Do you know what to do if your hard boiled eggs crack during cooking? Is there a way to fix overcooked pasta so it has more of an al dente bite to it? The answers to questions like these can be found in How to Repair Food, a little volume that “tells you what to do when any kinf of food or drink is… overcooked, undercooked, stale, burned, lumpy, salty, bland, too spicy, mushy, too dry, too wet, flat tough, too thick, too thin, wilted, collapsed, curdled or stuck together.” In other words, if things go wrong in the kitchen – as they often do – this book can help you save your dish and your dinner.
The book is set up like a glossary, with foods listed in alphabetical order. Under each item, you’ll find a list of things that can go wrong with the preparation. For instance, under the listing for muffins, you’ll find the headings of “Soggy Bottoms”, “Stuck to the Muffin Pan” and “Tough,” each of which is followed by ways to remedy the problem. The book is written in a friendly and lighthearted tone that makes it sound as though you’re getting advice from a friend. It is reassuring to know that these things happen to everyone from time to time – but that they can still be fixed and you can keep on cooking in a situation where many people who just throw up their hands and give up!
Anyone who likes to cook will have fun reading through this book, even if you’re not looking to solve a kitchen problem at that moment in time. You might see a few tricks that you already use in the book, and you’ll definitely learn at least a couple of new ones. The back of the book contains several appendices with tops on how to deal with frozen and burned food, use kitchen equipment and generally maintain your kitchen. It also has a whole section devoted to fixing Thanksgiving dinner and even one “last resort” menu that you can make with ingredients you should always have in your kitchen if things really go sideways.