Review: The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified! by Jessica Seinfeld

Published October 3rd, 2013
Atria Books
256 pages (Hardcover)

Are you smart enough to dodge a telemarketer yet clueless as to how to chop a clove of garlic? Are you clever enough to forward an e-mail but don’t know the difference between broiling and baking? Ingenious enough to operate a blow-dryer but not sure how to use your blender? If you are basically competent, then Jessica Seinfeld’s The Can’t Cook Book is for you.

If you find cooking scary or stressful or just boring, Jessica has a calm, confidence-building approach to cooking, even for those who’ve never followed a recipe or used an oven. Jessica shows you how to prepare deliciously simple food—from Caesar salad, rice pilaf, and roasted asparagus to lemon salmon, roast chicken, and flourless fudge cake. At the beginning of each dish, she explains up front what the challenge will be, and then shows you exactly how to overcome any hurdles in easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

Designed to put the nervous cook at ease, The Can’t Cook Book is perfect for anyone who wants to gain confidence in the kitchen—and, who knows, maybe even master a meal or two. (From Goodreads)

A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way influenced my opinion.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster for also providing photos from the book for this review.

I cannot cook to save my life.  I know I'm not the only person out there in this boat, and I'm about to tell you why you should pick up this book!

First off, this book gives you the basics.  It starts with a summary of the basics that a well stocked kitchen needs.  I immediately realized that I lacked several things, and I think that is my only real complaint with the book.  It sort of assumes that the reader can go out and pick up whatever they are missing.  Some people with real jobs may be able to, but college students with limited budgets and no cooking skills can go out and purchase a food processor on a whim.  There were a couple recipes I would love to try, as soon as I decide how to combat my lack of a food processor (apparently a blender won't cut it...).

Beyond this annoyance, the book really does break down the basics of cooking for the reader.  There is a whole section of how-to tips that the recipes will refer you back to.  They're basic things, but so handy to refer back too.  The book also includes conversion charts and a table of what's in season.  These little details are awesome.

The recipes are great.  I've tried a few, including the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, Your First Chili, and Toasted Pine Nut and Cranberry Quinoa, and I enjoyed them all.  I wouldn't say any of the recipes are groundbreaking, but they're all simple, and the ones I have tried have been delicious!  Overall, the directions are pretty simple to follow, and include an outline of all the ingredients and equipment required.  And there are pictures of EVERYTHING, which I love having!  The photography is fantastic (as you can see oh my I am hungry now).

I love this book.  Like actually love it.  I wish this had been out when I first started living on my own.  If you need to work on your cooking skills, or know someone learning to cook for themselves, check this out now!

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