We are getting so excited and inspired (and hungry) watching your submissions roll in for our upcoming Food issue! In the spirit of the food theme, we put together this collection of Roomies’ favourite cookbooks for writers. These books all feature recipes, but also include fiction, memoir, and other literary elements.
Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen blog and her NY Times best-selling spinoff cookbook provide the proof in the pudding that you don’t need a big kitchen to be a big cook. This is near to my heart because for years I cooked for my family, tested recipes for a cookbook review column, and whipped up complicated dinner party food in a New York City kitchen the size of a smallish walk-in closet. So when Perelman describes her style as “fearless cooking from a tiny kitchen in New York City,” I take notice.
Perelman’s forte is vibrant and elegant meals full of colour, texture, and flavour, and she provides easy-to-follow tutorials featuring her stunning photography. The blog is an archive of more than 800 recipes, and the book has another 105—mostly new and mostly vegetarian. Perelman avoids excessively fussy foods and pretentious ingredients—think Comfort Food 2.0. Much of Smitten Kitchen’s appeal is her no-nonsense approach and folksy story-telling, which is a welcome antidote to the current climate of competitive one-upmanship in the food world.
Perelman is also a stickler for getting things right and I’ve never tried one of her recipes that wasn’t spot on. The book is full of appetizing photos, helpful tips, practical information about equipment, and has a genius lay-flat binding that’s makes all difference between a cookbook that you actually use and one that languishes on the shelf. It’s a book that says if I can do it, you can do it—no matter the size of your kitchen.