Hot Messes: The 6 Best Cookbooks for the Culinary Hopeless

hot mess kitchen
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* Beginner-friendly cookbooks for people who can’t cook
* Focuses on budget, number of ingredients and “real person” food
* Learn the basics with easy but fun dishes

Whether you’ve never stepped foot in the kitchen, or every time you do, something seems to go wrong, competent cooking can feel like an unconquerable tasks. Instead of pushing the idea of cooking an edible meal to the back of your mind, why not take some time to learn the basics? We’ve put together a selection of cookbooks for beginners, sure to help if you’re a hot mess in the kitchen.

On this list, you’ll find a book for every type of person, including one for the money conscious (allowing you to eat for less than $5 dollars daily) or a book with recipes featuring a maximum of five ingredients. Each of these cookbooks provides the basics to give you confidence in the kitchen.

1. 5 Ingredient Cookbook

All too often people are put off cooking by a long list of complicated steps and ingredients. The 5 Ingredient Cookbook remedies this problem by doing exactly what the name suggests – maxing out each recipe at five ingredients. You’ll soon learn simplicity is not a trade off for great taste. Within this “no nonsense” cookbook, you’ll find 60 delicious recipes, including fan favorites like chicken and waffle sliders, slow cooker spinach queso dip, brown sugar bacon and Southwestern scrambled eggs.

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2. Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day

It sounds unbelievable, but Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day will teach you that the key to great food in the kitchen is skill – not a high grocery bill. This book has been written with those on a budget in mind, especially those who receive the US food stamp allotment of $4 a day. You many think that such a tight budget will result in nothing more than a plate of beans, but in reality, you’ll be enjoying delights such as spicy pulled pork, vegetable jambalaya and bean ragu.

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3. The “I Don’t Know How To Cook” Book

For anyone who has ever said out loud, “I don’t know how to cook!” comes this despair answering cookbook. Stuffed with hundreds of delicious recipes designed for those who feel out of the know, this crash course in cooking will have you creating shepherd’s pie, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and stuffed green bell peppers.

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4. The Can’t Cook Book

Brought to you by a former #1 New York Times bestselling author, The Can’t Cook Book is here to tell you that if you are smart enough to send emails, drive a car and work your TV, you can cook, too. Whether you find cooking intimidating, time consuming or have just never tried, the calm, confidence-building tone of this cookbook will have you creating kitchen concoctions in minutes. And you’ll quickly fall in love with recipes such as roast chicken, flourless fudge cake and lemon salmon.

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5. Hot Mess Kitchen

Hot Mess Kitchen: Recipes for Your Delicious Disastrous Life is a book that’s not afraid to tell it how it is. With dish names like “Fuck It, Let’s Just Get Stoned Nachos” and “All My Friends Are Married Mud Pie,” this book speaks not only to your stomach, but also to your soul. It also lays blame for your cooking inability well away from you, identifying victims (like take-out addicted Millennials) merely as a bi-product of society. Feel no shame; this book is here to help. Get ready for real food for real people in their real lives.

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6. How to Cook Everything: The Basics

Offering easy step-by-step lessons on fundamental cooking techniques and recipes, How to Cook Everything: The Basics is like having a chef alongside you as you learn. With clear instructions accompanied by over 1,000 photographs, it’s hard to misstep as you learn to dice vegetables, roast meat and boil eggs. Using this cooking manual, you’ll quickly learn to create a range of delicious dishes. The 185 recipes include a wide range of ingredients, like meat, fish and poultry, to keep everyone satisfied.

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