World Chefs: Perelman offers pointers for great recipe hunting
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"I think a really great recipe should be able to lead someone who has never cooked before through a dish so they could make it as perfectly as that recipe's writer the first time," said Perelman, a proudly self-taught home cook, tireless recipe hunter and successful food blogger.
The 100 recipes collected in Perelman's first book are mostly new, except a few favorites from her celebrated Smitten Kitchen website.
Perelman, 36, spoke to Reuters about her pursuit of great recipes, her blog-to-book deal, and why her tiny New York City kitchen is "smitten."
Q: Were you expecting a book deal when you started your Smitten Kitchen blog?
A: "I wasn't' really looking for a book deal. Mostly I just wanted to do the website."
A: "I wanted to have a place that I could share recipes that I thought were perfect: Go-to recipes that were easy, with accessible ingredients that I thought exceeded expectations."
Q: What makes a recipe good?
A: "First, the recipe should work. Many recipes don't. Beyond that it should be great. Most of us work and we don't have a lot of time to cook so it's really nice that when we come home we can cook something that's great. Third, I think a lot of recipes leave out detail. There's a presumption that you might know these steps or directions already. I think there's no harm to putting in a little extra detail ... Finally I think that a recipe should have accessible ingredients. You shouldn't have to run out to specialty stores to cook great food."
Q: You say you're not a trained chef and you've never been to cooking school. Where did you learn to cook?
A: "People in my family cook. My grandmother cooked. My mother taught herself to cook by cooking her way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French cooking." But the obsessiveness in chasing down what I consider recipes that are worth it , I think, is more my personality."
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