My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart

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Hannah Hart’s My Drunk Kitchen is a new twist on an old genre: it’s a cookbook, but really the focus is less on making food and more on bolstering self-esteem and inspiring readers to do great things, much like Hannah’s YouTube show.

For the uninitiated, Hannah has been making us all feel better about ourselves and laugh at her shenanigans for over four years with the original My Drunk Kitchen (MDK). See for yourself how Hannah expertly juggles both making a delicious gazpacho while discussing gender roles.

Like her show, Hannah’s book balances good food and good fun to make one feel-good cookbook. She includes recipes like Layzagna, Encurrygement Curry, Tear…Ah Miss You, and Enmeshed Potatoes (did I mention she’s really into puns and wordplay? Because she is and it’s delightful).

Each recipe begins with an oftentimes inspirational quote from someone famous, like Rumi, Epictetus, and Mary Shelley. Except the recipe for Compound Butters on page 25. That one begins with Hannah quoting herself raving about how good Orange Is the New Black is (I mean, she isn’t wrong).

Then Hannah lists the recipe for making the dish du jour, often interrupting herself to go on a humorous tangent or to give general advice. In her Guaca-Hole-y recipe on page 118, she begins her instructions by justifying why you would want to make the dish in the first place: “And right now you don’t want to take the time to dice some onions and let them soak for ten minutes in fresh-squeezed lime juice as the base. That’s my trick. Shh. Don’t tell anybody. Now you know though. But that’s okay, because I trust you. We trust each other.”

After the instructions, Hannah ends each recipe with a Life Lesson that ranges from the absurd–“Always have tiny plastic spoons” (Latke Shotkes, 17-18)–to the silly but uplifting –“You might not be at the standard of living that you aspire to achieve. But be patient. And sometimes eat some comfort food that you’ve sliced into a sushi shape” (Crunchy Roll, 71-73)–to the genuinely inspirational–“Trust me. You look good. Try to focus on the things that you do have instead of obsessing over the things you don’t” (Sloppy Jane, 92-93).

If you are looking for a guide to eating, drinking & going with your gut, Hannah Hart’s My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking & Going with Your Gut is your next book. I blasted through this thing in an afternoon because it was just so hilarious I couldn’t put it down, but it’s also good for a slow read. And I mean, it actually is a cookbook, so you can make real food with it. It’s both a culinary learning experience and a life learning experience. And you will laugh. Mostly at Hannah, but sometimes even at yourself.

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