HOW TO COOK A TART by Nina Killham


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A sinfully deliciously debut about the travails of a gourmet cook trapped in a fat-phobic world.

Jasmine March lives to eat. Or, more precisely, she lives to cook, which entails feeding people things they like to eat. She has always known that this would be her mission in life: As a teenager, when other girls were spending their allowances on clothes and cosmetics, Jasmine was carefully saving up to buy imported truffles or Parma ham. She seduced her husband Daniel as much with her cooking as with her body. And she has made good money and a solid reputation by publishing a series of cookbooks over the last 20 years. But Jasmine’s horizon has suddenly turned cloudy. Her publisher has dropped her, since haute cuisine no longer sells (the current craze is Japanese-Caribbean, or anything low-fat). Her 16-year-old daughter Careme is a borderline anorexic who calls her mother a “tub” to her face and is actively plotting to lose her virginity to a classmate named Troy. Her husband Daniel has become obsessed with his colon and eats nothing but fiber—and he has begun an affair with an aspiring actress who believes that she can live on air (literally). Like all great cooks, Jasmine aims to please, and she is temperamentally inclined to accommodate herself to the tastes of others, but there is a limit to her goodwill. Step by step, she carefully serves out healthy portions of comeuppance to her daughter, her husband, and the rest of her antagonists. As for Daniel’s mistress, whom she discovers dead in her kitchen one morning, she deals with her as best she can. After all, a good cook can cook anything.

Sophisticated, shameful fun: Killham, a former food writer for the Washington Post, knows how to lay a nice table and can offer a rich feast for famished readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-58234-269-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2002


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