Easy and practical. Simple but not dumbed down. This is a cookbook for every twenty- or thirty-something you know.
Max and Eli Sussman are two young and hip chefs that are doing it right. These brothers are currently manning the kitchens at the popular Roberta’s and Mile End in Brooklyn, and now they’ve entered the cookbook market with This Is A Cookbook. We heard the digital version was the most tricked out of the “iCookbooks” on the market, so we had to get our hands on one for a test drive.
It’s clear from page one that the goal of the digital version was to really take advantage of all the interactive features the iPad offers. From improved navigation to curated playlists, the digital version is more decked out than any other digital cookbook we’ve seen.
The guys included dual navigation which let’s you easily skip to a chapter or browse page-by-page. Click on the chapter you’re looking for, then click on the recipe you’re after, and boom you’re there. Even easier than that, you can pinch the page you’re on to navigate to the contents.
Bonus features include step-by-step photo galleries, sound bites from the brothers, and pop-up back stories on many of the dishes. The features have the effect of making you feel more connected to the brothers and the recipes, and also more comfortable with getting down-and-dirty in the kitchen.
Did we mention playlists? Oh ya, they threw that in there as well. There are four curated playlists to get you in the mood while you’re cooking and get your guests in the groove when they arrive. We were loving Max’s mix, with a wide variety of old school rap and R&B to our current fav tunes like Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”.
This is a new way to make cookbooks. It’s evident from the first thing you notice – organization of the chapters. Instead of categorizing recipes by course, it’s categorized more by event. Lazy Brunch, Backyard Grub, Night In, Dinner Party, Midnight Snacks, and Sweet Stuff are the chapter titles. Given how little time most young professionals spend in the kitchen these days, we think it’s pretty apt to organize the book based on social gatherings, since that’s really the only time most young professionals spend anytime in the kitchen. The guys also slowly build the home chef up to the climax of a dinner party, starting with lower key events before a practice run with a friend or two during the Night In chapter.
The cookbook is also totally accessible. Everything was tested using two little burners, so having a small kitchen is no longer an excuse to get out of cooking. The ingredient lists are short but not dumbed-down, and the instructions are simple. The recipes are varied in cuisine but grouped in a menu-like format so it doesn’t feel disjointed. After reading the cookbook, the brothers will have you making chicken and waffles for breakfast and Korean-style short ribs for dinner. Not to mention the fact that they 1) tackled, and 2) where able to demystify the art of pasta and marshmallow making in the same relatively short book.
Nailed it. The voice of the brothers is down-to-earth and approachable. You’ll appreciate the brothers’ humor and wit throughout the cookbook, and their ability to simplify the cooking experience. You’ll feel more confident stepping into the kitchen and you’ll be able to build a repertoire of go-to recipes with the brothers’ help.