TODAY   |  February 12, 2013

Smitten Kitchen blogger: Cooking shouldn’t be hard

In just under ten years, Deb Perelman went from being a single New Yorker with a blog to a happily married mother with a best-selling cookbook. She talks to TODAY’s Erica Hill about why her blog appeals to home cooks and how she copes with her tiny New York City kitchen.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now at 8:51 with an award-winning cooking blog that's developed something of a cult-like following. we found nbc's erica hill here in her kitchen .

>> yes.

>> she recently paid a visit to the smitten kitchen .

>> this is a lot more space than you will find in the smitten kitchen . the first person to tell you she's not a chef. but by the looks of her website and new cookbook, both known as the smitten kitchen , you would never know it.

>> do you want to make a cake with mommy?

>> reporter: 3-year-old jacob has no idea how lucky he is.

>> show me you know how to crack an egg. good.

>> good job.

>> good.

>> but for the thousands who follow his mom's blog, cooking with the creator of the wildly popular smitten kitchen would be heaven. the ingredients for her success, a combination of step-by-step photos and recipes and a very relatable approach to food.

>> i don't think it should be hard for people to cook food that they love.

>> a philosophy regularly put to the test in her tiny new york city kitchen .

>> there's a big fascination with the size of your kitchen . new york city for a lot of people, it's normal, except they store stuff in their stove and you actually cook in yours.

>> exactly.

>> do you want to move eventually somewhere with a bigger kitchen ?

>> i would be crazy to say i don't want a bigger kitchen yet at the same time, i make it work.

>> at just over 40 square feet , we couldn't fit in our crew but mounted cameras around the kitchen .

>> i thiching it's good for my recipe development to have such a small kitchen . it forces me to reign in ideas. i won't make a dish on a weekday night that has four bowls. how can we do this in three?

>> not shy about the fact that she has no formal training. she just loves to cook.

>> a lot of recipes are me challenge i challenging myself to make something that i thought i didn't like to make in a way that i love.

>> like meatloaf. a comfort food staple she's never cared for, until she realized it was just a meatball in disguise.

>> a reader said you know the difference between meatballs and meatloaf is almost nothing.

>> it's the size essentially?

>> exactly.

>> there's a clear sense of community on the site and plenty of sharing.

>> i love to be able to just chat with people.

>> deb personally answers all of her e-mail and regularly responds to comments on her blog.

>> somebody will say, oh, i made this with ground turkey. it works really well. i was like, great, i didn't even realize that.

>> perhaps the best comment she ever received was from her husband, alex, long before they said i do.

>> do you remember what you were commenting on?

>> she posted a recipe for a red pepper hummus dip or something like that. i said that sounds really good. maybe i'll make this for this party i'm going to next week.

>> red pepper hummus was just the beginning. what was the first meal you cooked for him?

>> first meal i cooked for him was -- i was like, you don't like my cooking?

>> she has a selective memory . i loved it. and, you know, that was pretty much it.

>> reporter: nearly ten years later, he's still smitten and a proud member of his wife's fan club .

>> looks great.

>> reporter: in many ways she's achieved the ultimate balance. though a little improvement on her office space wouldn't hurt.

>> i want a fridge that doesn't freeze the things in the back of the fridge.

>> not asking very much.

>> no.

>> maybe just a little bit bigger that you could fit something more. she has made a great use of the space they have there.

>> teeny, tiny kitchen as you can see.

>> it is.

>> she can have a dinner party .

>> she can. i said how many people are the most you've ever cooked for?

>> she said eight is kind of our limit. they store their dishes in another room. it's very much the convertible new york city apartment where they move things around so her sons toys can get in.

>> necessity is the mother of invention.

>> absolutely.

>> very impressive. thank you very much, miss erica.

>> you're welcome.

>> i'm not a detective but i think in the 9:00