Website of the Week: Smitten Kitchen

Starting this week I’m including a new feature sharing best content I’m finding, starting with some of my daily must-reads.

This week’s site is one that you’ve probably already heard of if you like to cook: Smitten Kitchen. Deb Perelman’s cooking blog takes you right into her tiny New York City kitchen through stunningly good food photography, great descriptions, clear instructions, and a lot of personality and advice.

Three things I love about this site:

1. The mixture of original recipes and recipes from other sources. Deb’s working on a cookbook of her own creations (that I can’t wait to buy!) and she’s proven she’s a master at tweaking a recipe until it’s just right. But she also shares great recipes from other sources, such as magazines and cookbooks. This sharing has turned me on to a number of other great cooks and cookbooks, including Sky High (which I fell in love with after making the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake) and Ottolenghi (whom I was introduced due via the Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake).

2. The way Deb describes food. To me, great food writing is not just instructions or descriptions of how something looks or tastes. It’s about the way strawberries mean summer or a certain babka reminds you of home. Cooking, for many of us, is a way to show the people we care about that we want to do something for them: make them the perfect birthday cake, remind them of a great vacation, warm them up on a cold winter night…those feelings are evident in Deb’s writing.

3. The instructions. I used to write instructions for a living, and I know it can be hard. These are good, clear instructions. The best part is that Deb often includes not only what to do, but why you do it and what happens if you don’t (for example, I made the Chocolate Peanut Butter cake last night, and the recipe advised me to freeze the cakes before frosting them to keep them from falling apart). She offers shortcuts and substitutions, which is really helpful when something specific is called for in the recipe and you don’t have that exact spice or type of pan on hand.

If you are looking for a great collection of tested recipes with beautiful photos, clear instructions, and an easy-to-search index, this site is it.

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