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Cook This: Recipes for the Goodtime Girl

by Amy Rosen

The target audience for this cookbook is the post-university, single, female, Sex and the City wannabe. Although freelance writer Amy Rosen is cordon bleu-trained and the recipes she offers might have unlimited appeal for all eaters, in the layout of the book and the style of instructions, she stakes out a theoretical territory of young, economically independent gals who think a party of “trailer trash treats” a real hoot.

Recipes are divided into life problems or situations the cook may find herself dealing with: hence categories like Rx for PMS, How to Impress Boy Toy and His Parents, Dim the Lights and Turn Up the Heat, or Champagne and Stilettos.

The text is interspersed with cartoons, wisecracking recipe instructions (for Asian Cuke Salad, the serving instructions tell us to “do a little interpretive dance as you set it down”) and sage bits of advice: “You screwed the boss, then he screwed you over, now everyone in the office hates you…. To win back their affection, [offer] a fresh pot of coffee and a mini fridge full of home cooking.” There is also practical advice for novices on what kitchen equipment to invest in, what to stock in the pantry, and a short section on culinary terms. Many of the more complicated recipes require some previous experience at the stove.

The attempt to place the book too squarely in pink-covered chicklit territory may alienate readers outside the target market, which is a pity because there are fine recipes in this book, all clearly explained and universally enticing. Classic Osso Buco and Crème Brulée Three Ways, comforting Roasted Beef Brisket and Baked Triple-Strawberry Cheesecake, Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Pan-Fried Spinach, and Maple-Glazed Yams with Cranberries. These and many more such lovely recipes and kitchen plans should not be limited to a crowd of hard-drinking, emotionally immature, narcissistic twentysomethings.