Book Review: Gourmet on a Hot Plate by Judy Alter

Judy Alter
Genre: Cookbook / Cooking Tips / Tiny Kitchen Publisher: Alter Ego Press Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 132
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Gourmet on a Hot Plate is a collection of recipes and kitchen tips compiled after living for some time in a 600-square-foot cottage, with a tiny kitchen, no stove, no dishwasher, and barely any counter space. Given these limitations, Judy Alter developed a new approach to food, one that let her get in touch with the food itself. She does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, or a microwave. Her recipes call for using either a magnetic induction hot plate or a toaster oven. In the introduction, she explains her choices for making the best use of her tiny space. 
The collection begins with appetizers because that’s where Alter began her new cooking adventure. Gradually she branched out to main dishes, light suppers, soups and salads, and vegetable side dishes. Most recipes serve two or three. There’s a suggested list of cooking tools along with lists of what to keep on hand in your tiny pantry, your refrigerator, and your freezer, and a small section on condiments and cooking hints.
These pages will guide you to making your own spaghetti sauce—or brightening up a jar of prepared sauce—to making last-minute casseroles and simmer-all-day soups. Want Stroganoff but can’t afford the expensive beef? Alter shows you how to make it with hamburger. Love tuna? She’s got recipes for you. Sections on pasta, eggs, and appetizer trays offer practical and helpful choices for casual entertaining.
Above all, this is a practical guide for cooking with joy when you find yourself in a tiny space.

Love cooking? Love the minimalist lifestyle? Your tiny kitchen doesn’t need to limit your gourmet dreams. Judy Alter’s Gourmet On a Hot Plate will inspire you with big ideas to satisfy everyone around the table. — Susan Wittig Albert, author of Queen Anne’s Lace Whether you cook on a hot plate or have access to a full kitchen, this gem of a cookbook contains great recipes for those of us who cook for one. – T.R. Thompson

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Without formal culinary training, Judy Alter has cooked her way through life, feeding family and friends at everything from casual dinners al fresco to elaborate meals for twenty. An award-winning author and publisher, she jokes she’ll come back in another life as a chef.
Today Alter finds herself cooking in a four-by-six kitchen where zoning laws forbid built-ins but allow anything that plugs in. So she cooks with a hot plate, toaster oven, and a large refrigerator/freezer. Given these limitations, she has developed a new approach to food, one that she says lets her get in touch with the food itself. By choice, she does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, a microwave. Her menu choices are dictated by her cooking facilities—and she loves it.
She shares her tiny kitchen tips and recipes, developed over the past couple of years, in Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Alter is the author of three previous cookbooks: Cooking My Way through Life with Kids and Books, Texas is Chili Country, and Extraordinary Texas Chefs,and a contributor to Bake, Love, Write and We’d Rather Be Writing. Her recipe for Doris’ Casserole has been included in so many books it’s almost an American classic by now.
Be part of her ongoing cooking adventure at the Gourmet on a Hot Plate blog, where she encourages discussion and welcomes recipes, comments, and questions.
 ║Website ║ Facebook Judy's Stew Blog  ║ Twitter Goodreads Amazon Author Page  Gourmet on a Hot Plate Blog

"I regularly burned things, even in the toaster oven, which set off the smoke alarm more than once."

This is definitely a different book than what I usually review. I actually have quite a few recipe books that I got when I moved in with my now husband. But have I actually used them? I usually just use Pinterest and Facebook recipes, but when I found out that this book was on tour I was all over it. One thing you may know about me (if you follow me on Instagram) is that I love cooking. So here's my review on the charming Gourmet on a Hot Plate!

I have to start this review off by saying how simple and minimalistic this book is. As the author states at the beginning of the book, all you need to follow the recipes are the actual food items and a hot plate and a couple of other minimalistic items.  As someone who doesn't like washing dishes, I appreciate all the dishes I don't have to wash!

Something that really stood out to me that makes this recipe book different from others is all the commentary and the back story. I so enjoyed getting to know Judy through her storytelling. Some people don't think that recipe books can be a form of storytelling, but they clearly haven't read Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Judy is great at giving little tidbits and backgrounds to her recipes and how they have evolved since she started cooking. 

This a little book that is easy to take out and look through. Some cookbooks can be really thick and a little overwhelming. You will not get that feeling with this recipe book. It's a great companion if you're going out of town, having a cooking night with friends or just want to look up something pretty quickly. 

Overall, I give Gourmet on a Hot Plate a 5 out of 5 stars. It's a charming recipe book that you can't find just anywhere. It really makes me want to keep looking at recipe books and give Pinterest a rest...for just a little bit.

"Garnishes: my mother, a fabulous cook, always told me food is half eaten with the eye."

THREE WINNERS! 2 Signed Copies, 1 eBook Copy
APRIL 24-May 4, 2019
Author Interview
Bonus Post
Scrapbook Page
Sneak Peek
Top Ten List

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  1. I am ALL about the recipes that require as few dishes as possible -- and still taste great! Thanks for the review!

  2. Amanda, thanks so much for a stunning final entry to the blog tour--and for liking my side comments throughout. I agree recipe books do not have to be precise and impersonal. Good luck with minimalist cooking!


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