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Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

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About the Author

Jenni Ferrari-Adler is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Michigan, where she received an MFA in fiction. She has worked as a reader for The Paris Review, a bookseller, an egg-seller, and is an agent at Union Literary Agents. Her short fiction has been published in numerous magazines.


Editor Ferrari-Adler's motley assortment of 26 essays is a quick and often insightful read. Some, including Colbert Report cocreator Ben Karlin's "The Legend of Salsa Rosa" and Holly Hughes's "Luxury," are laugh-out-loud funny. Reading "Thanks, but No Thanks," Courtney Eldridge's account of her ex-husband's elitist eating habits, is like sitting down to commiserate with a particularly articulate friend. Others are strange and haunting, notably Haruki Murakami's "The Year of Spaghetti" and Rattawut Lap-charoensap's "Instant Noodles." More than half include recipes-goodies such as Amanda Hesser's (food editor, New York Times Magazine) Single Girl Salmon and Steve Almond's enticing Grill-Curried Shrimp Quesarito with Avocado Raita-while others incorporate favorite ways of preparing comfort foods, e.g., Laura Dave's "How To Cook in a New York Apartment" and Nora Ephron's "Potatoes and Love: Some Reflections." There is no obvious order to the arrangement of stories; thumbnail biographies of all of the contributors are available at the end. Many recognizable names make this a great book for literary foodies, but it is not an essential purchase for most public and academic libraries.-Rosemarie Lewis, Broward Cty. P.L., Fort Lauderdale, FL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

A mishmash of foodie writers dispute, humorously or more self-seriously, the pros and cons of cooking and dining alone. While eating by oneself can be the busy worker's greatest pleasure, as Colin Harrison notes of his solitary Manhattan lunches during a work day ("Out to Lunch"), and mother Holly Hughes ("Luxury") agrees is a secret but too rare pleasure, other writers see it as depressing or shameful. In "The Lonely Palate," Laura Calder quotes Epicurus as saying, "we should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink"--then offers a recipe for Kippers Mash. Eating is an act of love, thus prompting Jonathan Ames ("Poisonous Eggs") to dine out and flirt with the waitress. "Table for One" by Erin Ergenbright records how the single diner is perceived uneasily by the wait staff. And M.F.K. Fisher relishes solitary dining ("A Is for Dining Alone") as a way to escape "the curious disbelieving impertinence of the people in restaurants." The collection is named after an essay by Laurie Colwin, who found a dozen different ways to cook eggplant on her two-burner hot plate while living alone in a tiny Greenwich Village flat. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

aA balanced literary buffet...seasoned with whimsy.a
a"Wall Street Journal"
?A balanced literary buffet...seasoned with whimsy.?
?"Wall Street Journal"

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