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Jessica Battilana’s ‘Repertoire’ Is a Cookbook for the Rest of Us

Weeknight kitchen warriors, rejoice. 

“I just don’t have the time I used to spend dreaming up dinner,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jessica Battilana writes in the opening pages of her new cookbook, Repertoire. That’s the lament of many enthusiastic home cooks who, like the author, have graduated from elaborate bachelor pad feasts to the working parent’s life of cranky kids and nonexistent prep time. There must be 4,000 existing cookbooks dedicated to this precise challenge, but Battilana’s intuitive approach makes a valuable addition to that canon. Like musicians who have a repertoire of pieces they can play at the drop of a hat, Battilana argues, so too should busy home cooks master an arsenal of flexible recipes they can cook even while half asleep.

Released this month by Little, Brown and Company, Repertoire is a collection of the author’s own tried-and-true recipes, and they offer convincing evidence that a simplified approach doesn’t mean uninspired cooking—not when you’re preparing scratch-made harissa that’ll keep in your freezer for months, or gorgeous plates of roasted carrots crowned with burrata, or a “cheater’s” Spanish tortilla that gets finished under the broiler so you don’t make a mess trying to flip it. The best of these recipes all have some smart twist like that—so obviously rewarding, you wonder why you haven’t been singing the song that way all along.

Originally published in the April issue of San Francisco 

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