Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cooking for Mr. Latte...and Me

I have just finished reading Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's Courtship, With Recipes by Amanda Hesser. I was in my local gourmet shop a couple of months ago and bought it because it looked fun. Then I forgot about it and only picked it up again this week. I originally thought it was going to be a foodie novel sort of thing, but found instead that is a collection of autobiographical diary entries Amanda Hesser wrote for the New York Times.

The book is completely delightful; fun, light, tender, and chock full of terrific recipes. The writing tells the story of Amanda's romance with Mr. Latte and trying to refine his palate. She tells stories from the kitchens of friends, family, and some restaurants. She talks about food and its place in peoples' lives. She is honest about her annoyance with other peoples' techniques and the trials of sharing kitchen space. For any reader, cook or not, this book is honest, thought-provoking, and laugh out loud funny sometimes.

As each chapter is based on a weekly article, the chapters are best enjoyed individually, to be savored.

I went back and Googled Amanda Hesser after finishing the book and learned more about her writing experience, critics, and that this is truly a non-fiction work, though it reads almost like a novel.

Next I want to go back and try some of the recipes she so generously includes in each chapter.

Grade: A

Get cooking!

This read reminded me of another one I've loved by another New York Times writer, Alex Witchel, who in Girls Only writes of her grown-up New York City life compared to growing up in a suburban Jewish family. While my life could not be more different, her relationships with her mother and sister really struck a chord. As did the honesty in her hotel reviews, glee at Clinique bonus time, and snarky shopping observations. I've re-read this one, so obviously I give it an A.

Your Friendly Librarian

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