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LitPicks Book Reviews—September 2014

Theme—Hell's a Kitchen
Conditions are brutal in restaurant kitchens. So
what is it that keeps chefs and cooks standing for 12-hour stretches, non-stop, in 110-degree heat? A devotion to good food and the creativity behind it. So say this month's books.
 

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Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
Molly Wizenberg, 2014
256 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
September 2014

Wizenberg is a terrific writer, and she's got a good story to tell—her memoir about opening a restaurant, one she didn't want, didn't like, and didn't know how to make work. At the same time she knew it was essential to the success of her marriage.

When they first met, Molly recognized Brandon as a creative soul—a musician, a budding composer, and as passionate about food as she. It was one the things she loved about him. Shortly after they moved in together, Brandon ramped up his creative side: taking up violin-making, then wooden boat-making, then ice cream-making. All brief interests, all soon abandoned.

 

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Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
Michael Gibney, 2014
210 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
September, 2014

It's enough to make you weep, reading (merely reading!) about what it takes to serve 300 people in a New York restaurant. Why would anyone subject himself to such hardship—the mental and physical strain—night after night?

Reading Michael Gibney's wonderful behind-the-scenes account is a revelation: chefs and cooks are not like you and me. Their stamina and mental acuity—required to create order out of disorder—isn't the stuff of mere mortals; it's the stuff of superheroes (I'm pretty sure).

 

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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Anthony Boudain, 2000
312 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
September, 2014




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