Jessica Seinfeld’s first two cookbooks utilized pureed fruits and vegetables in her recipes, to incorporate a little extra nutrition into family meals. Her third book, which just hit the shelves recently, takes a whole new approach. The Can’t Cook Book is a gentle, informative, hand-holding cooking class for the spatula-impaired. It offers a plentiful assortment of beginning recipes for the novice who wants to master simple, quick, and healthful meals. The book begins with detailed photos giving lessons in cooking tools and techniques, and then brings the reader through meals fit for every time of the day. Words of encouragement pepper the pages, stating, “Don’t panic!” followed by little tips for success and needed tools.
Seinfeld’s books have a clean, simple, old-fashioned appeal, beautiful photos, and without unneeded fuss or confusion. In The Can’t Cook Book, there are all of your childhood favorites, such as pork chops, Brussels sprouts, and pizza. There are also many about-to-be favorites, such as roasted sweet potato coins, kale chips, and flourless fudge cake. She prides her ingredient lists to be short and manageable, and even has a chapter on “Quickies,” which are really more about assembling than cooking.
This book offers comforting, clear, unintimidating directions for the beginner cook. I frequently get emails from one friend or another asking for a recipe, or what pan to use for a certain dish, or how to make something. I’d happily direct anyone to Seinfeld’s book. Whether for a bachelor looking to feed himself more than just takeout, or a busy new mom who wants to feed her family, there are recipes for everyone. Even for a parent who already has some basics in his or her repertoire, The Can’t Cook Book has recipes so quick and easy that they can be made on a busy weeknight… or, even better, with the help of an older child. In fact, my older daughter has shown a recent interest in cooking, and I’m excited to let her peruse this collection of accessible recipes and get her feet wet. And while I *can* already cook, I find Seinfeld’s recipes refreshing and was excited to try them out. We enjoyed the few we tried already (the four recipes choices for drumsticks were great, as were the minty sugar snap peas) and I look forward to working our way through the book.