BOOKS THAT COOK

THE MAKING OF A LITERARY MEAL

Food lovers and cookbook collectors will savor this literary stew.

A buffet of poems, stories, essays and recipes.

Editors Cognard-Black (English/St. Mary’s College of Maryland; co-editor, Beyond Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Essays on the Writing of Harriet Beecher Stowe, 2011, etc.) and Goldthwaite (English/St. Joseph’s Univ.; The Norton Pocket Book of Writing by Students, 2010, etc.) organize this anthology like a cookbook, with literature and recipes that relate to a particular part of a meal, from appetizers to dessert. Each section opens with an entry from a cookbook; arranged chronologically, these may or may not have anything to do with the section that follows. “Starters,” for example, is introduced by an excerpt from Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery (1796), which offers “Directions for Catering, or Procuring the Best Viands, Fish, etc.,” such as “How to Choose Flesh” and how to roast mutton. An excerpt from Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1896) is more relevant, introducing “Eggs” with instructions for boiling, scrambling and poaching them. The editors explain that the book “is deliberately organized so that readers can achieve their own equilibrium between the individual selections and their overall experience of the collection,” just as they might sample food at a buffet. For readers seeking some logic to their choices, the editors offer thematic reading menus: “Food and the Environment” features a piece by Terry Tempest Williams and a poem by Gary Snyder. “Love and Desire” includes a selection by Nora Ephron and an excerpt from Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (1987). Of the collection’s 49 pieces, 11 were written specifically for the book. Among the well-known authors represented by previously published work are James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Sherman Alexie and Maya Angelou. Laurie Colwin contributes a delightfully funny piece about three repulsive dinners; Ntozake Shange chronicles her trip to Nicaragua to find the house where poet Rubén Dario was born and raised—and a recipe for “a very sexy little dish” of raw turtle eggs.

Food lovers and cookbook collectors will savor this literary stew.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4798-3021-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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