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Book Review: My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart (3/5)

16 Dec

I’ve laughed along with Hannah on her YouTube channel on and off over the years and enjoy her comedy. So I was interested to see how it would translate into a book, especially a cookbook. I think the results were mixed overall and I’m not sure if I’d call this a win, but it was still very Hannah.

Cover Image via Goodreads

My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking and Going With Your Gut by Hannah Hart

Summary from Goodreads:

One day, lonely cubicle dweller and otherwise bored New York City transplant Hannah Hart decided to make a fake cooking show for a friend back home in California. She opened her laptop, pulled out some bread and cheese, and then, as one does, started drinking. The video was called “Butter Yo Sh*t” and online sensation My Drunk Kitchen was born.

My Drunk Kitchen (the book!) includes recipes, stories, color photographs, and tips and tricks to inspire your own adventures in tipsy cooking. Hannah offers cocktail recommendations, culinary advice (like, remember to turn off the oven when you go to bed), and shares never-before-seen recipes such as:

The Hartwich (Knowledge is ingenuity! Learn from the past!) Can Bake (Inventing things is hard! You don’t have to start from scratch!) Latke Shotkes (Plan ahead to avoid a night of dread!) Tiny Sandwiches (Size doesn’t matter! Aim to satisfy.) Saltine Nachos (It’s not about resources! It’s about being resourceful.)
In the end, My Drunk Kitchen may not be your go-to guide for your next dinner party . . . but it will make you laugh and drink . . . I mean think . . . about life.

I can’t say for certain that Hannah’s humor translated well to print. I think a lot of her delivery is lost in the medium. Having watched her videos, I could picture how she delivered it and that helped but if I tried to read quickly, I lost her voice and the text fell flat. I also think the book had a little bit of an identity crisis between being a memoir and a cookbook and a humor novel. For example, Hart had a section on things to eat when you have a broken heart. The recipes are not very serious, most being a combination of prepared-frozen foods and ready-to-eat foods (and alcohol). The recipes are written in a funny way, much like “Butter Yo Sh*t.” And Hannah would share a bit of a life story about a time she felt brokenhearted. So all of that together wasn’t enough of anything for me. Yes, it was humorous and yes, it gave me insight into Hannah and yes, it gave me ideas of things to make when I’m too drunk to cook and too drunk to go to bed without eating. But I feel like it was just short of giving me enough of any of these things. I still enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. I think I was just wanting more.

Hart didn’t talk much about people in her life besides her close friend Mamrie Hart and herself. I think Hannah was honest about her past and how it felt to be gay with conservative parents. Though she only talked about the raw emotions of that so much because she was being comedic the whole time as well. I wasn’t expecting much character development if I looked at this as a cookbook but with the slight memoir feel, I was hoping for a little more feeling from Hannah.

Hannah Hart
Image via Twitter

The recipes made me laugh. I don’t think I’d ever make the recipes in this book (though if I wasn’t lactose intolerant, pizza cake looked delicious) but they still served a purpose. It was the strongest parallel to Hart’s videos and I appreciated the connection.

As much as I love memoirs, the memoir part of Hart’s book was the biggest disappointment for me. I wanted so much more out of it than we got and I felt disappointed every time she’d make mention of something in her life that was important to her and then it would be left hanging, unfinished. I wanted just a little bit more, some more anecdotes that made me feel for her or giggle. A bit more history and for sure some opinions. It just felt dry.

Being able to laugh is important to Hannah. She doesn’t seem to take herself very seriously. While that may be a coping mechanism, I still appreciated the lighthearted nature of this book and the smile it was able to put on my face. Hart wants to share her joy with others and that was very clear from her writing.

Writer’s Takeaway: I’m not sure I’d ever write non-fiction but I think this book is a good example of when more is needed to be a cross-over book. This book didn’t fully hit me as comedy, cookbook, or memoir and I think doing two of these instead of three would have been an easier pill to swallow. I try to do an action-packed historical fiction romance and I think I get too far off the mark sometimes. It was good for me to recognize in another work that there was too much going on.

Enjoyable but not a book I fell in love with. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
The Best of Hannah Hart’s “My Drunk Kitchen” | Nerd Atlas