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Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  922 ratings  ·  92 reviews
"I can't wait to cook my way through this amazing new book," Ina Garten writes in the foreword to this cookbook of more than 400 recipes and variations from Julia Turshen, writer, go-to recipe developer, co-author for best-selling cookbooks such as Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good, Mario Batali's Spain...on the Road Again, and Dana Cowin's Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitch ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Chronicle Books
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  922 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well, I have never reviewed a cookbook before even though I own a decent number of them. I decided if I was to review a new cookbook I needed to spend a decent chunk of time actually cooking from it. And so over the last three months I have gone through selecting out recipes from each section of this book and I have made several happy discoveries or rather "small victories" in the process. This is really just my sort of cookbook very down-to-earth and unfussy, with results that don't rely heavil ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
Oooh I loved this and read it in one sitting! Although I borrowed the ebook from the library, I can tell that I’m going to need to purchase a physical copy of this one for my permanent collection - so many delicious sounding, approachable recipes! I love that most have pictures, I love love LOVE how most recipes have several versions (this is my absolute FAVORITE thing in any cookbook because it shows us how to be less rigid, encourages experimentation, and gives us permission to sub things in a ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every cook!
Recommended to Ivonne by: BookBub
Although the title sounds like one for a romance novel, Julia Turshen’s book is actually an excellent cookbook, whether for novices or excellent cooks. (The great Ina Garten is a fan and wrote the foreword.) Turshen provides mostly simple recipes with accessible ingredients — and when she doesn’t, she suggests everyday substitutions.

And you get even more recipes than it seems because Turshen provides numerous variations for the recipes. This cookbook is a must-have.

And to parrot Turshen, anothe
Nicole Gulotta
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This is a wonderful collection of recipes for new home cooks, but kitchen veterans find something to love, too. Many recipes are perfect for quick weeknight cooking (something I'm in need of right now), and Julia's stories and headnotes make the book feel personal and approachable. I've been cooking from it the past few weeks, and have added several recipes to my permanent rotation. ...more
Juli Anna
Apr 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
There is a lot to like about this book, and for those who are newer to cooking I would recommend this book whole-heartedly. It's also great inspiration for effortless, casual entertaining. I think that Turshen's chops as a chef and recipe developer are really on display here--she is good at what she does, and the recipes are all exciting and relatively low-maintenance. I love how often she suggests turning what many people would consider throwaways into viable, tasty food items (I can't wait to ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful cookbook, but nothing really earth-shattering... great for a new cook who is just learning how to improvise and make changes based on what's in his/her pantry. ...more
Christine (Tina)
I'm obsessed with this cookbook! Turshen takes us through so many different flavor profiles with such ease & simplicity & with the encouragement of attainable culinary "small victories". Beautifully photographed/styled with mouth-wateringly delicious recipe suggestions, this one is a definite "for purchase" to be placed on the increasingly weight-sagging cookbook shelves in my kitchen! ...more
tiffany greene
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this was going to be a “this is out of my league” cookbook...since I’m not a great cook, nor do I enjoy cooking. But my dinner menu needs a refresh and I picked up this on a recommendation from an “instagram friend”. Actually found quite a few dishes I can’t wait to try!
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This cookbook is wonderful; I want to make so many of her recipes! I plan to purchase this book.

Douglas Welch
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When reading a cookbook I don’t tend to make grand proclamations that this book is good and that book is bad. Cookbooks are all about what you take away from the book and one person’s favorite is another’s failure. For me, my like or dislike of a cookbook directly relates to how well it works for me. Does its message resonate? Are the recipes actually something I would consider making? Can I put my new found knowledge to immediate use? With those criteria in mind, Small Victories certainly worke ...more
While the variety of recipes in this cook book are good there aren't a lot of pictures.

While I wouldn't cook these things every day there are some good recipes that are broken down in a way that seems approachable.
Tam G
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
While there are probably many dishes I wouldn't make from this, I enjoyed the Small Victories sections (tips and tricks) and the Further Ideas sections (twists on the original recipe). Both of those, along with the writer's style, make this a useful cookbook. ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 600s
Love cookbooks to read, Julia's comments are great!
Alex Can Read
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally published on my blog

It’s no secret in my family and social circles that I love food. My family nickname is “Food” even. I love to eat, I love to scope out new restaurants, love to cook (but hate the cleanup) and naturally, because I love books, I adore cookbooks.

It’s no secret in my family and social circles that I love food. My family nickname is “Food” even. I love to eat, I love to scope out new restaurants, love to cook (b
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm sold....

Real Simple Small Victories is so lively, so encouraging, and so filled with easy solutions that it's the perfect book for someone who loves food but is nervous in the kitchen. I'll be giving it to every young cook I know.
Ruth Reichl

As practical as it is beautiful, this book is primarily meant for the kitchen novice. But the recipes are so intriguing and enticing that experienced cooks will be tempted. Each carefully thought-out and explained recipe is followed by delicious riffs.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve never reviewed a cookbook before, but it just occurred to me to do so! I love this book. I don’t think every recipe is perfect; she says I need a cup and a half of braising liquid, I might actually need more like 2 1/2 – – and as some have said, none of these recipes is challenging for a kitchen veteran. But even for decent cooks like me, there just seems to be something to love on every page – – like, does making meatballs have to be as complicated as we thought? Am I really ambitious enou ...more
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
My biggest pet peeve is a cookbook that makes me google the recipe to figure out what's going on. There are too many photos of raw ingredients and not enough of finished dishes, most photos are unappetizing. The recipe names are also dumb, like the wishy washy "Kinda, sorta patatas bravas" with a photo of a dish of salt, like she's using fancy words with dumb words to name her dishes instead of actually thinking of something original. I wont be buying another book by the author. Wasted so much s ...more
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is very non fussy for those who are 'smitten kitchen inclined' -- if that makes any sense. Julia offers recipes that are delicious, not overly complicated, and that turn out great! I've only made a few so far, but have done a variety (beet salad, tea cake, and one entree i'm blanking on) and they were all really good! I'm debating buying this one after checking it out, and renewing it twice!, from the library.

