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

Salt & Pepper Cooking


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...



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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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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