Lots of fun for foodies both ardent and casual.

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DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME

CULINARY CATASTROPHES FROM THE WORLD’S GREATEST CHEFS

Short tales from celebrated chefs sharing their worst moments.

Take a handful of culinary masters, toss in stories of utter humiliation or heartache, and you wind up with a spicy little essay collection with a flavor not unlike that of America's Funniest Home Videos, in which the most successful vignettes are invariably those in which the subjects suffer the most. And there is plenty of room for misery in a kitchen. The collection begins with the worst day in the professional life of Ferrán Adrià. Dubbed “the Salvador Dalí of the kitchen” by Gourmet magazine, Adrià was preparing to whip up a private dinner for 3,200 guests when he discovered that the lobsters were spoiled. A disaster, but at least he didn’t get fired. Jimmy Bradley can’t say the same; the NewYork–based chef and restaurant owner shares a story of how he got abysmally drunk on the job early in his career (he was a reluctant participant in a drinking game) and was summarily dismissed the next day. Wylie Dufresne (honored in 2001 as one of the best new chefs in the country by Food & Wine magazine) relates a story of being plagued during an apprenticeship in a French kitchen by an owl who decided to roost under his bed, while Food Network star Sara Moulton remembers the time she was tormented by an uncooperative food processor when she tried to impress her sister with mashed potatoes. And Anthony Bourdain, ever dependable, delivers the goods with a satisfyingly apocalyptic story about a disastrous New Year's Eve.

Lots of fun for foodies both ardent and casual.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-59691-070-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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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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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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