Salt + Spine
Salt & Spine
Deb Perelman on building Smitten Kitchen and what makes a "keeper" recipe

Deb Perelman on building Smitten Kitchen and what makes a "keeper" recipe

Plus, warming ginger-garlic chicken noodle soup and a boatload of new cookbook releases. Tis the season, for both!

Hi there, happy Thursday! We’ve got a great chat with Smitten Kitchen herself (aka Deb Perelman) this week, so let’s cut right to it:

Episode 161: Deb Perelman

Photo: Christine Han

In this week’s episode,

of and I discuss:

  • Her initial foray into blogging—from her short stint chronicling her dating life in New York City and shifting the focus to cooking;

  • How she approaches cookbook writing, from her initial reluctance to write a cookbook to what makes “keeper recipes;”

  • Where she finds inspiration, including which cookbooks she turns to.

Plus, as always, we put Deb to the test in our signature culinary game.

Hey there, do you love Salt + Spine? We’d love if you shared this email with a friend who might want to #TalkCookbooks with us, too:


Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics For Your Forever Files by Deb Perelman

In her third book, Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, Deb Perelman gives us 100 recipes (including a few favorites from her site) that aim to make shopping easier, preparation more practical and enjoyable, and food more reliably delicious for the home cook.

What's a keeper?

  • a full-crunch cucumber salad you'll want to make over and over again for lunch

  • a tomato and corn cobbler that tastes like summer sunshine

  • an epic deep-dish broccoli cheddar quiche that even quiche skeptics love

  • a slow-roasted chicken on a bed of unapologetically schmaltzy croutons

  • a butterscotched apple crisp that will ruin you for all others

  • perfect spaghetti and meatballs, better than ever

  • Deb's ultimate pound cake, one to redeem all the sleepy ones you've eaten over the years

These are the fail-safe, satisfying recipes you'll rely on for years to come--from Perelman's forever files to yours.

We 💚 local bookstores. Pick up your copy of Smitten Kitchen Keepers here:


This week, paid subscribers will receive a recipe for Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup, the first recipe she worked on for this book and “the definition of a keeper.”

Salt + Spine is supported by listeners like you. For this week’s recipe—plus exclusive content and hundreds of other featured recipes—become a paid subscriber today.

New Cookbook Releases*

*from this week and last week, as we’re behind! 😊

Salt + Spine
Salt & Spine
We tell the compelling stories behind cookbooks you won't get anywhere else. Featuring interviews with leading authors, we explore the art and craft of cookbooks, looking at both new and vintage cookbooks and the inspirations behind them … the compelling people who create them … and their impact on home cooks and the culinary world.