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The Homemade Kitchen

This book is a map for how, day in and day out, food shapes my life for the better, in the kitchen and beyond it.
—from the Introduction
 
Start where you are. Feed yourself. Do your best, and then let go. Be helpful.  Slow down. Don’t be afraid of food.

Alana Chernila has these phrases taped to her fridge, and they are guiding principles helping her to stay present in her kitchen. They also provide the framework for her second book. In The Homemade Kitchen she exalts the beautiful imperfections of food made at home and extends the lessons of cooking through both the quotidian and extraordinary moments of the day. Alana sees cooking as an opportunity to live consciously, not just as a means to an end.

Written as much for the reader as the cook, The Homemade Kitchen covers a globe’s worth of flavors and includes new staples (what Alana is known for) such as chèvre, tofu, kefir, kimchi, preserved lemons, along with recipes and ideas for using them. Here, too, are dishes you’ll be inspired to try and that you will make again and again until they become your own family recipes, such as Broccoli Raab with Cheddar Polenta, a flavor-forward lunch for one; Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder, “late summer in a bowl”; Stuffed Winter Squash, rich with leeks, chorizo, apples, and grains; Braised Lamb Shanks that are tucked into the oven in the late afternoon and not touched again until dinner; Corn and Nectarine Salad showered with torn basil; perfect share-fare Sesame Noodles; Asparagus Carbonara, the easiest weeknight dinner ever; and sweet and savory treats such as Popovers, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Summer Trifle made with homemade pound cake and whatever berries are ripest, and Rhubarb Snacking Cake.

Praise: 

Paging through Chernila’s comforting and satisfying book feels like having a cup of tea with a good friend. Equal parts narrative and recipes, her offering is as much a philosophy of life as it is a collection of dishes. She puts the reader at ease from the beginning with her brand of doable domesticity: “Homemade food is the opposite of perfection. It holds the stamp of its maker.” Chapters are organized according to a collection of phrases she has taped to her fridge. “Be a Beginner” encourages readers to try anything once, even jam-making, with a versatile master recipe that adapts to any seasonal fruit. A chapter called “Use Your Scraps” proves the endless virtue of stale bread with recipes for stuffed tomatoes, panzanella, and broccoli rabe and sausage bread pudding. “Slow Down” emphasizes the importance of finding a pocket of time each day for yourself, with recipes for cold-brew concentrate and a rhubarb snacking cake. Although Chernila strives to eat local, sustainably sourced food when she can, in a chapter entitled “Do Your Best, and Then Let Go,” she acknowledges how her family really eats: “Organicish. Locenough. Homemade when I can. Fresh. Good. Mine.” This honest and beautifully told account of one family’s way of life will inspire readers to forge an equally delicious path. (Oct.)

Publishers Weekly

"Alana Chernila takes a realistic approach to cooking with pleasure... The fact that the photography is stunning, the layout elegant, and the recipes themselves somehow modern and rustic at the same time doesn't hurt... THE TAKEAWAY: Hearty, flavorful, and occassionally healthy recipes in gorgeous packaging that will put some pleasure back in your kitchen."
—Epicurious.com

Publishers Weekly
08/03/2015
Paging through Chernila’s comforting and satisfying book feels like having a cup of tea with a good friend. Equal parts narrative and recipes, her offering is as much a philosophy of life as it is a collection of dishes. She puts the reader at ease from the beginning with her brand of doable domesticity: “Homemade food is the opposite of perfection. It holds the stamp of its maker.” Chapters are organized according to a collection of phrases she has taped to her fridge. “Be a Beginner” encourages readers to try anything once, even jam-making, with a versatile master recipe that adapts to any seasonal fruit. A chapter called “Use Your Scraps” proves the endless virtue of stale bread with recipes for stuffed tomatoes, panzanella, and broccoli rabe and sausage bread pudding. “Slow Down” emphasizes the importance of finding a pocket of time each day for yourself, with recipes for cold-brew concentrate and a rhubarb snacking cake. Although Chernila strives to eat local, sustainably sourced food when she can, in a chapter entitled “Do Your Best, and Then Let Go,” she acknowledges how her family really eats: “Organicish. Locenough. Homemade when I can. Fresh. Good. Mine.” This honest and beautifully told account of one family’s way of life will inspire readers to forge an equally delicious path. (Oct.)
 
Library Journal
★ 08/01/2015
Massachusetts-based writer Chernila (The Homemade Pantry) approaches home cooking with a can-do attitude, and under her tutelage, tasks such as baking bread, making tofu, culturing kefir, and rolling sushi become approachable and entertaining. Her latest includes a balance of recipes for seasonal pantry staples and meals, which readers can use to prepare minimally processed foods every day of the week. Even though they're simple, these dishes are special. Queen garlic with chèvre and tomatoes, spicy pumpkin hot chocolate, platter salads, and easy coq au vin with buttermilk spaetzle are just a few of many recipes you'll reach for when you want to impress. VERDICT Never preachy or prescriptive, Chernila's most recent offering is sure to please anyone who loves unfussy, from-scratch cooking.


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