If you ever wondered where Hazelton got the authority to write her Italian Regional Cooking, American Home Cooking, and other cookbooks devoted in turn to Danish, Belgian, Swiss, Scandinavian, and ""Russian Tearoom"" food, these memoirs arranged by place of residence might provide a clue. Hazelton grew up in Italy with a German father, went to school in Berlin and England, worked as a journalist in Geneva and New York, spent time in Brazil with her husband's job, and finally ""came home"" to New York as a young wife in 1939. She was in some interesting spots with interesting acquaintances (""Brecht was a great friend of mine""), but these relationships are only noted, never evoked in full life. And though food figures in her memories of how things were at each location--the German Christmas cookies of her Roman childhood, the truffled risotto of Milan and lovely rice pudding at her English school, the miserly dinners at the dreadful German pensionnat--there is none of M.F.K. Fisher's clear, bright description (or even any mouth-watering gastroporn), and no hint that the young Nika will turn out to be a professional food person. Thus Hazelton's account of life in other times and places, though it can be engaging, can also make for tepid reading.