Food blogger Deb Perelman’s first book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook will be released on October 30, 2012, and it’s a winner! Perelman, who is a self-taught home cook, has been blogging at Smitten Kitchen successfully for years “on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure and that the results of your labor can, and should be delicious.”
As someone who spends way too much time online already, I’m delighted that Perelman has put her sumptuous recipes into a form that sits nicely on my kitchen counter.
In the introduction, we learn two important facts about Perelman: She spent many years as a vegetarian, and she lives in a Manhattan apartment with a 42-square-foot half-galley kitchen. These two details heavily influence her cooking and translate effectively into a cookbook that works well for everyone. For most of us, space is always an issue in the kitchen, and healthy eating is an ongoing challenge in today’s culture of fast food.
Each recipe always begins with a bit of candid insight into the background or motivation for its creation. The recipe format is well-organized, interesting, and not too fussy.
I enjoyed cooking my way through this book and found the vegetarian mushroom bourguignon to be fabulous—I truly didn’t miss the beef. The big breakfast latkes were delicious, along with her vinegar slaw with cucumber and dill, shown below. The deepest dish apple pie was a big hit with The Saturday Evening Post staff members. And, with a husband who loves bagels, the New York breakfast casserole has landed on our list of favorites. The buttered popcorn cookies and the ratatouille sub recipes are next on the list.
Perelman gives readers additional sections in the back of the book, which offer guidelines on measurements and conversions, information on setting up a kitchen, a summary of some of her favorite utensils, and an in-depth index.
As well as a happy home cook, wife, and mother, Perelman is a skilled photographer. All of the color photos in the book are her work. The dust jacket is lovely and I was pleased to find that under it is what appears to be a waterproof cover with many more of her photos arranged in an inspiring grid, front and back.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is available for preorder on Amazon for a list price of $35.