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“Lidey subscribes to the same theory of home cooking that I do. We all want recipes that have ingredients you can buy in almost any grocery store, recipes that are easy enough to make without breaking a sweat that will be delicious and satisfying for either an ordinary weekday dinner or for a special occasion.” —Ina Garten, from the Foreword
From the rising star who learned to cook when she worked for Ina Garten and inherited the Barefoot Contessa’s intuition for what people want to cook, 100 recipes that are cook-pleasing and crowd-pleasing and written with the shopper, chopper, and dish-doer in mind.
As any Ina Garten fan will attest, Lidey Heuck landed the most plum after-college job—working for Ina in her East Hampton kitchen. There, she learned how to develop recipes that work every time and how to put together dishes that are at once special and unfussy.
Cooking in Real Life represents the golden middle ground that new and experienced home cooks crave: recipes that are inventive but not overly complicated, that use familiar ingredients but encourage us to do things a little bit differently. They are designed to be low-effort, practical, and high-reward. Lidey combines straight-forward delicious cooking with innovative, vegetable-forward recipes, inspired by bold flavors from near and far. Chapters and recipes include the following:
Busy, fuss-free weeknights: Salmon with Honey and Chili Crunch, Cider-Glazed Sausages with Apples and Fennel, Saucy Shrimp alla Vodka. Plus, dozens of ideas for turning single recipes into one complete meal (Think: adding some sauteed shrimp to Shaved Carrot Salad with Ginger Tahini Dressing).
Flexible, seasonally-inspired recipes with easy-to-find ingredients: Maple-Roasted Squash with Grapes and Shallots, Escarole with Cara Cara Oranges, Spicy Paloma Punch.
Celebratory dishes for occasions that call for something extra special: Short Ribs with Port, Shallots, and Cranberries; Champagne Chicken; and Rainbow Sprinkle Ice Cream Cake.
Throughout, Lidey includes swaps, make-ahead hacks, and tips for making leftovers into something new. Cooking in Real Life meets you where you are—whether you’re here for the practical tips or the endless possibilities.
About the Author
Lidey Heuck contributes to The New York Times Cooking. Days after graduating from college, she went to work for Ina Garten, where she managed the Barefoot Contessa’s social media, tested recipes, and helped with anything needed to keep Ina’s kitchen and cookbook business running. Lidey has appeared in episodes of Barefoot Contessa and on Magnolia Network’s The Lost Kitchen with Erin French, for whom she interned in Maine. Lidey has been featured in Food & Wine, Food Network Magazine, Apartment Therapy, Food52, Delish, and The Kitchn. She recently moved from Brooklyn to the Hudson Valley, where she lives with her husband.
“Lidey is straight-up spoiling us with this book. Smart and unfussy, Cooking In Real Life is loaded with everyday recipes that are deliciously repeat-worthy, filled with clever, heartfelt twists, and everything I want to eat at all the time.”
— Erin French, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Lost Kitchen and Finding Freedom
"As a longtime super fan of Lidey’s recipes I am so excited to add Cooking In Real Life to my cookbook collection. These dishes strike the ideal balance between maximum flavor and approachability, or as Lidey puts it, they are 'deliciously doable.' I know this book is going to be covered with the kinds of stains and splatters that are the signs of a well-loved cookbook."
— Molly Yeh, Author of Home is Where the Eggs Are
“If anyone knows how to teach and inspire the home cook, it’s Lidey. She has learned from the best, understands the demands on our time, so can get us in and out of the kitchen, smiling and victorious every time.”
— Odette Williams, Author of Simple Pasta
“Lidey's cookbook is an absolute treasure! She gives us fantastic spins on classic dishes and also whips up deliciously unexpected recipes (I'm looking at you, spaghetti with sweet corn pesto). Her knack for anticipating questions and providing answers before they even arise makes the book especially practical for everyday cooks. I can't wait to dog-ear and cook from this book!”
— Jennifer Segal, Author of Once Upon a Chef
“Lidey spent her childhood similar to me: Sunday dinners with her entire family, carefully observing her grandparents create delicious feasts with ease, and with plenty of love and laughter. I think this sets up one for a lifetime of joyful learning, cooking, and entertaining in the kitchen and beyond. Lucky for us, Lidey shares everything she knows in her gorgeous cookbook. This book is so comfortable, so lived in, and so confidently laid back that it can ONLY be described as Cooking In Real Life.”
— Dan Pelosi, Author of Let's Eat
“The recipes in Cooking in Real Life are innovative and imaginative, but they still manage to be straightforward and low-effort—always keeping the cook in mind.”