One Long Strange Trip Through the Great Cooking Schools of Europe
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An inspiring tale of picking up the pieces…with a spatula.

After completing The Beatles (2005), a 900-page book that cost him eight years and an untold amount of money, Spitz found his life meandering off the rails. He was “bumping around like a stray dog, just reading, cooking for friends, and taking long walks on the beach—that is, doing nothing.” His 14-year marriage had ended, and a new relationship was foundering. The only place he found solace was in the kitchen; cooking had been a fulfilling, comforting activity for him since childhood. If his kitchen at home made him feel a little better, Spitz reasoned, then a kitchen on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean would make him feel a lot better. Off to Europe he went, beginning a food-filled journey that took him from Nice and the French towns of Agen and Théoule to various Tuscan villages and south to the mountaintop aerie of Sant’Agata. Back home, thanks to his therapeutic culinary lessons, he was calmer, wiser and stuffed. Appealingly, Spitz spends as much time discussing people as cuisine. When he does write about the food, however, he’s eloquent, and the inclusion of recipes throughout the book serves as a Greek—or rather, a French or Italian—chorus.

Not quite at the level of Michael Ruhlman’s superb The Making of a Chef (1997), but the current adoration of foodie culture practically guarantees a large, appreciative audience for this warmhearted memoir/travelogue.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-393-06059-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2008


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