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The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook Hardcover – October 30, 2012
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Amazon Asks: Deb Perelman
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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Here is a count of the recipes per category:
17 Breakfast items
13 Sandwiches, Tarts & Pizzas
13 Vegetarian Main Dishes
12 Seafood, Poultry & Meat dishes
8 Pies and tarts
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.
* Recipe directions are in paragraph form, rather than numbered. This, of course, depends on personal preference. I like to see the steps numbered, which helps me keep track of where I am without having to waste time by re-reading the directions to find my place again.
* Pretty much all of the recipes are split between two pages. By this, I mean the recipe begins on, say, page 2 (on the right hand side), and you have to flip the page over to page 3 (on the left hand side) to see the rest of the directions. Again, this is not a HUGE deal, but it has become inconvenient for me when my hands are covered in flour or whatever and I have to flip the page back and forth. It would have been better if the recipes were each spread over two opposite-facing pages. This way, the book could just stay open the whole time I'm preparing the recipe.
Are these recipes good? Yes!
Are they easy? Yes, but maybe not for absolute beginners.
Are they quick? No, but that is part of their old-fashioned charm.
Am I glad I bought this and would I recommend it to a friend? Yes and YES! :)
Also, all of the recipes take a LONG time (over an hour, and many times 1,5 hours + cleaning).
Finally, the book is highly impractical (ingredients and steps are almost systematically on different pages, and there is no index), so it involves a lot of fliping the pages. I really hope her next book is going to be more balanced and more practical!