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“A fifteen-minute delay in serving fish is the difference between fantastic and lackluster,” write the authors. This book...

Two cookbook authors who once thought of catering as “the elevator music of the culinary arts” reveal the secrets of the craft.

If one prepares thousands of meals at once, “how could the quality of the food not suffer?” So went the thinking of the Lee brothers (The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, 2013, etc.), Charleston, South Carolina, natives famous for cookbooks celebrating Southern cuisine, who spent four years interviewing industry professionals and working as kitchen assistants for a large New York catering firm. The key to serving all those dishes is the hotbox, also known as a proofer, “an upright aluminum cabinet on wheels, lifeblood for caterers,” which “conveys partially cooked food from the refrigerator at the caterer’s prep kitchen to the site of the party” with the help of Sterno food warmers. The book chronicles the authors’ experiences as they graduated from prep chefs to working the actual events, known in the trade as fiestas. Descriptions of party preparations get repetitive after a while, but the authors do a solid job documenting the history of the industry and detailing the pressures caterers contend with, from client requests—producer Norman Lear once demanded to have a carpet installed in a room where a fundraiser was to be held because he didn’t like the acoustics—to the precision required to put just the right amount of celery-root slaw atop beef brioche appetizers. The authors also share plenty of entertaining anecdotes—e.g., about the caterer who “had to mix pasta salad in the bathtub of a walk-up apartment” to make sure he had enough for 6,000 Gracie Mansion guests during the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York.

“A fifteen-minute delay in serving fish is the difference between fantastic and lackluster,” write the authors. This book will give readers a newfound appreciation of caterers’ artistry and their constant perch on the precipice of failure.

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62779-261-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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