Review and Giveaway: Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen

I've spent more than my share of time in the kitchen, particularly over the past few years. Along the way, I've learned a thing or ten, tips and techniques that I've uncovered either by trial and error or by working with others with greater savvy than I. Being at ease in the kitchen is a skill that comes with time; none of us is born with the knowledge. 

But you can shortcut your way to being a kitchen ninja, thanks to Kate Payne. Kate first came to our collective rescue with The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, where she taught us all how to keep a happy, healthy home, with bonus sanity-saving tips on things like how to fold a fitted sheet. (My previous method involved rolling it up in a wad and cramming it in the closet.) 

I first met Kate when she and her wife, the talented photog JoAnn Santangelo, came to the Bay Area to promote that book. At Blue Chair Fruit, we had a not-your-grandmother's tea party with finger sandwiches, scones ... and homemade tea liqueur courtesy of yours truly. 

Since then, Kate and I have maintained a friendship, and last year she and I did a panel at BlogHer Food 13 with Sarah Tetreault on how to maximize yield of your food through a variety of preservation techniques

This is the sort of thing Kate does best -- frugality through common sense methods. And with her new book, The Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen,  she applies the same clarity to the most important room in the house.

The book is chockablock with sensible information on making the kitchen an efficient and functional place. While there are recipes in it (including my husband's American white bread recipe), it's not really a cookbook. Rather, as Kate says, it's more like a kitchen friend, like having someone over who just happens to know the right thing to do in every occasion.

From the basics of setting up a kitchen for maximum practicality to establishing your perfect pantry, like making smart decisions in buying packaged versus bulk and the proper way to store herbs and spices, this book is ideal both for the first-time kitchen denizen (think college students and other fledgelings) to even establish cooks who want to up their game or are moving into a new space and building a kitchen from scratch. 

Though the book is packed with brass-tacks news you can use, it's important to note that the tone is far from dry. As with her first book, Kate's chirpy, flirty voice permeates the book, making even plaintive information fun to read. By way of example, the section on feeding yourself with your magnificently stocked and organized kitchen is titled, "Kitchen Kick-Ass: Tapping Into Your Depression-Era Granny." Kate manages to be hip without being hipster.

As with her first book, this one will live in a special section in my bookshelf. Otherwise laden with cookbooks that I pull out once in a great moon, this belongs in the canon of cooking reference books, a mini encyclopedia, if you will, that is worthy of perusing again and again. 

Wanna win a copy? Simple. Just leave a comment on this post, letting us know what kitchen technique do you want to learn. Alternatively, click here to tweet about this giveaway, and be sure to log the URL of your tweet in the Rafflecopter widget below. You have until midnight Friday, May 30, so hop to it. 

Want even more options? Head over to Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen's landing page for the virtual book tour, and enter to win even more copies. While you're at it, poke around and look at the other posts about the site. See why we all heart Kate. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the trailer for the book: 

I wanted to re-write this

I wanted to re-write this story on my site, but before I ask for permission

You don't need to ask

You don't need to ask permission to write your own review of the book with your own opinions. You cannot, however, duplicate it exactly. Thanks.

Meal Planning

I'd love ideas/help with meal planning especially when the family isn't always eating at the same time. Thanks!

Need help with organization.

Need help with organization.


Is key in my small and awfully laid-out kitchen! I could really use some helpful hints.

love to cook & entertain

I love to cook & entertain. I have been cooking since a very young age, but want to learn new techniques for everyday cooking. This book looks very interesting, I'd love to have a copy!

Fermenting and canning :)

Fermenting and canning :)

Ooooo Lovely!

I so need some organization help in the kitchen... i hate finding that i've left something i probably needed in the back of the cupboard just because i couldn't find it!

I'd like to learn how to

I'd like to learn how to organize my kitchen better, and I would also like some bread making tips since my attempts have been mediocre.


I have so many things I'd like to learn! I'd really like to learn to make cheese, pretzels, and my overall culinary goal is to make a mean lemon meringue pie (why is meringue so difficult?!).

Cheese..I really want to move

Cheese..I really want to move beyond yogurt. At least, with the soft cheeses!

kitchen reno

just starting the planning process of remodeling the kitchen of my 1927 home (how did people cook in these tiny kitchens??) and would love to get tips on maximizing efficiency

I'd love to get over my fear

I'd love to get over my fear of pressure canning in order to preserve my garden for winter usage, as well as share with my daughters how to set up their kitchens as they move into their new homes.

I want to learn how to build

I want to learn how to build a great pantry! Yay!

Organizing my kitchen

Organizing my kitchen

I want to make jams and

I want to make jams and pickles properly

I want to learn...

...about kitchen organization! I have such a small kitchen and so many things to cram into it. I need all the help I can get.

Would like to

finally get comfortable fermenting at home!


id love to learn how to make sauces, like my own condiments


I'm Interested in learning bread baking.


I want to get down emulsions once and for all. I want to make my own mayo, but it never quite comes out right.

Everything leads back to Punk Domestics

It is so strange how often I hit a link and wind up at your website...thank you for all of the info I have gleaned from your blog!

efficiency and practicality

I want to can more and be better at pantry organizing. And I just love her style:)

I would love to have a more

I would love to have a more organized kitchen!

Whew, I can always use help

I'm pretty frugal, but always open to tips on general planning and organization!

Organization and Storage

I'm interested in learning to better organize and store my foods. I know I have everything but I forget about foods and end up throwing a lot away.

I'd like to improve my

I'd like to improve my ability to better utilize what I have on hand and not lose overstocked items to spoilage.

Organization -- especially

Organization -- especially pantry!

I feel like I can do anything

I feel like I can do anything in the kitchen, but I know I don't always go about it in the most frugal or efficient ways. I want to learn to save time and $ this year!

I'd love to learn better

I'd love to learn better chopping technique.

I'd love some tips for

I'd love some tips for "setting up a kitchen for maximum practicality."

I want to learn other ways to

I want to learn other ways to preserve my abundance of summer time veggies other then canning. I can't wait to jump into this book and would love to win a copy!

Pressure canning, definitely!

Pressure canning, definitely! I already use my water bath canner all the time, but haven't tackled pressure. Thanks!

Fermenting, for sure!

Fermenting, for sure!

I want to learn more about

I want to learn more about preserving food, as though I cook all the time, preserving still seems a little overwhelming!

I need to become much better

I need to become much better at blanching and freezing vegetables!

I'm dying to learn how to

I'm dying to learn how to properly prep and cook artichokes. This year is the year!

This book looks awesome! I

This book looks awesome! I just moved into a new place and would love to check out tips on stocking/utilizing my pantry! I'd also love tips on frugality in the kitchen, I love to cook but often get carried away and end up eating precious resources! Can't wait to check out the book!

I'm all for anything that

I'm all for anything that helps me organize my kitchen better. Also, wouldn't mind finally learning how to use a (kitchen) blowtorch.

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