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Make A Hot Mess In Your Kitchen With This New Cookbook


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Make A Hot Mess In Your Kitchen With This New Cookbook

Given their joint background in food and comedy, Miranda Berman (L) and Gabi Moskowitz's (R) new cookbook is a recipe for success. Courtesy of Frankie Frankeny/Grand Central Publishing

Meet the millennial duo behind this hilarious new cookbook for wannabe-chefs.

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When it comes to millennials and food what often comes to mind is avocado toast, overpriced smoothies and Seamless. But luckily, Gabi Moskowitz and Miranda Berman are here to break that stereotype one heaped-tablespoon at a time with their debut cookbook, “Hot Mess Kitchen: Recipes For Your Delicious, Disastrous Life” (Hachette Book Group) which hits bookstores today.

The Jewish duo have a joint background in food and comedy—Berman is a writer on Hulu’s “The Mindy Project” and Moskowitz is the popular food blogger behind “Broke-Ass Gourmet.” The cookbook is a perfect hybrid showing off their comedy-chops (ah, see what we did there!) while offering practical tips for new chefs.

Even if you’re not in it for the cooking (or admit it, Instagram-shots!), the foreword by Mindy Kaling and humor sprinkled throughout make for a great stand-alone read. Aptly named recipes like, “F*** It, Let’s Just Get Stoned Nachos,” and “Smug Superiority Smoothie Bowl” are interspersed with candid anecdotes and practical advice like “How To Throw A Fabulous Dinner Party Without Having An Anxiety Attack.”

The authors spoke with us about how they met, (spoiler: through an app) combatting the feeling of being a fraud in the kitchen, and why they’re nervous for their grandparents to read the book.

How do you both know each other? How did you come up with the idea for Hot Mess Kitchen?

Gabi and Miranda: We met on our mutual friend, BJ Novak’s app Listapp (now A few years ago it was in beta testing form and there was a very small community on it. Maybe like 50 people. We all started to know each other fairly intimately, even by today’s internet standards. Gabi often posted recipes as lists. Miranda started requesting funny recipe titles from Gabi. The first one was “Easiest Home Cooked Meal to Trick Someone into Falling in Love with You.” The recipes blew up on and then we started chatting. As we were going through those first list app recipes, we noticed a "Hot Mess" theme and as we started expanding on it, we thought of the idea for the book, and also became close friends.

What was it like working with each other?

Gabi: We’re very different, but the more we worked together, the more we found that our personalities and our writing voices are extremely complementary. I’m the structure and recipe person, who skews a little earnest, whereas Miranda has an excellent knack for storytelling and figuring out where something can be funnier. No matter how many times I re-read her stories, I laughed out loud.

Which is your favorite recipe in the book and why?

Gabi: I love the "Basically Carbless (Not That We Care) Cauliflower Crust Pizza." I make it at home regularly, and it took me so long to perfect.

Miranda: I love the chicken legs! They’re super easy and delicious. Great to eat on your own, or to cook and impress a date. They, also, feel French to me for some reason. When I eat them, I pretend I am in France for the night.

Do you have any advice for millennials who are intimidated to start cooking?

Miranda: Yes. Buy our book. Also, just do it. I think a lot of millennials are afraid to start cooking because it almost seems unnecessary today to do so. Getting in the kitchen is viewed as being inconvenient. It’s not. Once you learn a skill or two, you see it’s actually more convenient to cook than it is to scour around your neighborhood looking for cheap take out.

Did you face any challenges when working on Hot Mess Kitchen?

Miranda: Well, I got into cooking only a little bit before we came up with the idea for this book. A big challenge for me was not feeling like a fraud while writing it. I tried to hone my skills to make sure I knew how to do what I was preaching. I did every recipe from the book like ten times (Julie and Julia style). Now I feel confident.  A larger challenge was that Gabi lives in San Francisco and I live in Los Angeles, so we had to talk on the phone a lot. I had to learn how to use the phone. I only knew how to text before.

Gabi, You’ve written a few cookbooks before. How was working on Hot Mess Kitchen different for you?

Gabi: Hot Mess Kitchen is by far my most personal book. I tell stories about my life that I have never told before, not even on my blog. It was a little scary, but also really liberating to just be really honest. This was also the most elaborate photo shoot I’ve ever done for a cookbook. We worked for over a month exclusively on the photoshoot.

How did Mindy Kaling become involved? What was it like working with her on this project?

Miranda: Mindy has been my boss for the past five years, since I moved out to LA.  When I told her about the project, she seemed really excited about it and so I asked her to do the forward. I wasn’t sure she’d say yes, but I was thrilled when she did! It meant a lot to me. And her voice lends itself perfectly to our demographic and so it was real gift!

How do you think the project relates to your Judaism?

Gabi: I have always thought of food as a portal into Jewish culture, and though our recipes aren’t necessarily Jewish in nature, the skills we focus on, especially in the entertaining chapter, are a great toolkit for a young Jewish person who might be hosting her first Shabbat or maybe Rosh Hashanah meal. I mean, what’s more Jewish than feeding people?

You both are really candid throughout the book- how do you feel about sharing your stories with family, friends and the general public?

Gabi: It was a little scary but ultimately really fun for me to be so open in this book. That said, I sincerely hope my grandparents don’t read it.

Miranda: I’m thrilled to share stories with the general public since I don’t know them, as for friends and family: I pretend they’ll never [read] it. Honestly, I tried not to think about it that much as I was writing it. I just wanted to make the book relatable and fun, and as honest as possible. And I’ve flagged certain stories so my dad can’t read them. He’s going to anyway. Ughhh, dad!

Basically Carbless (Not That We Care) Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Fried Brain Fried Rice

I’m a Fraud French Toast

Hot Mess Kitchen” is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. This interview has been edited for content and length.

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