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Recipes for Disaster: A Memoir Hardcover – October 30, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250011434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250011435
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,087,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Between her book’s title and several statements in the introduction like Cookbooks should have a whole chapter on dealing with disappointment, Rafferty may trick readers into thinking she’s a comedy writer (TV’s The Soup) first and foremost before she reveals she’s equally talented in the kitchen. In this part entertaining manual, part memoir of the entertainment industry that will please entertainment junkies and foodies alike, Rafferty touches on the L.A. stand-up scene, her early exploration of which drew her attention to cooking out of pure necessity. She includes basic tips that no one ever tells you—choose one soda option for guests, don’t attempt a new recipe when you have a crowd to impress and a canon of tried and true favorites—and advice that seasoned entertainers will find useful. Recipes, from braised short ribs over polenta to apple pie (because store bought is for people who don’t love their boyfriends), come with conversational, detailed descriptions. Rafferty, who herself can’t have fruit or many vegetables, also includes tips for accommodating food allergies. --Annie Bostrom

Review

"There is so much I could relate to in Tess's funny, touching and wise book, …except the parts about struggling to make it in Hollywood, having to cook for myself and actually paying for things (oh, by the way, thanks for the free book.)"--Joel McHale

"This book combines two of my favorite things: food and parties that end with people crying."--Whitney Cummings, comedienne and star of NBC’s “Whitney”

"Tess Rafferty doesn't take any of it too seriously—the food, or the failures. I like that about her."--Giulia Melucci, author of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

"This delectable book is a culinary memoir for those of us who love food but don't always know exactly when the turkey is safe to eat.  Not since the disastrous dinner parties of the classic Mary Tyler Moore show has a sultry brunette more adorably fumbled her way through the kitchen.  If you love Laurie Colwin or Nora Ephron, there's a new witty cook in town you must read: Tess Rafferty. Bon Appetit!”—Cathryn Michon, author of The Grrl Genius Guide to Life

"Reading RECIPES FOR DISASTER is like being at a terrific dinner party, chock full of comfort foods and lots (and lots) of wine.  Tess Rafferty serves up delicious Hollywood stories that are sometimes heartwarming and always hilarious."--Adena Halpern, author of 29, and Pinch Me


More About the Author


For 7 1⁄2 years Tess Rafferty wrote on the cult comedy show The Soup, where she skewered pop culture, parodied celebrities and helped her co-workers pick out gifts for their wives. She was frequently seen on camera as herself, Posh Spice, a Succubus, a "Guidette" from Jersey Shore, and perhaps most notably The Dancing Maxi Pad. Her first feature film, Thicker Than Water, is scheduled to begin filming in early 2013.
While at Emerson College, Tess started performing stand up comedy at the clubs and Chinese restaurants around Boston, and, when not holding herself to ridiculous standards at dinner parties or learning to speak Italian, continues to perform stand up in Los Angeles. She is also a regular performer at the storytelling show, Public School, and frequently reads her essays at the Pez show. She can also be seen discussing pop culture on the TV Guide Channel and VH1.
A drinking "enthusiast," Tess enjoys wine, specifically good wine. She's tasted wine from the Napa Valley to Long Island to the island of Ischia, and at every airport bar in between. Her travels have led to an appreciation of good food, which she attempts to bring home and recreate for her friends, with varying degrees of success.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their three ungrateful cats, a modest wine collection and a pool. So nothing bad can happen here.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
And for anyone who both eats and reads... it is a sublime gift.
Kissy Dugan
What it comes down to is this - if you love food, and you love laughing, and especially if you love wine, you will love this book.
Colleen Monaghan
Great book, I laughed out loud often and smiled as I read every page.
Donald Hamilton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MikeMostly on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maybe I don't relate to the trials and tribulations faced by Ms. Tess but I thought there would be more to this book than a series of stories about dinner parties she's held. I also thought that as she was a writer for The Soup this book would be wildly hilarious but aside from a cheeky funny comment here and there it for the most part was not. She does have some brilliant dinner party ideas (like the grilled cheese station) and I will admit I made a few of the recipes she gave and they turned out great. All in all, it wasn't a terrible read but wasn't anywhere near what I had hoped for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Colleen Monaghan on November 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was eager to read Tess's memoir since I have known her since the prologue of the book and the high school dinner party. The book was lively and entertaining; I am willing to bet that the high school dinner party was too, though it was too long ago for me to remember. Tess's voice and humor shine loud and clear through the whole book, and it's encouraging to read that dinner parties *can* be as difficult to pull off as they have been for me - it's NOT just me. I plan to use the included recipes, especially for braising meats, since I usually manage only to braise them into dryness.

