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Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife: All the Dishes You'll Need to Make from the Day You Say "I Do" Until Death (or Divorce) Do You Part Paperback – Bargain Price, April 7, 2009

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nava Atlas is an artist and author who is best known for her bestselling vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, including the classic Vegetariana.  She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her huisband and two sons.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introducing the Recipes

Whether you're a new bride or an old hand at marriage, a collection of fresh and fascinating recipes to add to your repertoire is always welcome. And the recipes in this collection are perfect for you, the busy, overextended, and occasionally conflicted modern wife. Enveloped in them are the secrets -- delicious, distressing, and everything in between -- that accompany women on their marital journeys.

Here are recipes you won't find in just any cookbook. As a young wife and mother, you may favor dishes that are as accommodating as you, like Gender Role Casserole and People-Pleasing Tossed Salad (though you'll eventually gravitate to Way Too Much on Your Plate). A few years into marriage, some restlessness and conflict may arise, making "recipes for trouble" mighty appealing. Sample some Beans 'n' Weenies of Sexual Tension, Old Boyfriend Buffet, or Midlife Stress-Stuffed Cabbage.

If yours is one of the 50 percent of marriages that end in divorce, well, you've still got to eat. Choose from an array of dishes that will leave just the bitter aftertaste you'd expect; Grounds-for-Divorce Meat Loaves and Psychotherapy Pie are just two of the recipes for disaster that will serve you well. For dessert, though, be sure to indulge in Sweet Cakes of Hope.

Finally, our recipes for reconciliation and romance are sure to please those who've found contentment and, yes, even happiness, as they've weathered the joys and challenges of family and married life. Even if you've gotten burned on the stove of marital strife, however, these recipes just might inspire you to find someone new and give it another go. So, get comfortable, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and browse through these secret recipes. Some are delectable, others lamentable, but you're sure to find favorites to serve again and again.

Gender Role Casserole
Serves 1 resentful mom

1 adult female, probably you
1 adult male, presumably your husband
Children, as planned or who just happened
Hard-boiled egg wedges and sliced olives for garnish

Combine yourself with your husband. When you are fresh from the altar, swear you'll never fall into stereotypical gender roles. Allow yourselves to marinate until you've spawned some children.

Perform the following functions: boo-boo kissing, tummy ache rubbing, temperature taking, nose wiping, all school-related stuff (field trip chaperoning, teacher conference going, lunch making or lunch money giving, homework supervising, bake sale baking, etc.), car pool organizing, play date arranging, playground going, appointment making (doctors, dentists, haircuts, music lessons, etc.), meal planning, food and clothing shopping, social organizing, form filling, summer camp arranging, laundry doing, bed making, snack preparing, party giving and going, gift buying, and on and on until you're ready to puke.

Observe your husband at the following: spending increasing amounts of time at work and/or work-related travel, becoming inordinately interested in sports or the Internet, performing occasional minor house repairs, emptying the garbage, and taking sporadic care of the children.

Complain that said husband promised to be an equal partner in domestic duties, upon which he patronizingly explains that since he is earning more money, you should logically take on most of the household and child-care duties. Wonder how you turned into your mother (or grandmother, if your mother was part of feminist movement). Arrange eggs and olives over the top.

Copyright © 2009 by Nava Atlas


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416580840
  • ASIN: B002RAR3Q0
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,712,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nava Atlas is the author and illustrator of many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, most recently Wild About Greens, Vegan Holiday Kitchen, Vegan Express, and Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. Her earlier books include Vegetarian Family Cookbook and The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet.

In addition to cookbooks, Nava also produces visual nonfiction books including The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life (2011;, exploring first-person narratives on the writing lives of twelve classic women authors, and commenting on the universal relevance of their experiences to all women who love to write. Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife (2009) is a satiric look at contemporary marriage and motherhood through the lens of a faux 1950s cookbook.

Nava is also an active fine artist specializing in limited edition artist's books and text-driven objects. Her work is shown and collected by museums and universities across the U.S. You can see her work at Her home is in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, where she lives with her husband and two sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By a2020 on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a cute humor book written as a parody of a cookbook. Perhaps I should've looked a little closer, but from the VegNews review and product blurb I was expecting a vegan cookbook with a bit of humor - maybe like a vegetarian version of Amy Sedaris's entertaining book, with some adapted versions of the riotous '50s recipe booklets filled with casseroles and jello salads.. I'll have to keep waiting for somebody to write that. Instead, this is a humor book without any actual recipes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on April 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was so much fun . . . from the recipe for Way Too Much On Your Plate (which I eat daily!) to the Soufflé of Fallen Expectations, Control Freak Cookies, Midlife Stress Stuffed Cabbage, and Sweet Cakes of Hope -- there are recipes to suit every mood and pallet. A departure from Atlas's healthy, vegetarian cookbooks--this is full of black humor, hideous fifties food pictures, and a laugh (or sometimes a cry) on every page.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Holly VINE VOICE on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
When the opportunity to review this little gem came, I wasn't sure what to expect. Was it really a recipe book? Was it a bash on marriage? I'm pleased to say it was, for the most part, a delight.

The subtitle says, "All the Dishes You'll Need to Make from the Day You Say 'I Do' Until Death (or Divorce) Do You Part". With recipes like, "Sweethearts Engagement Buffet" and "Way Too Much on Your Plate", Nava has a fun take on marriage. There was a bit more criticism of husbands than I like, but hidden in the snark and sarcasm are also little tidbits about the rewards of a good marriage.

The book is full of great retro 50s art and advertising. There is something in it for everyone: whether you're a newlywed, a tired mommy, heading for divorce, or married to a good man who is like corn and has traits like these--maturity, tenderness, consistency and endurance. A light, easy read, and while I have nothing to complain about in my marriage, or about my husband, I laughed my way through it.

My favorite recipe? "Happily-Ever-After Ambrosia".
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara McPhail on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Nava Atlas has illuminated the very ingredients in our lives that both make us crazy and bring us to uproarious laughter at ourselves and our situations. Every individual in my family could find a recipe to identify with, and one to identify someone else with! Ingenious, witty and revealing, these recipes will last you through (or outlast) your family crises.
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