We first met Kate last summer when she shared some great fermenting tips with us. We were inspired by her first book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, which shows you how to love your kitchen and learn to make creative, delicious food without breaking your budget. We are also avid readers of her blog, where she gives ideas on how to host a food swap, and shares a number of cool recipes like sweet cherry basil preserves and white wine pickled brussels sprouts.
As the oldest daughter, I’d had the opportunity to help & learn from my mother in the kitchen. Farming families in that era (as in most) got much practice in doing & making “more with less” and I had many opportunities to help my mother in the garden & kitchen and learned so much.
I’ve often taken for granted the role models I had when it came to hospitality done well. My Great Aunts Mary and Elisabeth set the bar high when it came to hosting…they had perfected it. However, after a year of craziness (what continues to happen as kids grow and businesses grow) which may be followed by an equally crazy one, I was craving some insight on how to make my kitchen more effective – “Successful in producing a desired or intended result”. So I had great hopes and high expectations from this pretty book!
I wanted to commit some real time to it…so I packed it with my note pad for our family camping trip. Without the usual barriers to the outside world, I was up with the sun…so shortly after 5:30am, I dove in. I must admit, I haven’t been picking up books lately, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the fact that I didn’t want to put this one down! Eugenia Bone’s forward drew me right in! “Frugality and functionality are the pillars on which flavor rests here, and Kate describes these virtues.” A little more than an hour into Kate’s book, my daughter overheard me mentioning to my husband how interesting it was. Her response: “Great! Now, you’ll not want to stop reading and we won’t be able to do anything fun!” I did take to play with my children, and as my son rolled out the awning, spilling the dew onto my brand new book, I was so very grateful for the lovely water-resistant cover! Good choice for the kitchen…you never know what can happen.
As Kate points out, the kitchen is an integral part of home…not just for preparing food for survival, but for life as family & friends. We all want that at some level, don’t we…even if we’re not seasoned cooks or love cooking. I appreciated her no-judgment approach to helping people find their way to making their kitchen become effective for them! Although I initially headed to the chapter on preserving foods, I quickly found my way deep into each of the chapters, as they are all so relevant! How much more enjoyable would canning pickles be if your work space is properly stocked for effective prep? The topics flow out of Kate’s candid experience in the kitchen, and without being overwhelming, range from ways to cook vegetables, to making your very own stock, to loading the dishwasher! If you’re looking for reasonable ways to make big changes in your relationship with your kitchen, this will quickly become a favorite! I know I’ll be referring to it often!
The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen includes advice and instructions on how to make both classic meals and foods that are typically bought, such as yogurt; ice cream; flavored salt; oil and vinegar infusions; kimchi; aioli; jam; granola; bread; and fruit leather—even liqueurs, iced teas, and vegetable juices. With fun line drawings, sidebars full of tips and tricks, and lists of resources, Kate sets you up for success and shows you how to unlock your inner kitchen prowess.