Deb Perelman on building Smitten Kitchen and what makes a "keeper" recipe

Salt & Spine

05-10-2023 • 40 mins

Hi there, happy Thursday! We’ve got a great chat with Smitten Kitchen herself (aka Deb Perelman) this week, so let’s cut right to it:

Episode 161: Deb Perelman

In this week’s episode, of and I discuss:

* Her initial foray into blogging—from her short stint chronicling her dating life in New York City and shifting the focus to cooking;

* How she approaches cookbook writing, from her initial reluctance to write a cookbook to what makes “keeper recipes;”

* Where she finds inspiration, including which cookbooks she turns to.

Plus, as always, we put Deb to the test in our signature culinary game.

Hey there, do you love Salt + Spine? We’d love if you shared this email with a friend who might want to #TalkCookbooks with us, too:

Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics For Your Forever Files by Deb Perelman

In her third book, Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, Deb Perelman gives us 100 recipes (including a few favorites from her site) that aim to make shopping easier, preparation more practical and enjoyable, and food more reliably delicious for the home cook.

What's a keeper?

* a full-crunch cucumber salad you'll want to make over and over again for lunch

* a tomato and corn cobbler that tastes like summer sunshine

* an epic deep-dish broccoli cheddar quiche that even quiche skeptics love

* a slow-roasted chicken on a bed of unapologetically schmaltzy croutons

* a butterscotched apple crisp that will ruin you for all others

* perfect spaghetti and meatballs, better than ever

* Deb's ultimate pound cake, one to redeem all the sleepy ones you've eaten over the years

These are the fail-safe, satisfying recipes you'll rely on for years to come--from Perelman's forever files to yours.

We 💚 local bookstores. Pick up your copy of Smitten Kitchen Keepers here:

This week, paid subscribers will receive a recipe for Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup, the first recipe she worked on for this book and “the definition of a keeper.”

Salt + Spine is supported by listeners like you. For this week’s recipe—plus exclusive content and hundreds of other featured recipes—become a paid subscriber today.

New Cookbook Releases*

*from this week and last week, as we’re behind! 😊

* The Ranch Table: Recipes from a Year of Harvests, Celebrations, and Family Dinners on a Historic California Ranch by Elizabeth Poett

* Here We Go Again: Recipes and Inspiration to Level Up Your Leftoversby Tiffani Thiessen

* The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp: Spicy Recipes and Stories from Fly By Jing's Kitchen by Jing Gao

* Always Hungry! by Laurent Degenais

* Sohn-mat: Recipes and Flavors of Korean Home Cooking by Monica Lee and Tien Nguyen

* Jacques Pépin Cooking My Way: Recipes and Techniques for Economical Cooking by Jacques Pépin

* The Secret of Cooking: Recipes for an Easier Life in the Kitchen by Bee Wilson

* Seafood Simple by Eric Ripert

* Lidia's From Our Family Table to Yours: More Than 100 Recipes Made with Love for All Occasions by Lidia Bastianich

* The Korean Cookbookby Junghyun Park and Jungyoon Choi

* Scandinavian from Scratch: A Love Letter to the Baking of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden by Nichole Accettola

* Unwind: A Devotional Cookbook for the Harried and Hungry by Aarti Sequeira

* The Lula Cafe Cookbook: Collected Recipes and Stories by Jason Hammel

* Zingerman's Bakehouse Celebrate Every Day: A Year's Worth of Favorite Recipes for Festive Occasions, Big and Small by Amy Emberling, Lindsay-Jean Hard, Lee Vedder, Corynn Coscia

* A Man & His Kitchen: Classic Home Cooking and Entertaining with Style at the Wm Brown Farm by

* Slow Drinks by Danny Childs

* Signature Cocktails by Amanda Schuster

* The Chocolate Chip Cookie Book: Classic, Creative, and Must-Try Recipes for Every Kitchen by Katie Jacobs

* Now & Then: A Collection of Recipes for Always by Tessa Kiros

* Natasha's Kitchen: 100+ Easy Family-Favorite Recipes You'll Make Again and Again by Natasha Kravchuk

* Latinísimo: Home Recipes from the Twenty-One Countries of Latin America by Sandra A. Gutierrez

* Familia: 125 Foolproof Mexican Recipes to Feed Your People by Marcela Valladolid

* Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many by Jeremy Lee

* Diner: Day for Nightby Andrew Tarlow

* Cook Clever: One Chop, No Waste, All Taste by Shivi Ramoutar

This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit

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