Cookbook Spotlight: Kitchen Sense

by Cate on July 10, 2006

When I received an e-mail a few months ago, asking if I wanted an advance copy of Mitchell Davis’ new cookbook, Kitchen Sense, I tried to respond as professionally as possible and not with a “Heck, yeah!” Me, a self-professed cookbook addict, getting to see a brand-spankin’ new cookbook that has yet to hit the bookshelves? Not a hard decision in the least.

A couple weeks later, the big-500+ page book landed with a thud on my front doorstep. It’s tag line reads “More than 600 Recipes to Make You a Great Home Cook.” That will lure people in right there, because that is truly what a lot of us aspire to be really. Not a chef, but a great home cook. The person responsible for putting smiles on their friends’ and families’ faces, and intertwining their love for food with creating great, long-lasting memories.

I gotta be truthful. At first glance, if I had seen this cookbook at the bookstore, I honestly wouldn’t have given it a second look. I really prefer my cookbooks to have photos, lots of them, and in color, please. This one? Not one. Not a black-and-white photo, no color photographs, not even a sketch. But wait … there was a saving grace. The text. I love when cookbooks tell stories. Don’t laugh, but I’ve been known to curl up and read a good book, a cookbook! I want to know how the recipe came about, what the inspiration was, the history behind it, what made the author go running into the kitchen and start banging pots and pans around. And Kitchen Sense delivers that, and then some.

Besides working at the famous James Beard Foundation, the author is also an adjunct professor at NYU’s food studies program. So, he knows his food, and equally important, he knows the written word, and knows it well. Like me curling up with a good cookbook for a long satisfying read, Kitchen Sense is like bringing an old friend into the kitchen while he explains how to make satisfying, tummy-warming food. Everything from fresh egg noodles and quick tomato sauce to Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy and Beer-Braised Pot Roast. It’s all here – grab yourself a copy and curl up with it.

Now, speaking of cookbooks, I need to MAKE ROOM! I went through my bookshelves and have a stack of cookbooks to get rid of. Instead of putting them on Amazon, I thought I’d see if you guys wanted any first. These are Southern Living and Cooking Light Annuals … you know, the cookbook they put out at the end of the year that has every recipe from the magazine? Each one is $7 and includes Priority Mail (US) shipping. First come, first served – drop me a line if you’re interested.

Southern Living 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989
Cooking Light 1994, 1993, 1992

Lastly, I’ll leave you with the Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe from last night’s dinner.

Until tomorrow…

A year ago todaya great eating day!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Recipe courtesy of Family Circle
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb) (I used rotisserie chicken to save time)
6 tablespoons hot sauce (we used 4)
1 package cream cheese, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Place chicken breasts in a medium-size skillet and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and poach for about 6-7 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 170 on an instant-read thermometer. Remove chicken to a plate to cool. Shred with 2 forks.

Place shredded chicken and hot sauce in a skillet and heat through. Add cream cheese and dressing and heat until well blended. Add half of the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Place in a crock and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Serve warm (reheat in microwave if needed) with crackers.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara July 11, 2006 at 4:38 am

Cate, you are a kindered spirit! I read cookbooks like that too.
Glad you enjoyed the book.


Tanna July 11, 2006 at 9:17 am

I’m thinking I really want this cookbook. Yee gods my husband may shoot me soon. What could you possibly want with another cookbook.


Culinarily Obsessed July 11, 2006 at 7:54 pm

oooooh and u didn’t review this book for Food Bound! Shame on you!! haha kidding…wouldn’t mind getting an email offer like that myself..ok that’s putting it mildly..I would LOVE getting an email like that..haha


Cate July 12, 2006 at 2:04 am

Sara – that’s the best way to dive right in, right?

Tanna – You can never have enough cookbooks. Take it from one who knows. ;)

Jaay – it’s coming, I promise! :)


Sylvie July 13, 2006 at 2:41 am

I also love reading cookbooks. The author picked a great person to review it for I trust your opinion and I’ll probably buy it if I see it on the shelf. (Hope Costco will carry it.)

FYI- the next best thing to reading cookbooks I’ve discovered is listening to food related podcasts.


Cate July 13, 2006 at 3:19 am

Sylvie – actually went to Costco today and still no new cookbooks, I was quite bummed. ;)


Jasmine July 22, 2006 at 1:56 am

Hi Cate

You know, when I tell people I read cookery books like novels, I get one of two reactions: People really do that? or I am so glad I’m not the only one :)

Great post!



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