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The Kitchn cookbook by SARA KATE GILLINGHAM and FAITH DURAND REVIEWED

The kitchn cookbook
By Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand
Published by: Clarkson Potter
ISBN#978-0-7704-3343-4
304 Pages HB

ABOUT AUTHORS: SARA KATE GILLINGHAM is a food writer based in New York City. She is the founding editor of Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn, an award-winning cooking website and online community, which began in 2005. She is also the author of two cookbooks, Good Food to Share and The Greyston Bakery Cookbook.

FAITH DURAND is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of Bakeless Sweets and Not Your Mother's Casseroles. An avid home cook, gardener, and lover of dinner parties, she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband.

ABOUT BOOK: From Apartment Therapy's cooking site, The Kitchn, comes 150 recipes and a cooking school with 50 essential lessons, as well as a guide to organizing your kitchen--plus storage tips, tool reviews, inspiration from real kitchens, maintenance suggestions, 200 photographs, and much more. WITH 18 RECIPES EXCLUSIVE TO THE EBOOK EDITION.

 “There is no question that the kitchen is the most important room of the home,” say Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand of the beloved cooking site and blog, The Kitchn.

The Kitchn offers two books in one: a trove of techniques and recipes, plus a comprehensive guide to organizing your kitchen so that it’s one of your favorite places to be.

REVIEW: This is not your typical cookbook. Yes, it has great yummy recipes inside but it gives you so much more. I’m thankful for a review copy of a book that felt like I was hanging out with an old friend. Let me explain. I grew up in an Italian home where the preparation of food was a family affair. The kitchen was the heart of our home. I have great memories of my whole family cooking together to create amazing meals. This book helps me recreate that memory for my family today.

In the beginning of this book there are several kitchen styles pictured. They discuss how to change, organize and renovate a kitchen. Each family pictured discusses what they were looking for in a kitchen. Some brought a house with the kitchen of their dreams included and others renovated the one they had. It was fun to see the end results; each revealing the heart of their home.

One author states, “First, let’s be clear: You will never be done setting up and caring for your kitchen. This is good news, because the unavoidable nature of kitchens is that they cannot stay pristine and perfect, and there will always be an endless need to add to and edit their contents. The other good news is that there is great joy in creating a kitchen over time, adjusting and revising it to the inevitable changes life will bring.”

I loved the questions these authors asked readers to help them in designing the dream kitchen to fit the needs of their family. The questions are designed to help you create a practical, functional kitchen their whole family would enjoy.

Other sections in this book include “Setting up your kitchen for the way you really cook – 10 Smart storage solutions for any kitchen – Budget kitchen renovation – Flour shining kitchen: 5 ways to grow food in any space – Tools – our most loved kitchen tools. – How to choose good cookware. Then there is a chapter on caring for your kitchen.

Under this section the authors say, “The importance of keeping the kitchen clean and organized, not just for hygienic reasons, but also because this is the room that nourishes you and provides vitality…your kitchen is clean, organized and beautiful now. Here’s how to cook well.”

I like what they also said, “In order to cook well, give up on perfection…nothing we cook will look exactly the same as a picture in a magazine or taste the way our friends dish did. Even a familiar recipe will not offer the same results from one time to the next time you make it.”

I loved to hear this. It gave me hope. There was also a section on meal planning I felt helpful called, “15 Simple ways to help yourself cook more often.”

I enjoyed all the colorful pictures throughout the book. They are beautiful and helpful. In the cooking school section they had step by step pictures. I’m a visual learner and was thankful for the pictures in the section titled, “The Kitchen cooking school – 50 essential skills.” The rest of this book is devoted to recipes. Many of which I’ve seen and wanted to make but didn’t know the name of the dish and/or how to go about creating it.

The authors state ,… “The collection of recipes will get you cooking any meal of the day, any time of the year. After all, we see recipes as road maps to a sure fire dish, gentle suggestions of something to cook and everything in between. One simple recipe will serve all levels of cooks… “ the categories are broken down into morning meals, appetizers, drinks, main dishes, one-bowl meals, sides, salads and desserts.

To my great surprise the last section of the book was called Gatherings. The authors state, “The elements of a good gathering; setting the table, decorating the table, setting the mood for company, how to work with different diet needs of guests, potlucks and buffets for large gatherings.”

This was very useful information to help create an atmosphere of fun, with friends and good food. In the back there is a helpful resource section that lists places to get cooking supplies, ingredients and includes favorite websites for foods.

This was a beautiful hardback book that had so much inside to help you create not only great food but help the reader make the heart of your home healthy for your family inside and out. I love to bake. With the weather cooling I decided to make the dessert dishes. My family and I enjoyed classic chewy brownies, perfected chocolate chip cookies, chunky chocolate cherry oatmeal cookies, and lofty buttermilk pancakes. The instructions were simple to follow with easy to find ingredients. Some of these recipes took longer to make than I’m used to doing because the ingredients needed to rise and/or be in the refrigerator overnight. It took longer but I found it was well worth the wait.

This book would make a great gift. It was fun to read. It was encouraging on many levels. I can’t wait to dig into making more yummy recipes and dream about my beautiful someday kitchen! This book is a keeper.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com

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