Studio 5 Cookbook Review: The Smitten Kitchen

It started out as a popular food blog and now “The Smitten Kitchen” is available in published form.

Studio 5 Contributor Laura Wolford reviews the popular, new cookbook.

I love “The Smitten Kitchen” cookbook! I love author Deb Perelman’s thought process of taking recipes, making sure they are good, revising them if needed, and simplifying ingredients or processes to meet the everyday cook’s needs. One contradiction to that theory is that I feel the recipes themselves are tailored to a more advanced cook or a more advanced ‘palette.’ She has recipes like broccoli rabe panini, wild mushroom tart, gnocchi, leek fritters, vermouth mussels, mustard milanese…you get the idea! Recipes with titles like these are usually found in more advanced cookbooks, not typically for beginners. Yet her message is one of simplifying. In the forward it says: “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is all about approachable, uncompromised home cooking.” It even says she’s found recipes for the everyday cook; I found most of the recipes in this book don’t fall into that category.

Another negative I have with this book is that the breakfast, lunch and dessert sections are huge, while the vegetarian and main dish sections are much smaller – less than a fourth of the book. Vegetarian and main dishes are the only sections I am personally interested in.

But even with that, I’d still buy the book! But I own hundreds of cookbooks. I read them like novels, never following any recipe just getting ideas.

I think if you bought the book for a good read, some great ideas, and going in knowing there really aren’t many everyday recipes in there (I mean, how many times are you going to make broiled clams with chorizo breadcrumbs or white chocolate pudding with blackberry curd?), you would be satisfied. It is loaded with really good, really unique recipes you might to try. Perelman says “there is no such thing as a bad cook, just bad recipes.” I disagree with that. Take the cauliflower pesto recipe from the book – I’m sure it is a good recipe for her, but it wasn’t all that good to me .I had to change it to really enjoy it. My theory is that people need to learn how to adapt any recipe – yes, any recipe! – to their liking and they will never have a bad recipe.

I really enjoyed her writing. She’s really funny, down to earth; she draws you in with her warmth. That’s why I say it’s a good read and worth the purchase price!

To read more about Deb Perelman, and her book “The Smitten Kitchen,” visit:

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