The Crabby Cook Cookbook: 135 Almost Effortless Recipes Plus Survival Tips, by Jessica Harper, published by Workman Press and distributed by Thomas Allen and Sons is a most entertaining and funny read, especially if you are a crabby cook yourself. With strategies, no-fail recipes and humor, Harper gets the job making dinner done.
About the Book
Upon opening the book, the pages come alive with descriptive stories before each recipe, explaining why Harper came up with this recipe or giving funny antidotes and supplying coping skills along with her recipes.
“Are You a Crabby Cook?…..Many of you (and I) can answer that question unequivocally, but some of you may be uncertain. To determine just how crabby you are, do this simple self-check. Read the following six statements. If any of them sound like something you might say or think, then, I’m sorry, but most likely you do NOT qualify for crabby cook status.
- 1. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do at five o’clock than cook dinner.
- I’m always one to read a recipe thoroughly before I begin cooking. You never know when, say, a unique browning method might be called for, and you’ll need to run down to Home Depot to pick up a blowtorch.
- I never curse while cooking, even when the recipe requires that I chop seven vegetables and flour and sear fifty cubes of beef. I also do not curse when mid-recipe, I am distracted by a phone call from the PTA lady and I burn my finger with the blowtorch.
- When the PTA lady calls to ask me to contribute food to their annual luncheon, I love the fact that she entrusts me with making a chicken entrée for forty, instead of one of the no-brainer donations like bottled water.
- If a family member doesn’t care for what I’ve prepared for dinner, I thank them for their feedback and offer them an alternative entrée.
- After dinner, I love the solitude of kitchen cleanup, while my family scampers off to watch American Idol. It gives me precious time to consider what I’ll cook for dinner the next day, and the next…..” Jessica Harper
“The day my friends and I outed ourselves, I got the idea for The Crabby Cook Cookbook. While it wouldn’t be my dream cookbook (that would be the one that just pops open and produces a meat loaf or a chicken dinner), its recipes and survival tips would make life easier for those of us who are kitchen-challenged. That’s why the recipes here are not complex or glamorous. This is every day, family friendly (and chef-friendly) food, home-tested for acceptability by very picky people (my relatives).” Harper
This book is such a pleasure to read, you will find yourself reading and trying all the recipes eventually.
From the moment I opened the book, I started to laugh. Harper’s short story at the beginning of each recipe and each chapter make this book so worth having. I love that she has two recipes for soup, “Pain-in-the-Ass Minestrone” and an easier version “Lazy-Ass Minestrone”. You get to decide which mood you are in before taking on this recipe. The “Too Many-Ingredients Curry Dip” is a recipe she whittled down to what she considered the bare essentials which is absolutely fabulous for entertaining, and so easy too. Her “Green Eggs and Ham” is a frittata with fresh asparagus, leeks, herbs and cheese with no Dr. Seuss required. You just have to try her “No Patience Coconut Cookies” which are so incredibly easy to make. I would give this recipe book to anyone who is a no-nonsense cook, or someone who just wants to get it over with and on the table.
I have picked a rather simple recipe for this week’s giveaway, because like the book, I want to make really simple things, and offer them to you, because like you I have a box of veggies just asking me to do something with them, which usually involves a lot of “choppage” and prep work, so when I find one that is simple and easy and tastes good, well I just gotta share! I usually get brain-dead very fast when it comes to cabbage. I like it, but only have a limited skill with it, and my family usually complains about the house smelling foul when I cook it.
“I like to think of this dish as the hot big brother of coleslaw – it’s all cabbagey, healthy, and easy as pie. But this raises the following question: Why do people say things are easy as pie? If they mean easy as eating pie, then I get it. But I think they usually mean easy as making pie, which makes me wonder if the person who came up with the expression ever made a pie, because it is so NOT easy. And this reminds me that I actually once made a cabbage pie, which was quite terrible. Anyway, this dish is a great side for most roasts, or for Chicken Nuggets (page 218) or for Fish Stix (page 122).”
- 1/2 head green cabbage – I prefer Napa or Savoy
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
The Crabby Cook Cookbook: 135 Almost Effortless Recipes Plus Survival Tips, by Jessica Harper, published by Workman Press and distributed by Thomas Allen and Sons could be your own “Go To” cookbook. You can win this copy by leaving a comment at the end of this blog, and as well tell me your own crabby cook experiences in your family kitchen. Do you have some “quick-fixins” that are good and tasty, yet so easy to make?
You can of course buy your own copy from your local book store. I want to thank Bonita at Thomas Allen & Sons for donating my copy so that I can offer this amazing giveaway!