Hipcooks, oddly enough, reminds me of The Bridges of Madison County. The book—about a Midwestern woman in a ho-hum marriage who has an indelible, four-day fling with a “just truckin’ through town” photographer—was mostly not good: earnest, overwrought and crammed with prose that went clunk in the night.

The Bridges movie, on the other hand, worked. Meryl Streep as the wife, Clint Eastwood as the hunk, lots of cool, covered bridges and actual, honest feelings, rather than sentimentality, launched it into A-minus territory. I enjoyed the film and yes, I teared-up during the rainy, heartbreaking goodbye.

So what’s this have to do with Hipcooks? The class—the experience of it—was funny, entertaining, useful, and very, very tasty. The cookbook, or, rather, the concept on the page, didn’t really gel.

My theory is that the joy of the measurement-free, confidence-in-the-kitchen Hipcooks mantra is better coming from the mouth of a true believer. As the Hipcooks host walks participants through the specific steps of creating a yummy dish, she shares tips, tricks and asides that truly work/help (or at least fascinate). By contrast, the book merely offers a “here’s the scoop” short intro plus a “Hip tip” if you’re lucky.

I also ended up picking dud recipes. The Spanikopita was ok, but not awesome; the grilled veggie salad a disappointment, and the almond meal-laced tzatziki downright weird. I’d like to give the book a truly fair shake and try a few other dishes, but a good chunk of the recipes include meat, so the pool of potential candidates isn’t huge.

Honestly, I feel unmotivated when I look at the book. It’s time to move on.

Overall cookbook rating: 3 spatulas