Resisting trends towards fussy recipes with complicated instructions and esoteric ingredients, Deb Perelman focused her Smitten Kitchen food blog on “foolproof” recipes that incorporated feedback from online commenters. Perelman was raised on her mother’s forays into Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but she only began cooking for herself as an adult. She was working as an art therapist when she started her blog in 2003, at the beginning of the food blog trend. Cooking in a tiny New York kitchen and living on a budget, she avoided recipes with elaborate preparations or expensive ingredients. She incorporated photographs to demonstrate cooking techniques and prose digressions about why she wanted to cook each recipe, how it tasted, or what variations did or didn’t work and why (including a section on her site labeled simply “disasters”). She also interacted heavily with commenters on each post, earning a loyal following—her fourth commenter was Alex Perelman, the man who would later become her husband. Perelman’s first cookbook, Smitten Kitchen, was published in 2012, followed by Smitten Kitchen Every Day in 2017. In July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Perelman wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on the issue of childcare during quarantine. Her piece attracted thousands of views and resulted in an appearance at a virtual roundtable concerning childcare, led by Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal. Perelman, alongside a few other working mothers, spoke to her experience parenting amid the pandemic and expanded on the issues covered in her op-ed. She released a third cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers, in 2022.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Deb Perelman." (Viewed on December 2, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/perelman-deb>.