The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes + Lessons for a Hand-Crafted Life

The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes + Lessons for a Hand-Crafted Life

3.6 19
by Tom Hudgens
     
 

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Every once in a while a cookbook comes along that is at once so useful and so spirited you can imagine it becoming a kitchen staple. The Commonsense Kitchen is such a book. And it's from an unusual source: one of the toughest colleges to get into in the United States, Deep Springs is an organic farm, school, and working cattle ranch in the high desert of the

Overview

Every once in a while a cookbook comes along that is at once so useful and so spirited you can imagine it becoming a kitchen staple. The Commonsense Kitchen is such a book. And it's from an unusual source: one of the toughest colleges to get into in the United States, Deep Springs is an organic farm, school, and working cattle ranch in the high desert of the Sierra Nevada. This general cookbook has more than 500 recipes for delicious, honest staples and sassy regional specialties such as Red Chile Enchiladas and Mama Nell's Kentucky Bourbon Balls. What's more, this book features amazing food as well as lessons in life skills, from the proper way to wash dishes to how to make homemade soap. The Commonsense Kitchen is equally at home on the shelf of an urban foodie or a rural home cook.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Written by a former chef at, and graduate of, Deep Springs College in California, a men-only two-year college on a working ranch where students partake in hard physical labor along with academics, and learn a good deal about food, from farming to butchering to butter making, this hefty volume is refreshing in its straightforwardness. It's a nod to the Deep Springs kitchen, "where there is little time for fussy preparations, little money for expensive or exotic ingredients, and little regard for food trends or food snobbery, but where a great appreciation for any good, soul-satisfying food abides." Although there are no photos, the instructions are clear--with a good glossary of culinary terms--and the recipes for the most part are simple and appealing. They include the expected manly, hearty fare, such as biscuits and gravy for breakfast, chicken and dumplings, and steak fried in beef tallow. But there are many more entries along the lines of an asparagus mushroom frittata and fennel, blood orange, and toasted almond salad, which celebrate fresh flavors and seasonal ingredients. And there are plenty of sweet treats (pear, ginger, and lemon crisp; goose egg pound cake) that would serve well as a reward for a hard day of work, on the farm or anywhere. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
If any of this year's cookbooks is headed for dog-eared longevity, complete with tomato- sauce splatters and flour-dustings, it's Tom Hudgens' "The Commonsense Kitchen." ...As appropriate for beginning cooks as it is for those with more experience, this one will stick around your kitchen for years. — Denver Post, Best Cookbooks of 2010

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452100333
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
11/18/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
608
File size:
3 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Tom Hudgens attended and cooked at Deep Springs Ranch, Chez Panisse, and Liberty Café in San Francisco. He teaches at College of Marin and lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes + Lessons for a Hand-Crafted Life 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Books_And_Chocolate More than 1 year ago
This is a cookbook from an unusual source. The author attended and cooked at Deep Springs, a two-year college program that only admits 12 students each year that is also a working organic farm and cattle ranch in the high desert of the Sierra Nevada. This is a general cookbook with more than 500 recipes plus lessons in life skills, from the proper way to wash dishes to how to make homemade soap. The recipe chapters include breakfast dishes, breads, lunches, beans, vegetables, all kinds of meats and seafood, salads and dressings, pasta, soups, sauces and relishes, all kinds of desserts and sweet treats, plus chapters on kitchen tips, menus, and cleaning (washing dishes, getting out stains, etc.). There are some illustrations and antecdotes throughout, although no photographs but somehow the absense of photos fits with the down to basics, commonsense approach of this cookbook. In reading through the recipes and instructions, they seem to include enough information for novice cooks as well as the more experienced. The only recipe I tried so far was the buttermilk ranch salad dressing which was wonderful. I also appreciated the tutorial in the salad section of the cookbook on how to properly prepare greens and toss a salad, along with suggestions for ingredient combinations. This is the kind of good, basic background information that can be found throughout the book. I also like that the recipes call for fresh ingredients readily available in my local grocery store. There are so many recipes I'm looking forward to trying, including the glazed meatloaf, green chile enchiladas, sweet potato bread, black bean chili, cayenne-rubbed chicken with potatoes and garlic, and a fresh salsa recipe that seems very easy to make. Although I am a somewhat experienced cook, I tried to look at this cookbook from the view of a novice and there really isn't anything intimidating in it. With a good combination of traditional recipes along with those that have an updated twist in the ingredients, I think it would be a welcome addition to any kitchen as a go-to general cookbook that would get a lot of use.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I often decide to purchase a book based on the free sample. Well, the sample for this book is 116 pages long on my Nook and doesn't offer a single recipe! That is really not helpful.
gga More than 1 year ago
Have to have a fancier Nook than I have - Nook Simple Touch - in order to load onto your Nook. Wish that info had been displayed more prominently so I wouldn't have wasted so much time. Can only read it on my computer which wasn't what I had wanted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like his commonsense approach. Whether you've been cooking for years or are just beginning it all makes sense. No talking down or over your heads. The receipes I've tried so far are tasty and pretty easy. Today, it was the Chili con Carne....a great bowl of red! Glad it's on my nook so I can carry it wherever I go. Now I want it on paper to share with my kids.
Denise8 More than 1 year ago
So far, fascinating reading about this unique tiny college in the mountain shadows of California where the writer first attended school, then returned as their chef. I have made exactly one recipe from the book so far, and it came out successfully and as described. I love having this book on my Nook, as I always have it with me in my purse and I can pull it out and reference a recipe when I need a quick idea for dinner on my way home from work. However, I do find it inconvenient to look up recipes easily with the Nook. The electronic book doesn't seem a perfect match with books where an index is needed to find one's way around. Or perhaps I just haven't discovered an easy way.
Sweetie6452 More than 1 year ago
It was homey and comforting and delicious.... what more could anyone ask for
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed stories and recipes. Very well written. This will probably become one of my favorite books.
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Lot of reading and the recipes are not what I thought
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well done