What is it? Five years on from her debut book, this is the second outing for New York-based dating-turned-food blogger extraordinaire Deb Perelman of New York Times profiled smittenkitchen.com with over 100 recipes for ‘real people with busy lives’.
What does it look like? What is it about American-published cookbooks that makes them just so damn desirable? I’m not an uber font-nerd but the Minion typeface used here (originally developed by Adobe for Macs in 1990 according to a note at the back of the book) is particularly attractive and clean looking. At over 300 pages, the book has a certain authoritative weight and the glossy paper makes the 127 full-colour photographs pop.
Is it good bedtime reading? Set aside that Grisham, the generous recipe introductions include plenty of culinary-related personal anecdotes and opinion, as well as cookery lore and background to the recipes themselves, making it a nighttime page-turner par excellence.
Killer recipes? Charred corn succotash with lime and crispy shallots; pea tortellini in parmesan broth; Manhattan-style clams with fregola; winter squash flatbread with hummus and za’atat; ricotta blini with honey, orange and sea salt; raspberry hazelnut brioche bostock; chewy oatmeal raisin chocolate chip mega-cookies.
Will I have trouble finding ingredients? Despite an almost encyclopedic approach to global cuisine, you should have no trouble finding the vast majority of ingredients in a good supermarket.
What’s the faff factor? Make no mistake, this is ‘proper’ cooking and many of the recipes have several elements that need to be brought together at the point of serving, but with a little planning and organisation, they should be stress-free.
How often will I cook from the book? Every day (duh!).
What will I love? This is an American book, but, God bless them, they’ve included gram or millilitre equivalents for cup measures which rockets the book to the top of the usability charts for UK readers (other US publishers please take note). The guide for special menus at the back of the book that highlights vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and diary-free recipes (of which there are many) is particularly thoughtful.
What won’t I like? Me, if I find out you don’t love this book as much as I do.
Should I buy it? Only if you like cooking delicious food. Otherwise, give it a miss.
Suitable for: Beginners and confident home cooks
Cookbook Review rating: 5 Stars
Buy this book
Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites
£25, Square Peg