Book: The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 2011
Source: Unsolicited copy received from the publisher
Summary: The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins is a concept cookbook. The concept is described by the subtitle “One Grocery List…Endless Recipes.” There are tear-out copies of the list in the back of the book (just check the things you need and head to the store). The book’s Facebook page promises a free app of the list available on the date of the book release, July 5. The premise is that if your kitchen is stocked with that list, you will be able to make any of the over 300 recipes in the book. There is even a place at The Stocked Kitchen for readers to add their own recipes.
Thoughts: This would have been the perfect cookbook for me in my twenties and thirties when I was eating too many carry-outs and restaurant meals and didn’t have the skills to push myself away from that lifestyle. With one grocery list and a variety of recipes to try, many tips for any processes that could be deemed tricky by a fledgling cook, and introductory material about how to set up one’s life and kitchen for cooking, I would have become a proficient cook much earlier in life (and might have avoided that long phase of obesity that I just worked my way out of).
This book reminds me of an older cookbook I glanced through years ago at the library. I’m not going to come up with a title now, but it was all about how to shop and eat economically. It also had a grocery list but had strict instructions for only buying items in bulk, even produce, and there were certain items that you weren’t “allowed” to buy except on sale. It struck me as being dollar-friendly, but time-intense. The Stocked Kitchen is a much more doable system for families that are busy as well as budget-conscious.
The Stocked Kitchen claims that this method can accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences by purchasing low-fat, sugar-free, or other specialty versions of the items on the list. For most Americans, eating from this list would be a vast improvement in their diets over their current eating habits, with or without special versions of some items. However, this concept will only stretch so far. My veggie-centric eating style and my husband’s red meat allergy limit the usefulness of this cookbook for us. Vegetarians would find little of interest here, as is evident in the introduction on page 6:
In fact, the most “planning” we do for meals is thawing some meat and then choosing a recipe to cook it with, late in the afternoon.
This is not the most attractive cookbook you have ever seen, but the recipes have clean layouts with good white space and useful sidebars. There are two color photo sections displaying a selection of the recipes. The Stocked Kitchen is not meant to be a coffee table book. It’s the kind of cookbook that is designed to be littered with post-it notes and stained with tomato sauce. This is the cookbook you use, not the one you look at.
This book finally motivated me to make a master grocery list for myself. In the summer, my master list doesn’t need to be very long since most of what we eat comes from the farmers market, CSA box, or Whole Foods. That makes it even more annoying, however, when I’m not stocked up and have to make a trip to the grocery store for the one or two things I missed. It took me less than 30 minutes to make a first draft of the list, and most of that was fiddling around in Power Point so I could print four lists per page and cut them up to the quarter-page scrap paper sheets that we’re used to using. I have a feeling that I’m going to wish that I had done this long ago.
Appeal: This is the perfect cookbook for a busy, budget-conscious family looking for a system and some skills to move them away from convenience foods, fast foods, and restaurants. With this system, those families will eat healthier, live greener, and save more money. Here’s a friendly video of the authors talking about The Stocked Kitchen.