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In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  822 ratings  ·  56 reviews
"Melissa Clark's recipes are as lively and diverse as ever, drawing on influences from Marrakech to Madrid to the Mississippi Delta. She has her finger on the pulse of how and what America likes to eat."
-Tom Colicchio, author of Craft of Cooking

"A Good Appetite," Melissa Clark's weekly feature in the New York Times Dining Section, is about dishes that are easy to cook and
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Steven Peterson
This cookbook is a lot of fun! Each section has a brief essay upfront. A lot of wit here--and a passion for cooking and devising tasty recipes. Each recipe has a story; here again, considerable wit. For instance, the section entitled "Waffling toward Dinner." Putative breakfast dishes. But the author notes that one can enjoy breakfast dishes at midnight. Do your dining thing!

A couple recipes in the first section: "Buttery polenta with Parmesan and olive oil fried eggs." Ingredients: polenta, wat
Love this cookbook! I've made about 15 of the recipes, and they've all been excellent. While a knowledge of basic cooking is essential (of course), few of the recipes are particularly time or labor intensive, and some are downright easy. And the ingredients can be found at any local grocery. And yet, given the ease of cooking and the standard ingredients, Clark's recipes are delicious. She is an artist, excelling at combining flavors and textures, so that each dish is far more than the sum of it ...more
Recently, I was discussing what to make for dinner with my boyfriend. “Oh, I’m reading this cookbook…” I started. He interrupted. “Wait. You’re reading a cookbook?” “Well, yes,” I replied. “But it has lots of stories!” His incredulity made me realize that, of course, there are many types of cookbooks we don’t “read.” We refer to them, searching in the index under “pork chops” or flipping through until a glossy photo of lemon squares catches our eyes. But there are some types of cookbooks that ar ...more
I have come to really like this cookbook/food memoir.

Melissa Clark has a spirit of culinary adventure, and likes to arrive at a recipe that is not only interesting, but as fuss-free as possible. The book reminds me of Cooks Illustrated, in that she describes the idea she starts with, what she wants to achieve, and what she does to achieve it. On top of that, there are a number of recipes in the sweets section that sound interesting and unlike the million other cookie recipes I have read: whole W
i might give this 5 stars once i've read more and tried more recipes. loving it so far! tonight made a spicy chicken with barley, sweet potato, spinach soup. so yummy! and surprisingly low-cal and healthy while still being filling.

from what i've read so far, the author does an amazing job at describing recipes and foods rather than the typical cookbook photo shoot. you don't even notice there aren't any pictures, the stories are full enough.

i really relate to her cravings, or the way she gets an
No, I haven't bought into the kindle-as-1000-cookbooks rhetoric. I firmly believe that electronics deserve to be in a place where they have no chance of coming into contact with pudding. But this is a READING cookbook, much like "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" or anything by Nigella Lawson, where the long stories that precede each recipe are the more important part of the intro-recipe duality. Almost every recipe has a story and an evolution, lovingly described, and the most straightforward ch ...more
No, I haven't bought into the kindle-as-1000-cookbooks rhetoric. I firmly believe that electronics deserve to be in a place where they have no chance of coming into contact with pudding. But this is a READING cookbook, much like "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" or anything by Nigella Lawson, where the long stories that precede each recipe are the more important part of the intro-recipe duality. Almost every recipe has a story and an evolution, lovingly described, and the most straightforward ch ...more
Very solid cookbook, especially if you're looking for something with a variety of recipes (mostly American and French, with a handful of "ethnic-inspired" -- not a great source for anything authentic) and ideas to riff off of.

Clark includes a short essay before each recipe discussing her improvisation methods and techniques, which I think is helpful for people who are used to following recipes very closely. Learning how to tweak and substitute is part of what makes cooking fun -- and a lot less
I love this new cookbook. The author is a good writer and there are so many very homey, warm, but different things to try in this one. Let me give you a few chapter titles and leave it at that--Waffling toward Dinner, Things with Cheese, My Mother's Sandwich Theory of Life, Better Fried, My Sweet Tooth and Me, There's Always Room for Pie and Lessons on Imbibing.

