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Out of the Kitchen: Adventures of a Food Writer Paperback – February 25, 2015

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Author shows great comic timing; subtle, skillful, straightforward prose is funny when you least expect it. Inspiring fun for foodies. -- Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2004

From the Publisher

The Lure and Allure of the Food World

Like her previous book, M. F. K. Fisher and Me, Jeannette Ferrary’s new memoir, Out of the Kitchen—Adventures of a Food Writer, is filled with humor and enthusiasm about life in the food world. In her cosmos, it’s a world that begins in earliest childhood with incidents that reveal the power of food in its many guises: in the inner sanctum of her grandmother’s kitchen, at the automat, in the middle of the street with the ice cream man.

A born storyteller, the author recounts her journey into adulthood as a sequence of episodes from Brooklyn to Bogota to the California dream. The stories are both delightfully funny and disarmingly insightful in their understanding of how strongly food affects one’s sense of self.

Along the way, she resolves the conflict between her deep respect for food as heritage and legacy and her suspicion that all interest in food and cooking must be avoided by any woman with aspirations for a career outside the kitchen. In fact, it is only in the wake of a marital break-up that the author finds herself free to pursue interests that were on hold during marriage. As she embarks on these adventures—including Simone Beck’s cooking classes in the south of France, Craig Claiborne’s birthday party in East Hampton, Long Island, and the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Mondavi-Rothschild winery in Napa Valley—she meets and introduces the reader to major food world personalities from Alice Waters and Judy Rodgers to Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. In this personal odyssey, she takes us along with her to discover, to laugh, to embrace, and, thanks to a nice little cache of hunger-provoking recipes, to taste.

She creates a life for herself as a writer whose output eventually includes regular monthly columns for The New York Times, food-related articles for dozens of publications, and eight full-length books. Her highly readable style, mouthwatering food descriptions, and penchant for good-humored irreverence have been likened to those of M. F. K. Fisher.

This is the story of a woman caught up in the romance of her subject and giddily in love with language. Ultimately it’s an inspiration and an exhortation about following one’s dream and having fun doing it.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Daniel & Daniel Publishers (February 25, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880284782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880284780
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,591,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
`Out of the Kitchen', subtitled `Adventures of a Food Writer' by Jeannette Ferrary is very similar in subject and style to the two more famous memoirs, `Tender at the Bone' and `Comfort Me With Apples' by prominent food journalist Ruth Reichl. While Ms. Ferrary is quite probably almost as good a writer as Ms. Reichl, it seems she has had a much less interesting life. To the good, like all very good writers, Ms. Ferrary has given us an excellent treatment of her material.

As I analyze pieces of good writing either whether in essays or music, I am amazed by how much a talented writer can make of a small event. Ms. Ferrary, for example opens with a description two episodes from her very early years, aged two and three years old respectively. The first deals with baby Jeannette's thwarting the wiles of her parents' efforts for her to take a pill by camouflaging it in a gumdrop. The second is a vignette regarding little Jeannette's becoming lost almost literally in front of her house in Brooklyn when she takes her first foray out onto the sidewalk with mother on the watch from the second floor window.

Before I get to mired in niggling little complaints and details, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was at least as satisfying to me as other recent memoirs from the likes of Mimi Sheraton and Alan Richman, even if it is not quite up to the level of Reichl and one of Ms. Ferrary's favorite subjects, M.F.K. Fisher.

The greatest thing I take from this book is an affirmation of how generous and justifiably revered is the person and memory of Ms. Julia Child. This was shown clearly in an event promoting the sale of Ms. Child's video cooking classes at a West Coast Macy's store where Ms. Ferrary played the role of interviewer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Storyteller and food fan Jeanette Ferrary's memoir packs in humor and food affection, beginning her story with childhood memories of food and its effects on her life and recounting her journey to adulthood and the travels which brought her in touch with food traditions across the country. Out Of The Kitchen: Adventures Of A Food Writer is a delightful leisure read, charting Jeanette's personal encounters with some of the most famous cooks in the world, and her eventual rise to become a food columnist for the New York Times.
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How does one become a "food writer", and what does that actually mean anyway? These are questions that Ferrary seeks to answer in her food memoir, and questions which interested me also, as one with a long-time interest in writing and many aspects of food.

In the Introduction Ferrary indicates that "there must have been seeds [in her childhood] that eventually flowered into a passion for food, its history and meaning and unending pleasures; the joy of growing and preparing and sharing food with friends, of seeing it as heritage and comfort and love. There must have been something. That's what this book is about."

Ferrary mines her early childhood memories, particularly those in her mother's and grandmother's kitchens and in the neighborhoods she grew up in, for the seeds that are later cultivated into a passion for food. Each chapter is followed by a simple recipe illustrating in an amusing fashion the food lesson or food memory recounted in that chapter.

These seeds are present in the childhood memories of many others who don't become food writers, and it becomes apparent that circumstances and serendipitous events later in life paved the way to Ferrary's successful career in food writing.

Her tales are amusing and well-written, demonstrating a self-deprecating sense of humor and a sense of humility. She was in the presence of some truly great chefs and food experts - Julia Child, Alice Waters, Craig Claiborne, to name a few, but was always well aware that she was there "..gathering the research, tasting, testing, playing the scribe....", never really on the same playing field as these great personalities, since as she frequently admitted, she wasn't much of a cook herself.
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By Marianne Friis on July 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So interesting and well written. I was laughing a lot!
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anne on June 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I would like to offer a correction and some clarification on B. Marold's review of this book. It is Simone Beck and not Weill who had a cooking school in Provence. And Julia Child did not just happen to "live across the street" from Simca. Julia and Paul Child built a house on Simca's property.

I was fortunate enough to also take classes from Simca. Taking classes meant that you lived in one of the houses on her estate for a week or two and met each morning for a class and the resulting lunch. As it happened, Julia and Paul Child were also encamped at the same time. They were a delightful couple and I have very fond memories of that summer in Provence and my time spent at Simca's.

Usually we had dinner at some wonderful restaurant but there were evenings that we went shopping in the village or Nice for fresh fish and cooked dinner in the very kitchen at served as the laboratory for "Mastering the Arts of French Cooking." A priceless experience.
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