Monday, June 13, 2011

In the Small Kitchen - Cara Eisenpress & Phoebe Lapine

Summary: It's hard to forget your first apartment-its cramped closets, one too many roommates, and oh-so-tiny kitchen-or the first entry-level job, vibrant but hectic social life, and newfound independence that comes with it.  For Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine, that first small kitchen was a blessing in disguise, a haven from adulthood's worries and thrills.  In the Small Kitchen, inspired by their popular website Big Girls, Small Kitchen, is their debut cookbook, filled with more than 100 delicious recipes for cooking and entertaining within the constraints of a twenty-something life.  Whether you're packing Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches for a cubicle picnic, staying in with a cup of Workweek Tomato Soup and Cara's Cassic Gooey Grilled Cheese, whipping up Three Onion Dip and Pimm's Cup for a cocktail party, or making Shrimp Risotto with Sweet Peas and Leeks to impress a special dinner date, Cara and Phoebe will show you how to stretch your imagination and your pocketbook to get the most out of your small kitchen without sacrificing the flavor or fun of savoring a good meal.  In the Small Kitchen will get a new generation into the habit of cooking and make your kitchen a place everyone wants to be. (Summary from the book. Image from Amazon.com.)

My Review: This book was was so much more than just a collection of recipes. Every section and sub-section was accompanied by a personal anecdote from one of the authors, sharing their transitions from college student to "big girl." I felt like I was alternating between snooping in their diaries and peeking in their kitchen windows. As a nosy curious person, I ate it all up --  every childhood memory, awkward date, quiet morning, career change, and dinner party. I feel like I know these ladies, and if I ever found myself in New York, they'd happily pull up an extra chair and let me join them for dinner. Although my life is drastically different from theirs (me=married, full-time mom, can't always promise I'm wearing clean clothes), I felt a connection with them. Not just a food blogging connection, but a desire to create memories of life's many changes and draw closer to my friends and loved ones via food.

Ah, yes, the food. Cara and Pheobe's recipes are fresh, tasty, and relatively easy to prepare. The book is organized by occasion (cooking for one, picnicking, entertaining, dating, gift giving, etc.) and most (with the exception of the entertaining section) feed one to four people. These can easily be adapted to feed a family with children. We tried out the BBQ Lentils and the Butterscotch Pecan Cookies. Both were unique and fantastic recipes! I've got quite a list to work through from this fun little book, and I can't wait to try more.

My Rating: 5 stars.

Sum it up: Perfect for the quarter-life career person or a quarter-life stay-at-home mom who desires to vicariously experience a single, career-oriented, delicious life in the Big Apple.

If you'd like a chance at winning a free copy of this cookbook, visit the review post for In the Small Kitchen on Perry's Plate for details! (Jumping through hoops not required.)

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