Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen

Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion
Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion. Rodale, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-60961-355-6
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
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With this collection of foolproof recipes, Brennan and Campion, accomplished food magazine editors (Saveur, Gourmet) and home cooks with hungry families, present 125 recipes as solutions to the perennial “dinner dilemma,” answering the question of how best to manage modern mealtime. Despite a plethora of culinary information via Internet, TV, and magazines, home cooks, they note, need a file of go-to, sensible recipes that are satisfying and nourishing as well as free of anxiety and repetition. “Keepers” are reliable and efficient recipes that make for happy confident cooks and avoid wasted time or guilt about less-than-adequate meals. The authors offer reassurance, weekly planning ideas, and guiding principles to help get evening meals on the table. With sample menu calendars, indispensable pantry staples, kitchen tools, and “lifesavers” (make-ahead condiments), cooks can select from categories of dishes reflecting the dining habits of today’s family and life stages: Extra-Fast; Staggered Dinner Times; One-Pot Dishes; Vegetarian; Kid Popular; Couples Without Kids; and Families with Young/Older Kids. Quick-cooking chicken sauté with options for garlic cream, lemon-rosemary, or tomato fondue sauces; the kid-favorite fish fingers with tangy lime dipping sauce; and a black bean and butternut squash enchilada for Meatless Mondays can all be prepared in 45 minutes. A basic salad recipe becomes a canvas for five variations. As cheerleaders for the weeknight meal, the authors promise recipes so good and tedium-free that even busy home cooks will want to make them—a sign that they are true “keepers.” (Aug.)
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