Get Smitten With Deb Perelman's New Cookbook
GG: What is your recipe-testing process? What tips do you have about recipe testing for bloggers who are trying to make sure their recipes are the best they can be?
DP: I always have the last draft of a recipe printed and pinned under a magnet on the fridge with a pen nearby that I use to jot down more details in the marginsweights/questions/adjustments. It takes me forever to cook a recipe because of this, but I don't think you can take too many notes. I think every single one of those detailswhat size dice, how much your carrot weighs (please, don't just say "2," they range enormously!), what the onions will look like when they're cooked properly (browned? limp? etc.) will help someone. Someone will always appreciate that detail.
You might think, "I think my readers know this stuff. They're not such beginners that they need this level of detail," but really, what is there to lose by making recipes useful for all levels of cooks? Why alienate someone who didn't realize they'd grabbed what's considered a large, and not a medium, carrot? My goal has always been to get that recipe to work for everyone, no matter where they shop.
GG: What three cooking tools, pans or dishes do you wish you had room for in your tiny kitchen?
DP: The idea of room is so loaded because while I'd love a toaster oven, a great big stock pot, a gargantuan roasting pan and a high-functioning broiler, the only thing stopping me from having any of it is what else I'd be willing to get rid of to make room for it. And I hate choosing.
GG: What advice do you have for home cooks who are struggling to successfully make recipes they see in cookbooks or on blogs?
DP: It may just be the recipe. When I'm in the dark about a dish or making it for the first time, I gravitate toward recipes with comments on them; I feel much better taking a risk with a new recipe when I've already read feedback from random cooks who had success with it or had success with a small adjustment. In the absence of a recipe with comments, I might start with one from Cook's Illustrated or another airtight recipe tester (such as Ina Garten). It lowers your risk and increases that chance that a) you will have a delicious dinner that night, b) you will feel like a champ.
GG: Who is the one person you would most love to cook for, and what would you cook for them if you had that opportunity?
DP: You know, I tend to not get as stuck on big things as I do recent ones. A few days ago I was speaking to a lovely woman I met from London who said she can never get good scones here and she really misses them with thick cream and jam and hot tea in the afternoon. In another life, one where I had boundless amounts of free time and it wasn't weird to do nice things for strangers, I would totally bring her a scone. I think I could do a solid on it. And if I couldn't, I would beg her for suggestions, because I think there are worse skills to have in life than to be able to make amazing scones for homesick Brits, right?