Margie Lapanja made a fortune baking and selling her Cowboy Cookies. She shares the chocolate, nut, oat, and coconut-studded recipe in Goddess in the Kitchen
while urging you to bring more play and passion into your cooking. As one of many inspirational quotes in this book suggests, "Communion, union with divinity, is accomplished by means of food" (Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul
). If Chicken Soup for the Soul
is your cup of tea, then Goddess in the Kitchen
is likely a cookbook for you.
Lapanja, a card-carrying member of the Wild Woman Association, is passionately dedicated to encouraging uninhibited behavior. Her indulgences--mostly benign--lean toward daydreaming about eating virtuously lean Mango Tapioca Pudding on a desert island, sipping champagne with buttery shortbread (a sweet once associated with the Celtic spring celebration Beltane), and the like. Before each recipe, she provides historical and mythological information, particularly about the earth-mother Demeter and other goddesses, or some New Age inspirational advice, often combined with provocative personal ramblings. Since Lapanja's motto is "Eat dessert first," many of her recipes focus on sweets.
Written in an all-out style, this is a book you will love or hate. It's for you if advice like "We need to fall back in love with our food, the cooking process, and ourselves" speaks to you, or if your heart melts at the true story of the passionate romance between a priest and an ex-nun who ultimately wed, had six children, and still love to linger over a bowl of Pasta with Ginger Shrimp Soul Sauce. --Dana Jacobi
New Age philosophy illumines every page of this unique cookbook. At the book's outset, Lapanja lays down her guidelines for cooking, and she follows these precepts religiously. Her rules call for food that is wholly a pleasure, both for the cook and for diners. Her guiding-star recipe appears to be a kids' favorite, cookie-dough pancakes, a novel breakfast treat calling for cookie-dough bits--any dough will do--dropped onto pancakes as they sizzle. Lapanja wants cooks to follow wherever their imaginations lead. Her own inspirations run to sweet treats above all. Even her main-course dishes combine sweet and savory components for no-holds-barred cooking. Lapanja's island casserole mixes fresh fish and rice with garlic, canned crushed pineapple, cheese, and canned artichoke hearts in curry sauce. Other dishes, such as her profiteroles, adhere to more disciplined tradition. Mark Knoblauch