Nicole Paulhus
October 20, 2013 12:00 pm

A few months ago I wrote a piece called “10 Reasons Cooking Makes Me Nervous” in which I outed my fear of cooking to the world. Lucky for me, someone from Jessica Seinfeld’s team read my piece and contacted me regarding her new book aptly titled “The Can’t Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified!” As I read Jessica’s introduction letter, it hit on so many of my fears I couldn’t help but feel as though the book was written exclusively for me. It wasn’t, of course, I’m not that important. It was, however, written for all the “Can’t Cooks” out there who, like me, experience cooking anxiety.

Even though Jessica is an experienced chef, the tone of the book is non-judgemental. She is constantly offering reassurance and tiny pep talks along the way. Each recipe comes with a “Don’t Panic” note designed to ease our concerns before we begin. What I especially loved about this book vs. other “easy recipe” books is that it assumes the reader knows absolutely nothing. The first forty pages are dedicated to explaining basic things like how to chop an onion and the difference between a tablespoon and teaspoon. As someone who googles “tablespoon teaspoon abbreviation” every time she cooks, I found these elements incredibly handy. Overall, the layout of every page is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. There’s even a built-in feature with which you can view video clips of cooking techniques on your smartphone by scanning an image on the page. It’s quite literally fool proof. She has thought of everything!

After I finished fawning over the book, I decided to give it a try. I picked two recipes and called my friend Marco (who is a bit of a food snob) to come over and be my taster. I decided to make a Sweet Pea & Onion Frittata, because frittata is a fun word and Smashed Red Potatoes With Chives, because I like potatoes and smashing things. After a quick trip to the store for ingredients and cooking materials, I got to work. I was immediately weary of attempting two recipes with multiple steps at the same time, but the “Don’t Panic” notes assured me multitasking was manageable and I had nothing to worry about. I did get a little stressed when things weren’t cooking in the prescribed time period (I have an old oven), but it all turned out great in the end.

Even Marco enjoyed his frittata and potatoes!

The real shock of the day came when I realized that I, a renowned “Can’t Cook”, had actually enjoyed cooking! I might even go as far as to say cooking is fun. I’m excited to try out some of the desserts next! I’ll have to break it easy to GrubHub that I might not be needing their services anymore.

Jessica’s book is available in hardcover and Kindle e-book in stores and on Amazon. If you’re a “Can’t Cook” like me, you should absolutely positively 100% check it out.

Feature Image via Amazon.

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