Recipe Bethenny Frankel

Recipe Renovation: Something’s Got to Give

Whenever I renovate a recipe, my main goal is to make comfort food a better investment without sacrificing taste. Sometimes it works and sometimes my attempts are dismal failures, but I keep trying different approaches. What I’ve realized after years of overhauling recipes is that when you are improving a recipe and you want it to taste good, something’s got to give.

You can strip off every single accessory or go out in your bathrobe. You have to splurge somewhere – the well-cut jeans, the nice watch, the up-do. In the same way, you can’t take out all the fat, all the sugar, all the meat, or all the flour from a fish without sacrificing taste, and I’m just not willing to do that. I don’t want to eat food that tastes bland, fake, and gluey, and you don’t, either. It has to taste good. Take out what doesn’t matter that much and leave a little of the good stuff so that the result is still satisfying. The more your practice this, the more you learn about what you can sacrifice without missing it.

It’s all about the differential. You cut fat and calories where it won’t affect the outcome too much and then you let some things stay. Desserts are supposed to contain some sugar or other sweetener. Scrambled eggs and omelets taste better with a little bit of cheese. Vegetables sautéed or roasted in olive oil taste richer. Bread is delicious with a little bit of butter or olive oil. Meals with no fat or sugar are dull and unsatisfying, so let yourself live a little. You don’t have to go overboard.

This is an excerpt from The Skinnygirl Dish by Bethenny Frankel, available on