Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Book Report

Even though I spend all day learning about and preparing food, I still like to read about it in the evenings. I’m hoping that speaks well for my decision to change careers (I can assure you that I NEVER spent my evenings reading about corporate transactions or tax shelters).

The Making of a Chef (by Michael Ruhlman)
Mastering the Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

When I judged this book by its cover, I was unenthused. I was expecting a pompous account of how some arrogant chef had suffered and struggled through culinary school to become the wonderstar he is today. Instead, this book is really charming and funny. The author went to the CIA for the express purpose of writing the book. He had an abbreviated schedule (I think he did it in about 9 months rather than two years) but took regular classes and was graded just like his classmates. He’s conscious of the fact that he’s playing a dual role of student and reporter, and that his teachers aren’t likely to forget it. Despite the fact that he doesn’t plan to work in a restaurant after “graduation,” Ruhlman is disappointed when he doesn’t feel he’s put his heart into the food he’s serving his teachers and fellow students. This book is a quick and fun read and gives a great glimpse at the realities of culinary school.

Insatiable (by Gael Greene)

Damn, she slept with SO MANY famous people. Elvis! Roger Verge, Jean Troisgros, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Eric Rothschild, and a porn star. Before and after her trysts, she ate some of the most incredible food in the world (and was paid to do it!!) Insatiable is the story of a woman who devoted her life to pleasure – food and sex. This book is too much for one sitting (like foie gras, a little goes a long way), you’ll need to space it out over a few days at the beach. Every time I start to think of something critical to say about Gael Greene or her book I realize that I’m just jealous! Wouldn’t you want to spend your days sampling delicacies from the best restaurants in New York and your evenings working off the calories with Burt or Clint?


Blogger s'kat said...

I just finished Insatiable a few days ago, and all I can say is, "Wow!". Truly, a life without regret.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Cool! I just finished the Ruhlman book a few days ago and gave it to my wife...It was such a great glimpse into that world of chef bootcamp, but with humour, humility and a sense of wonder...glad you enjoyed it, too...

11:49 AM  

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