Tag Archives | Kate Payne

Cookbooks: The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen


I first met Kate Payne in early 2010. She was living in Brooklyn at the time and was making a day trip down to Philly to explore a little and see what delicious things the city had to offer. We met up for drinks and dinner and spent a solid three hours talking non-stop. It was one of those instant friendships, where you go from being strangers to being friends, without any intermediate stops along the way.

HGGTK spine

In the years since, I’ve helped to lead a canning workshop in Kate’s kitchen and hosted a book party potluck for her when she was traveling around the country and sharing tips and tricks from her first book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. She and her wife put me up when I was in Austin a couple years back, waiting for my sister to give birth to Emmett and served me a scrumptious meal when I was in town back in January.

equip your ship

Today is the release day of Kate’s new book, called The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen: A Hit-the-Ground Running Approach to Stocking Up and Cooking Delicious, Nutritious, and Affordable Meals. It is a sturdy paperback that is bursting with everything you need to know to rock the most important room in your house.

knife honing

Though I call it a cookbook up in the subject line, this volume isn’t really a cookbook as we traditionally see them. There are plenty of recipes, to be sure, but the bulk of the book focuses on skills, techniques, and helping you build out your knowledge so that you can become a culinary problem solver. When you think about it, that ends up making it far more useful than any one cookbook could ever be.

pantry staples

The book is divided into three equally important sections. Part one is called Stocking Up and contains everything you need to know about cookware, pantry staples, maintenance of your tools, how long things last, how to store everything, and even details about the labeling you’ll most often find at the grocery store (conventional, organic, and GMO free, to name a few.

feeding others

Part two is called Feeding Yourself and digs into the nuts and bolts of how to make good, approachable, and affordable food, day after day after day. You’ll learn the basics (homemade vinaigrette! mayonnaise! soup from scraps!), some simple substitutions for when you’re out of eggs, buttermilk, or sugar, and some very useful tricks for baking up a wide array of muffins, cookies, and breads with what you have in the pantry. I promise, you will return to this section again and again.

hip tricks

The final portion of the book is called Feeding Others. It’s in this section that you’ll find information on canning and preserving (because we do that as much for our friends and family as we do for ourselves).

There’s also some really great laundry lists in this section that are simply titled, “Things to do with…” She digs into vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs, herbs and spices, and more. It’s a ridiculously useful resource for those moments when you’re staring at the bundle of oregano that came in your CSA share and wondering how you’re ever going to make the most of it.

HGGTK back

From the time I was very young, I had a deep interest in food and cooking. Because of that, I paid a great deal of attention to my mom as she grocery shopped, packed lunches, and cooked dinner.I thought I knew everything I needed when I finally acquired my own kitchen, but I quickly realized that there were a number of details upon which I was a little fuzzy. Through trial, error, and lots of phone calls home, I was able to fill in the gaps. However, had Kate’s new book with me in the kitchen, things would have been a whole heck of a lot easier.

My bottom line? Whether you’re an experienced home cook or someone just starting to get to know your stove, you should have a copy of this book within easy reach of your kitchen.

For more stops on Kate’s online book tour, visit the following blogs:

May 21 – Healthy Green Kitchen
May 22 – Local Kitchen
May 23 – Autumn Makes and Does
May 27 – Punk Domestics
May 28 – Spinach Tiger
May 29 – Local Savour
May 30 – Love and Lemons
June 2 – Kitchen Ecosystem

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A Preserves Tasting and Swap in Austin

at our food blogging workshop

I’ve been to Austin, TX twice in my life. The first visit was in the fall of 2001, when at the last minute a friend begged me to step in and run a childcare program at a conference she was coordinating (oddly enough, running pop-up childcare programs was something I did a lot during my college years). I spent most of that visit trapped in an anonymous hotel room, planning my move to Philadelphia while mediating fights and leading craft projects.

My next trip was for SXSW Interactive in 2009. This website was all of two weeks old and I was still trying to figure out what I wanted it to be. I was at the conference for my day job and spent most of my time in sessions and hanging out with friends Roz and Val. My sister was living in Austin at the time, but was on the road while I was there.

This time, I’m going to Austin with the hopes that I’ve timed things right to be at the birth of my first nephew (highly unscientific though these things are). I’ll be in town for ten days and in addition to hanging out with Raina and her fiance Drew, I’m excited to eat lots of tacos, visit the Whole Foods flagship store and meet some of you nice folks.

You see, Kate Payne and Stephanie McClenny are organizing a little preserves tasting and swap on November 1 from 7-9 pm. If that’s your neck of the woods, you should come. The event is free, we just ask that you either bring a drink to share or a bit of cash to add to the fund, as well as a preserve or homemade snack to add to the tasting table. Should you want to bring a few (no more than five) jars to swap, that is welcome too. Click here to sign up, as space is limited! Hope to see some of you there!

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Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking Reading + Giveaway

Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

Because I write about food and my many acts of preservation, people often assume that I’m also an expert in a variety of home-based arts. And while it’s true that my kitchen comfort is bone deep, when it comes to gardening, laundry and acts of home improvement, my skills are basic at best.

Happily, I now have in my possession a book that I think is going to change all that. Written by the delightfully ebullient Kate Payne, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking answers my every homekeeping question and offers up a wealth of useful tips as well. I particularly love her suggestion to dab a bit of vanilla extract on a bit cotton ball and then vacuum it up for sweet smelling rooms. I’m doing that tomorrow (my 25-year-old carpets need all the help they can get).

Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

For you canning enthusiasts out there, you’ll be happy to learn that there’s an entire chapter of the book devoted to food preservation. Kate includes information on canning, freezing and ensuring that the food you’re storing (whether we’re talking short-term leftover storage or longer-term preservation) will be safe for you and your family to eat. There are a few really wonderful recipes tucked into this section as well. As soon as I get a hold of some rhubarb, I’m making the Rhubarb Hibiscus Vanilla Preserves on page 228.

Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

If this description has you interested in this book, well, you’re in luck as I have a copy to give away. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post and include your favorite household tip. The giveaway will close on Wednesday, April 27 at 11:59 pm. One entry per person please!

Also, if you’re in the Philadelphia area, make sure to head out to the University of Pennsylvania bookstore this Wednesday night at 6 pm, where Kate will be answering questions and signing books.

Disclosure: The book you see here is a free review copy furnished by the publisher (they’re also providing the copy I’m giving away). What’s more, Kate Payne is a friend of mine and I’m hosting a potluck meet’n’greet for her on Tuesday, April 26. However, despite the freebie and the friendship, my opinions are still my own and are expressed honestly.

A Potluck with Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking Author Kate Payne

I have something quite fun to announce. On Tuesday, April 26, I will be hosting a potluck for The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne as she swings through Philadelphia on her East Coast book tour. If you’ve always wanted to meet Kate (or you just want to check out my tiny kitchen), this is your chance. My apartment isn’t huge, so we’ve limited attendance to 25. If you want to attend, plug your information into the form below. If you’ve got questions, leave a comment.

If you can’t make the potluck, don’t fret. Kate will also be appearing at the University of Pennsylvania book store the following evening (April 27).

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