Flavorful serving of hilarious, poignant memories that will leave readers wanting seconds.

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Salt & Pepper Cooking

THE EDUCATION OF AN AMERICAN CHEF

With these funny stories, an award-winning chef reflects on the formative roles of food, family, and friendship in his life.

Former executive chef and owner of Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Blue Strawberry restaurant, Haller (Vie de France, 2002, etc.) grew up during the Depression, a poor kid in a Chicago suburb. His working-class extended family and Old World neighborhoods inspired a fascination with eclectic food combinations. Whether watching his Grandma Hazel dispatch a barnyard chicken by spinning it overhead “like David with his sling” or splashing “a little Benedictine Brandy on fried eggs after I heard Betty Grable order eggs benedict between dance numbers,” it’s clear that his insatiable curiosity about food began early. A young Italian girl, Louisa, became Haller’s childhood friend and introduced him to cannoli, which easily eclipsed his grandmother’s tapioca and butterscotch puddings. Growing up with many rural relatives, Haller paints a vivid picture of a bygone era with recollections of dinners fit for farmhands and the “womenfolk” preparing massive harvest feasts. His financially strapped, city-dwelling parents had more pedestrian palates, favoring “hot dog and beans…hamburgers, meat loaf, sloppy Joe’s…creamed chip beef on toast…or my mother’s tuna casserole.” His mother’s long hours waitressing required young Haller to prepare family meals, spurring a lifetime of culinary adventurousness, as he dished up string beans with pumpkin pie spices and lime and grape Kool-Aid baked into angel food cake for unwitting loved ones. Wit à la Ruth Reichl in Tender at the Bone (1998) invigorates these anecdotes throughout. Haller left for New York to make it as a writer and actor, often waiting tables to get by and eventually opening the Blue Strawberry in New Hampshire with some enterprising pals. Character sketches of family and friends here are as keenly observed and beautifully depicted as the food—the author’s self-effacing humor a fantastic leavening agent.  

Flavorful serving of hilarious, poignant memories that will leave readers wanting seconds.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-938394-17-1

Page Count: 118

Publisher: Great Life Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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