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Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites Hardcover – October 24, 2017
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A New York Times Best Seller
“This is the kind of book you could easily cook out of for a month straight without tiring of it. You could also simply sit down and read it cover-to-cover, thanks to Perelman’s honest, funny, and at times charmingly self-deprecating personal anecdotes that introduce each recipe. Where Perelman really shines is in coaxing big flavors out of minimal ingredients. . . . As with her first book, she shot all the photos herself in her own home kitchen, further adding to that sense of aspirational approachability. And really, that’s the Smitten Kitchen magic: recipes that are ingeniously creative but so accessible that they leave you thinking, ‘Why the hell didn’t I think of that?’” —Eater
“Equal parts tongue-in-cheek commentary and measuring instructions, Perelman's style is relatable and fun. Her self-deprecating jokes are enough to make any novice cook feel comforted, and her well-thought-out recipe caveats will impress the most experienced baker. Perelman fills her latest cookbook with pages and pages of ‘real recipes for real people,’ as it says on the inside cover. I trust her to give me a great recipe for just about anything, and when a friend gives me a rave review, I tell them, ‘Deb hasn't let me down yet.’” —Gabriela Saldivia, NPR
“No one delivers recipes inspired by equal parts curiosity and appetite quite like Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman, and [here] she celebrates the ‘unfussy but triumphant’ recipes that make her . . . really excited to cook and eat. Try getting through the book without flagging the Jam-Bellied Scones, Bacony Baked Pintos with the Works, and Lemon Meringue Pie Smash, and we’ll be amazed.” —Epicurious
“[The] Smitten Kitchen blog has won fans and followers with its spot-on recipe curation and Perelman’s winning prose—she makes you feel like you’re her friend. This book is a collection of recipes that, she writes, ‘don’t just fit into our lives, they make us happy.’ Readers can reclaim joy in the kitchen, too, with cauliflower wedge salad, mini-matzo ball soup, tomato and gigante bean bake.” —The Boston Globe
“Deb Perelman, the beloved food blogger and author, finally returns with her second book, five years in the making. Taking the name of her popular blog, the book is so much more: Of the cookbook’s 115 recipes, 101 are brand new. Each recipe is accompanied by a photograph shot by Deb (as she’s simply known to her many followers), herself. . . . It’s no wonder this lovely new book took half a decade.” —Chicago Tribune
“A tremendously appealing collection of recipes whose headnotes strike chord after rousing chord. Yes, of course I want those Pizza Beans and Pretzel Linzer Cookies. And why have I never heard of Jam-Bellied Bran Scones before—or had the sense to put jam in the belly of any baked good at all?” —Kristen Miglore, Food52
“Filled with fun and easy—but delicious and totally Instagramable—recipes that will have you actually looking forward to hitting the kitchen at the end of a long work day.” —Bustle
About the Author
DEB PERELMAN is a self-taught home cook, photographer, and the creator of smittenkitchen.com. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which won the IACP Julia Child Award. Deb lives in New York City with her husband, son, and daughter.
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Like a few of the other reviewers, I just didn't find many recipes here that I want to make. One of the greatest things about Deb as a food blogger is her obsession with making the "perfect" version of a given dish. In her quest to get it just right she will test and re-test until she gets there, often taking the best parts of several recipes and combining them into her own perfect one. Her blog is often my first stop when searching for a specific recipe, because I know that her version is always great. Things like her "ethereally smooth hummus", "favorite brownies", peach pie, pecan pie, double chocolate banana bread, "perfect blueberry muffins", "better chocolate babka" (and so many others) have become go-to recipes that I'll never deviate from. Other dishes, like the chicken pho, carnitas, consumate chocolate chip cookies, pork ragu, root vegetable gratin etc. are not her own, but carefully chosen, perfect recipes from other authors that I would not have discovered otherwise.
Unfortunately, there is far more pressure to be original when publishing a book instead of a blog post. I think the book suffers from this need to make something "brand new", when her strength lies elsewhere.
I also think the title of the book is unfortunate; many of the recipes are indeed very fussy. Looking at the breakfast chapter for instance, barely any of them can be done in less than one hour. The "loaded breakfast potato skins" are truly perplexing to me. Who on earth is spending 60 minutes baking a potato for breakfast? The "jam-bellied bran scones" also seem needlessly fussy to me. The point of making scones for breakfast is that they come together in five minutes. Why spend all this time carefully making jam-filled ones when breaking open a perfect, warm-from-the-oven scone and slathering it with butter and jam probably tastes better (with much less work). The same goes for the "granola biscotti". It looks very similar to the granola recipe from the first book (that I've made many times), just more fussy and gimmicky.
Like I mentioned, I generally found very few recipes that I'm tempted to make. Obviously, this is very subjective, and other people might find plenty of things they want to cook. Personally, I was particularly let down by the "Salads" and "Vegetable mains" chapters. The salads were not appealing to me at all, while many of the vegetable mains are more like side-dishes (pommes anna, zucchini with salsa verde, roasted halloumi and vegetables etc). The blog recipes are often vegetarian, so I was surprised that these chapters were not better. (Also, please no more fritters!).
It is not all bad though. I will definitely be trying the "chicken and rice, street cart style", the "ricotta blini with honey, orange and sea salt", "Manhattan style clams with fregola", and the "meatballs marsala with egg noodles and chives". But that's probably also all..
I don't want to detract from the overall enjoyment of this book, but it's a sticking point for me with a lot of cookbooks, they are simply less fun if I have to order items online or scour the city for several ingredients.
I would say her recipes are "unfussy" in that they are simple to put together, but they are fairly fussy in the amount of ingredients and the type of ingredients required. I'm not sure I would have picked this up if I had had a chance to browse it in person first, but I'll keep it on hand for times when I feel like doing a nice project meal.
"You keep on using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."
It's a wonderful cookbook and if you love Smitten Kitchen it's worth having; if Deb thinks something is good and worth making, 95% chance I will agree. So I'm glad I bought it and can't wait to make many of the recipes in it.
These recipes are anything but unfussy. And seeing how "unfussy" is the subtitle of the book, I'm a little put off. Thankfully in this day and age of online reviews, you can decide for yourself how important it is that a book is what the title says it will be.