomb, breaking the mold while inspiring readers to work with whatever challenges a tiny kitchen, limited budget, equipment, or untried recipes present. What better way to convince a friend of the virtues of popcorn than by combining it with a buttery brown sugar cookie? Perelman's love of strawberry shortcake inspires a biscuit-as-cradle for juicy tomatoes topped with whipped goat cheese. Included are a great number of vegetarian recipes. This fearless home cook's humorous anecdotes and delectable photos make for a food blog–gone–book that translates beautifully into any kitchen and fulfills Perelman's promise to help cooks prepare food that both she and you will love. Photos. Agent: Alison Fargis. (Oct.)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030759565X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307595652
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (731 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These recipes are like something you'd find in your grandmother's top-secret cookbook. They are made from scratch, with all-natural ingredients, no shortcuts, no pre-made mixes, etc. This doesn't make it a super light or particularly "healthy" cookbook, however. When making the apple cake, for instance, I was shocked that it called for two full cups and five tablespoons of sugar (eek)! Yes, I know it's a dessert and these usually have a lot of sugar in them, but I guess I was secretly hoping I could make everything in here and not worry about my kids eating too much of something. On that note, the author does list a few substitutions you can make in the beginning of the book to make the recipes healthier, as well as vegetarian variations throughout the book.

Here is a count of the recipes per category:

17 Breakfast items
11 Salads
13 Sandwiches, Tarts & Pizzas
13 Vegetarian Main Dishes
12 Seafood, Poultry & Meat dishes
8 Cookies
8 Pies and tarts
9 Cakes
5 Puddings and Candy
10 Party Snacks and Drinks

* Recipes are categorized very well.
* Ingredients needed are easy to find and usually inexpensive. They are also REAL ingredients, so you're pretty much making everything from scratch. Nothing with weird chemicals in the label.
* The author includes a clever/funny/witty/entertaining short story before each recipe that gives some history/insight into how she acquired the recipe or how she came up with it.
* Each recipe includes at LEAST one full-page, full-color photograph, and most also have photos of the ingredients or a few of the steps involved.

* The "stories", although enjoyable, are occasionally a bit lengthy.
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Format: Hardcover
I love the blog and had a great time seeing Deb Perelman on her book tour, where I was crazy enough to pay MORE than the list price for the book. There are some great-looking recipes in this book, most of which are not on the website, and I look forward to trying many of them, starting with the apple cider caramels. It is definitely not a 'basics' cookbook. The recipes, although fairly simple, are unusual. Personally I like this because I already have many cookbooks coving the basics. My so-so rating has more to do with the format of the book. As another reviewer noted, recipes run 3-4 pages of prose, so the actual steps to the recipe are hard to pick out, and most of the time they are not on the same page as the ingredients, so you have to flip back and forth as you cook. Also, a pet peeve of mine with cookbooks, there is no table of contents or index listing the recipes with page numbers, so while you can see in the beginning of the book that sweets start on p. 193, when you get to page 193 there is no indication of which page 'cakes' starts on. After you shuffle through 90 pages of sweets to find that cakes start on p. 238, you have to shuffle some more to find the recipe for 'chocolate hazelnut crepe cake' on p. 256. It would have been so simple to put a page number next to each recipe on the list. Also, the pictures aren't labeled and since they frequently aren't on the same page as the title of the recipe, you have to go back to see what you're looking at and whether that's the recipe you're looking for. More flipping around. I'm surprised, with her attention to detail and frequent reading of other cookbooks, that this book is so clunky.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The "frugal" side of me thinks, 'I can just Google for a good recipe online or check the Smitten Kitchen blog. Do I really need yet another book to add to my cramped one-bedroom apartment, and will I really find new recipes in it that appeal? Should I just wait to borrow it from the library?'

I'm glad that I didn't hit that cancel button because I got it and WOW. I have been waiting for a recipe book from Ms. Perelman and now I remember why. Her photos are stunning, the recipes I flipped through I haven't seen before, and her quick wit and humor translate beautifully in print. The blog, plus so much more in tangible form.

Some might be quick to comment that this is just her blog in print format. I would like to state that yes, there is some overlap, but not much from what I have seen. Plus, if you're a blogger and are producing a print copy, there is some expectation that there *will* be overlap and the more popular or highly clicked recipe posts will make it into the book. If you didn't, you'd hear it from your audience. You really can't please everyone, but I for one haven't been this excited about a cookbook in a long time. There are many recipes I haven't seen on her blog, (and I have been following her for at least 6 years now) AND I love that she includes Jacob in her stories and annotations of the recipes. I find the inspiration to cook simple, healthy, and tasty meals for my little man. I suspect that Jacob is her source of inspiration... AND if your son was as cute as that little future heart breaker, you'd be sure to put him in your cookbook. ** I'd like to also add that this is not a family album. What it is: A fantastic cookbook.
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