What it comes down to is this - if you love food, and you love laughing, and especially if you love wine, you will love this book. Promise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Danica Sheridan on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Surprisingly touching book about relationships set against the backdrop of neurosis-fueled food prep. The author clearly works hard for her friends, her job, and her sanity. SO funny & frank I forgot I was reading a book in which every chapter ends in a recipe. Reminds me a bit of how Fannie Flagg uses food in her novels. And, I think that is the point. The dinners depicted in RECIPES FOR DISASTER are catalysts for character. This device allows us to get to know the protagonist through her many dealings with the varied guests at her table. Fun & full of heart (as well a some stinging witticism). If you enjoyed the SHOPAHOLIC books you'll love this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah L. Wesch on June 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The book is well-written and the recipes and cooking tips look sound, but I just wasn't interested in reading about dinner parties in L.A. And while the author seems like a fun, clever person, I didn't find the book particularly funny. Or touching. Or edifying. It was only my compulsive need to finish books that got me through to the end.

Nothing wrong with the book, it's just a bad fit for me. To give more context, I like memoirs that trace family history, explore cultures and the meaning of food. Some of my favorites are The Language of Baklava and Climbing the Mango Trees. This book might be for you if you have a more similar lifestyle to the author (loves food and throwing parties, comedy writer, living in L.A., perhaps friends with the author.) I do love throwing parties, and tend to get into some of the same dilemmas as the author in terms of trying to do too much, but even that wasn't enough to help me connect with the book.

Again, the book is well-written and the recipes/tips are solid. The author seems like a fun person. Maybe this book will be for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on September 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
I was pretty excited to read this after seeing so many five star reviews on here and learning that Tess is a writer for The Soup. I need a good, funny, light-hearted read right now. Instead, I was left feeling the same as the reviewer who wrote, "Meh." This book didn't really do it for me. Since it's titled "Recipes for Disaster," I was expecting hilarious stories of dinner parties gone wrong. But that's not really what the book is about. It's about dinner parties for sure, and some of them do go wrong, but many of them go just fine. And for whatever reason, Tess's style of humor just didn't really strike my funny bone. The book wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. The most amusing thing about it was that I checked it out from my local library, and someone who had the book before me was a total grammar Nazi. They had no reservations about writing in the book to add missing commas (which there are a surprising number of), and they also felt very strongly that "whip cream" should be called "whipped cream."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Krakauer on November 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tess Rafferty's often heart breaking but always heart warming "Recipes for Disaster" felt like it was written for me. Maybe it was.

I opened this book expecting to find fun recipes and cute anecdotes. I expected to laugh, because on stage, on the small screen and in real life, Tess has always made me laugh. What I didn't expect was the intricate weave of philosophy, unspeakable loss, family dysfunction, friends and friendships of all iterations explored amid a backdrop of food. What I should have, but didn't expect, was to be so captivated by foods I always knew existed and a person I thought I knew really well.

I mean, who knew that Tess couldn't eat fruit?

This book is truly delightful and will make you want to laugh and cry but you'll wait to do both because you'll want to run into the kitchen and cook something and then call five friends to share it with.

My late husband loved meat loaf, which I didn't make often enough. Of course, even if I'd served it three meals a day for our all-too-short time together it wouldn't have been enough. Of all of the people who came in and out of my life, only one of them understood my meat loaf regret. In fact, she told me that it changed her life. That person, of course, was Tess Rafferty.

Speaking about creating a meal and sharing it with friends, Tess reminds us to keep it light by cautioning: "You're not taking a tumor out of a child's brain." And yet, after reading this book, you'll believe that Tess could probably manage to do that. And more importantly, reading this book will make you feel like you can too.
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