The Hip Girls Guide to the Kitchen by Kate Payne is something every modern kitchen needs. It’s not a cookbook, although there are a few recipes. It’s a foundational book to help the modern girl get her kitchen started.
Not too many women grow up in the kitchen anymore. They grow up on the soccer field and they eat dinner in the car. For this modern girl, a kitchen is daunting and it’s hard to find your way around. Kate solves this dilemma by giving you the basics. Even I, a seasoned, cook, could learn a few hip tricks, like the way she suggested recalibrating the meat thermometer.
The first three chapters devote themselves to how to equip your ship, (including ways to save money on cookware), get your pantry staples and keep your food fresh. She encourages cooking over dining out because as she says, “the food you buy from restaurants…is likely to be composed of the cheapest ingredients the owner can find. When that’s not the case, the price of the meal is very high. I can attest to that.
Kate and I both agree that the cook of today needs to understand her food, and be afforded fast, easy, healthy recipes. Everyone needs to know a little of the basics to be successful in the kitchen, and Kate has lots of great ideas. How to roast a chicken, prepare a pot roast, cook rice properly, make chicken stock. She gives a tutorial in the cooking vegetables, and what each preparation means such as steaming, blanching, roasting and braising.
Kate saves room for dessert, and lays out all the essentials you will need for baking, with a hip trick about cooling off a hot baking pan.
Kate devotes a section of the book to feeding others, and gives us ideas for such things as what to bring to a potluck, how to entertain, and how to prepare for a party. This part was especially helpful to read, because it encourages the everyday Jane to feel free enough to approach entertaining.
For example, she suggestes a quick idea for company is salted radishes with butter. This takes one minute to put together. I used french radishes, Himalayan sea salt, bread from the bakery and European butter. Easy but still special.
Other essential cooking notes you can look forward to include a lesson in herbs and spices, an area that often confuses many new cooks and even seasoned cooks. I especially like some of the tips about cocktails and the recipe suggestions for Sangria.
Kate’s last words are important because far too many women are intimidated to invite people in.
“If we wait for the perfect house in which to cook elaborate meals and entertain with flair, or until we can afford that long-lusted-after dining room table that seats four or more than four people, we’ll miss out on all sorts of opportunities to hone our abilities and test our skills.”
She wants you to just get in the kitchen, and have fun with food and with people, something I’ve saying all along. You don’t have to be an expert to have a little kitchen expertise or demonstrate hospitality.
Harper Collins provided this review copy and will provide a copy for this giveaway.
Food in Jars calls The Hips Girls Guide to the Kitchen a culinary problem Solver. The Healthy Green Kitchen was inspired by Kate’s book to make Garlic Parmesan Popcorn. Autumn Makes and Does was inspired to make Homemade Lavender Crème Fraîche. Punk Domestics says you can become a Kitchen Ninja with Kate’s book.
May 21 – Healthy Green Kitchen
May 22 – Local Kitchen
May 23 – Autumn Makes and Does
May 27 – Punk Domestics
May 28 – Spinach Tiger
May 29 – Local Savour
May 30 – Love and Lemons
June 2 – Kitchen Ecosystem