New trend alert: Both this and Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook have recipes for whole baked pumpkins stuffed with different variations o
This was a fairly uninspiring book, though we did like the food we cooked.
Lisa Wang
Good recipes but kind of a unapologetically horrible person.
this is beyond an awesome cookbook. It has stories before each recipe and description on how delicious every dish is. I have made two simple things and they were delish! I am planning on making the "rich and nutty brown butter corn bread" , 'homemade spaetzle with browned onions, swiss chard, and emmentaler", 'zucchini latkes, 'deep fried bourbon peach pies" and on and can look up her book on Amazon and look at the Table of Contents to read all the mouthwatering recipes!
Anne LaLonde
Such fun to read this book - the essays were well-written and charming and the author is so enthusiastic about food.
Kathryn Daugherty
In the end, no matter how well put together, no matter how thoughtful; it is the recipes in a cookbook that count. These are not bad recipes. But she likes fried eggs and I don't. She likes sweet potatoes and I don't. She likes coconut and I am allergic to it. When there are only 150 recipes and so many of them are not what I would cook at all, it leaves me with a great deal of respect for her writing, but no interest in any of her recipes.
I really enjoyed this book, however I had an annoying and pervasive feeling of deja vu while reading it. The reason why is most of these recipes and stories were previously published in The New York Times. Though now that the Times is charging, maybe it IS a good deal to just buy the book. Clark is funny, self-deprecating, and daring in pursuit of tasty food. The Blood Orange Olive Oil cake brightened up my January big time!
Reminds me of Laurie Colwin's books on cooking, which I wish there were 10 more of.
My two favorite subjects -- the personal history of others and food -- combine to make a wonderfully interesting read. I've tried a number of the recipes and they are all winners. Her variations on a theme provide examples for folks who are afraid to veer from an original recipes and use what you have on hand. This is easily one of my favorite cookbooks ever.
Merry Amann
Loved the stories, and the recipes were doable. I like her fearless but good experimentations. One reason I enjoyed this book so much was that I do many of the same things, and its nice to read about someone that actually loves their own cooking and doesn't think twice about changing a recipe. In other words, she is a cook! (Not just a recipe follower)
I was surprised by how good this book was, and how engaging Melissa Clark's writing is. I've heard great things about Clark, but haven't gotten around to reading any of it before now. Her anecdotes are more food-related than I am used to, but I am inspired by her sense of adventure and fearlessness.
More than a cookbook, this is a book that encourages you to learn, experiment and invent. At least that's what I got out of it.
The narratives are engaging, at times humorous, always educational.
The recipes have a little bit of everything--though not really diet friendly. Definitely items here for holiday celebrations and special events, though.
I cannot wait to challenge myself with some of these recipes. Such fun to read a real chef and scientist at heart breaking apart a recipe so that you understand what makes something work or not work. Interesting history on foods that I have never heard of or will probably try(lol) but fun to read, nonetheless. Melissa has a friendly style I liked.
Although less than ten of the recipes in this book appealed to me, Melissa Clark's sharp writing and many humorous anecdotes made me read this book pretty much cover to cover in the course of one day. I appreciated her confidence and unabashed love of food and flavor. The recipes that I did bookmark look really, really delicious.
Jun 21, 2012 J A W rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I love cook books, but this one is different; the stories of how the dishes she describes melded with her life make this a book to dip into in moments of leisure. Okay, some of the recipes made me queasy ( but that happens in many cookbooks), but it was the author's voice that kept me reading
I'm not sure how good the recipes in this book are. I only tried one recipe, and I'm not sure I had all the ingredients. However, this book is peppered with little anecdotes, which were very interesting. I would recommend this book for the little stories in it, rather than the recipes in it.
Good for people who like a little personal essay along with each recipe. She is definitely going for a Nigella/M.F.K. Fisher 'my adventures with food' thing. Her approach to using kimchee is a little weird, but I will ascribe that to her bent towards making everything into a pan sauce.
Mar 14, 2011 Sarah marked it as to-read
Shelves: cookbooks
Recommended via Deborah Harkness' (A Discovery of Witches) wine blog:
I feel a little immature for saying this, but I think the reason I couldn't get into this cookbook was because it didn't have any pictures. Pretty much any other form of writing, and I'd be OK - but what can I say? For food, I need visuals.
I am not usually a fan of cookbooks without pictures--however, this cookbook had something almost as good as pictures--stories! What goes better with food than a good story? I loved the author's irreverance and "I'll do this MY way" attitude.
Melissa Clark is definitely one of my new favorite food writers. The stories that accompany each recipe are as much worth reading as the recipes themselves. She is witty and funny with an easy style and some killer recipes.
I'm reading this very slowly, because it's the kind of cookbook I love best -- the kind with a story for every recipe. So I'm only four or five recipes in, but so far I want to make them all.

(Thanks, Joey!)
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