I like that she has helpful tips, like putting a little water and then the p
Jenifer Jacobs
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I requested this book from the library after hearing the author interviewed on NPR and just loving the way she spoke about food and cooking. Now that I have read the book (and tried several recipes with great outcomes!!) I am ordering a copy to keep. Somehow, I have had a "fixed mindset" regarding cooking (along the lines of "I'm just not a gifted cook like my mom or sister") but this book managed to open my mind to the idea that inspired cooks got that way through practice (duh). And not being ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I enjoyed this more than the average cookbook because
1.) It's practical: beyond the pretty photos, it also includes tips for home cooks on how to stock up your chicken broth (pun intended; appreciate it), make time for lengthy baking processes, or generally adjust things to your schedule.
2.) Turshen actually takes the time to teach you cooking techniques and why you're doing what she asks you to do. Normally I go to blogs for this.
3.) Recipes are grounded in supplies/tools families will have at
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Does it seem strange to count a cookbook as something you’ve read, instead of something you’ve simply referred to or used?

Small Victories is part cookbook, part self-help, part memoir, part life skills guide. It reads almost like a narrative. It’s even sized thoughtfully: not a huge volume to park on your shelf, but a book that’s big enough to contain lovely photographic spreads and small enough to rest on your lap as you read in an armchair.

I’ve made three of the recipes so far and thought th
Carla Bayha
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Moving to a tiny house? This articulately voiced cookbook would satisfy as the only one you need for a decade. It's hard to break into the cookbook market without a television show or a hot restaurant, but this is the book that is worthy. Turshen has helped develop recipes for both Ina Garten and the PBS show "The Kimchi Chronicles".Still have most of your bottle of fish sauce, or an old can of chickpeas, or have you noticed that mussels at the supermarket are a lot cheaper than king crab legs? ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
I love this book. Turshen's knowledge, humor and warmth are on every page; you can feel her cheering you on as you cook the recipes. The recipes are delicious and accessible, and include many options for modification. I use the back of the book a TON and make the whiskey sours regularly :)

Wish list (but nothing worth deducting stars for!):
1. The photography is beautiful, but I would've liked more final or in progress pictures of the food versus artistry (close ups of onions aren't that helpful t
Patsy Shepherd
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some GREAT Ideas

I don't cook, and, at 75, I'm not sure I've got time to learn. But this book sure inspires me to maybe give it a try. I bought it on a whim, to try to learn to fry eggs better than I currently do. But there are few recipes in here that I'm not inspired to try. That, in itself, is a large victory for me. Meanwhile, the book is chock-a-block full of small victories that could (even at this late date) change my life. What a great collection of ideas--with spin-offs for each one. Goo
Debbie Sue
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you want some basic, easy and fun ideas... this book is for you! I took and am trying about a dozen new recipes - because trying something new is really the spice of life.

If you are into "lists" - you will enjoy 10 things to do with ground beef, chick peas, eggs .... and will walk away with something that you can easily memorize and use over and over again. Isn't that the best?!

This book would be a lovely gift for someone starting out in a new kitchen as it has basics with a lot of flair. BO
Samantha Shen
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More than great recipes

So many things I like about this book-
- the concept of “small victories” is well-developed and applies to more than just the actual food but your approach to cooking, learning to cook, and giving back to the community.

- Recipes are diverse, simple to follow, have lots of spin-offs that you can customize to your taste or morph into something else.

-Beautiful photography and layout
Catherine Woodman
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This cookbook is a series of solid basic recipes, with some nice options for variation, with an emphasis on making do, and being happy, even celebrating when you can use something up, or make an innovation that elevates the recipe a bit. My cookbook club did this and one of the enduing recipes is the lasagna. Followed by the meatballs--which gives you an idea that it is focused on comforting cooking as well.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This cookbook has gotten more mileage than any other on my shelf in the last year and it's no mystery why. Turshen's recipes are engaging and approachable, filled with endless variations (or small victories) that even a vet home cook like myself can find useful when stuck in a rut. I can't wait to see what she explores next. ...more
Diana Albert
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book

Not just a great cookbook, a great sit and read it book about cooking. So many if you can do this, then you can do that tips. Recipes that beg to be eaten. I actually wish there were a few more pictures, but even without pictures, the recipes themselves make me want to cook.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve got almost the entire library of Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (Ina Garten also wrote the foreword of Small Victories.) I love just about everything I’ve made from her oeuvre. But it’s Julia Turshen’s books that have made me a better cook - not only better but more relaxed and flexible.

You can read a full review on my blog
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Julia Turshen is the bestselling author of Now & Again, a Goodreads Choice Awards 2018 semi-finalist (vote for her here), as well as Feed the Resistance, named the Best Cookbook of 2017 by Eater, and Small Victories, named one of the Best Cookbooks of 2016 by the New York Times and NPR.

Epicurious has called her one of the 100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time. She is the founder of Equity At The Ta

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