By: Jennifer Schaertl
Publisher: Heath Communications, Inc.
Publication Date: April 2010
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: May 17, 2010
I admit it – the reason I wanted to read/review this book was solely based on the title. ‘Crappy Little Kitchen’ describes my cooking area perfectly. Could I actually make a real, gourmet meal in my tiny, ill-equipped kitchen?
With recipe titles such as ‘Shuttupahyourface Bruschetta’ and ‘Look-Like-You-Didn’t-Hurry Curry Chicken Salad,’ as well as frequent references to the CLK (Crappy Little Kitchen), much of this cookbook is tongue-in-check. However, it is also a great little cookbook, with wonderful, easy-to-follow recipes that can be made in a tiny, poorly equipped kitchen.
The author begins her book with an overview of CLK basics, “You no longer need a meat mallet, since whacking the meat with your saucepan will serve that purpose…” (pg. 7), must have accessories, space-saving tools, and things that you can do without, things that unnecessarily clutter your kitchen. Then it’s on to the fun – cooking!
Chapters in this book are: appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, one-pot creations, accompaniments, sauces and desserts. Liberally mixed in among all the recipes are little boxes with tips and tidbits of cooking advice. “Did You Know This Crap?,” “Chefology,” and the one I found most helpful, “Swap It” with suggestions such as “For people with less discerning palates – say, a group of kids-replace the dried cherries with red, seedless grapes, and the pumpernickel with graham crackers.” (pg. 32).
The big questions however, have to be how was the food, and were the recipes easy to follow? The answers? Scrumptious and yup, very easy. I tested several recipes and found all the instructions very clear, many fairly quick to prepare, and all came out of my CLK smelling wonderful and tasting fabulous. Schaertl has worked as a chef in four 4-star restaurants and her great, easy-to-follow recipes are a tribute to that experience. The author also offers a monthly mailing list with CLK tips (see the book for details).
Quill says: For all those stuck with a CLK, now you too, can make gourmet meals.