Book Review: The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins

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Book: The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins
Genre: cookbook
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 2011
Pages: 323

Source: Unsolicited copy received from the publisher

cover of The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio and Stacey KrastinsSummary: 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.

Foodies Reading Challenge graphicChallenges: Another cookbook for the Foodie’s Reading Challenge. Check out the Weekend Cooking post at Beth Fish Reads for other bloggers writing about food this weekend.

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About Joy Weese Moll

a librarian writing about books
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9 Responses to Book Review: The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins

  1. Margot says:

    Making a Master List was one of those things I always meant to do. Then one day I simply started it. Within a week I had exactly what I wanted. I’ve used it for many years now and it’s a wonderful tool. It changed to way I shop and the way I cook.

  2. Sounds like it has good potential, but I know I could never stick to a list!

  3. TheBookGirl says:

    I always start out with good intentions, making a list, and bringing it to the store, but I invariably come home with many more things that are not on the list. Not sure this book would work for me (vegetarian).

  4. Pat says:

    After cooking for a family for 30+ years I think I wouldn’t have much need for this type of cookbook as my larder is fully stocked with all the essentials and I’m pretty good at picking up anything I need for a recipe in my weekly shopping trip. It does sound li
    ke a wonderful book for a young person just starting out or newlyweds.
    I’m a first time joiner of Beth’s event … nice to meet you!

  5. Marg says:

    This sounds like a really good book to give to someone moving out of home.

  6. Patti Smith says:

    I’d like to take a look at this cookbook…I can always use more help with planning. I wish it had more pictures though.

  7. Kate says:

    I’ve never much tried a “master list” grocery shop, but learned years ago that when I try to have things on hand, I forget that I have them and then they go to waste! However, I’ve always been lucky in that I’m a quick walk or bike ride from the store, and popping over for the milk or bread or potato or whatever I don’t have has been easy for me. But I can see this book would be so very useful for someone like my sister…I’ll send her a link!

  8. Beth F says:

    THis sounds like a great idea — especially for the summer when I am always forgetting to get the OJ or other grocery store items because, like you, most of our food is coming from our CSA and farmers market.

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