In Yumi Stynes’s very first cookbook, The Zero F*cks Cookbook, we’re given permission to care less about food, because this cookbook is all about stress-free scrumptiousness. Yumi is your accomplished, creative, no-bullshit friend in the kitchen. In fact, before her media career started in the year 2000, she thought she was going to be a chef, and worked as a cook in various pubs and cafes around Australia.
Like so many of us, she likes to cook, she likes to eat, and she likes to share good food with the people she loves. But she also has a million things going on and at this point in her life, needs to impress precisely no one. Her cooking philosophy is best summed by her very own Ten Commandments:
1. Thou shall not fuss.
2. Thou shall use the whole tub or container of something, rather than leave an annoying, unusable amount in the bottom.
3. If a step can be simplified, shortened or skipped altogether, it will be.
4. Thou shall always opt for healthier food, making thou sexier.
5. Marshmallows do not count as an ingredient. Nor does Coca Cola nor French Onion Soup. Thou art busy, not a bogan.
6. Thou shall never apologise. You cooked. That is enough.
7. When it is written “best quality” – eg, “use 200g of best quality bacon” – it means the best quality you can afford. “Best quality” does not equal “most expensive”.
8. Thou shall accept help. If you are in a situation where you have zero fucks left to give, and someone offers to help chop, or bring a plate, or a salad, or buy a cake for dessert SAY YES.
9. Thou shall follow the recipe! Every other chef says, “be creative”. NO. I say, “FOLLOW THE RECIPE”. Every recipe has been carefully checked and tested by people who give vastly more fucks than you do. Trust them. Get creative later.
10. Thou shalt have fun.
The Zero F*cks Cookbook book shows how it is possible to stick to these commandments AND enjoy delicious, tasty fuss-free food. Her book is divided into five chapters: Weeknights; Barbecue; Snacks, Emergencies and Other Moments of Desperation; Sweet Stuff; and Weekends. The key is celebrating her love of eating and cooking, without unnecessarily complicating mealtime in an already busy family household.
The joy of The Zero F*cks Cookbook is that in spite of their simplicity, all Yumi’s recipes are kind of impressive: they’re thoughtful, nourishing and crowd-pleasing. They let great ingredients star and, absolutely best of all, they’re EASY.