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Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen Paperback – May 22, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Hot sex, looking good, scoring journalistic triumphs . . . nothing made Alyssa love herself enough until she learned to cook. There's a racy plot and a surprising moral in this intimate and delicious book.”
—GAEL GREENE, creator of Insatiable-Critic.com and author of Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess

“I loved this book. It’s partly a cautionary tale about getting involved with young career-driven men and a love story about a woman and the city she loves and leaves and loves again. And finally, it’s about good friends, a loving family, and the importance and good fortune Alyssa has for having both. Oh, and there’s a great recipe for mac and cheese.”
—JOHN DELUCIE, chef/proprietor The Lion, Crown restaurants, and author of The Hunger: A Memoir of an Accidental Chef
 
“Part memoir, part cookbook, Alyssa’s writing is honest, witty, and disarming—a compelling journey of a girl becoming her own woman. Though she experiences love and loss, she finds her sweetest days where she least expects it—within herself in the kitchen. With that, Alyssa encourages even the most kitchen phobic to turn on the oven.” 
—DANYELLE FREEMAN, founder of RestaurantGirl.com and author of Try This: Traveling the Globe Without Leaving the Table

“Shelasky's memoir is a zesty read about dating, family, and self-discovery.”
–ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

"Amusing, compassionate story of love among the pots and pans."
—KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Shelasky’s energetic memoir looks at her experiences as celebrity journalist turned food blogger and the relationships that sparked her passion for cooking… Shelasky is candid about her misadventures and, in a charming touch, includes related recipes at the close of each chapter.”
—BOOKLIST

“Alyssa Shelasky’s unpretentious prose leaves us hungry for more.” DAILY CANDY

“Here’s your summer racy read with plenty of juicy gossip to keep a foodie’s interest.”
–CHARLESTON POST & COURIER

About the Author

ALYSSA SHELASKY is the New York editor of Grub Street at New York magazine, as well as the creator of the blog Apron Anxiety (ApronAnxiety.com). She has written for numerous publications including People, Us Weekly, Hamptons Style, Gotham, Self, Blackbook, TV Guide, The New York Post, New York magazine, CBS's Watch magazine, and Glamour magazine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307952142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307952141
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
So, I have to start out by saying that my disappointment with this book is largely my own fault. For whatever reason, I keep picking up books by privileged rich girls from New York City, who have inexplicably decided that their lives are so fascinating that they need to write 300 pages about their plucky adventures navigating romance/career/drugs/whatever in the "Big City." I find the authors self-absorbed, whiny, and boring. Their lives are not interesting. They have nothing profound to say. Why do I keep reading their books, then? I don't know. But after reading Shelasky's book, I can finally say - I think I'm done.

I never read Shelasky's blog, Apron Anxiety, or Grub Street before picking up this book, so I had to go do some background reading before I wrote this review. I think I am even more baffled than before. Both the blog, and the fluffy bits of foodie writing, are far from what I would call enduring works of literary importance, but Shelasky talks in the book like what she does is akin to documenting the atrocities of Cambodian genocide. I also had to look up some pictures of Shelasky herself, because from the descriptions of herself she coyly gives in the book, I was expecting some goddess; a Venus who has men dropping at her feet to worship her and beg for crumbs from her table. Let's just say her pictures don't really help me understand the book either, and leave it at that.

Here's Apron Anxiety in a nutshell: overprivileged, overbored, overconfident die-hard NYC party girl bounces around meeting celebrities as a gossip reporter (and you'll get to find out about EVERY celebrity she ever talked to, because she puts their names in the book). Then she engineers a meeting with a chef from a reality show she thinks is cute, and they end up going out.
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Format: Paperback
My husband bought me this book as I love books about food and books about people who love food. I must confess I did not finish this book, but I gave it a good try (90+ pages.) She starts off telling us about her fun and quirky family and then it all goes down from there. THe author is so self-absorbed, so full of herself, it's really a bit stunning. She is truly an unlikeable person and it's hard to root for someone who is so unpleasant. Her treatment of Gary (5 year relationship) is terrible...but it turns out he just wasn't inspiring enough for her and she decides she will only date men who inspire her. In NYC she met men absolutely everywhere. In Washington, no one notices her and she is stunned that men in the nation's capital aren't falling all over themselves to get to her. From the photo on the back of her book, she looks like an attractive woman, but she is no stunner. The way she talks about herself, you image she must be cover model material. SPOILER! I flipped to the back of the book...wanting to know if somehow she'd revealed some healthy introspection by the end of the story. Nope! It's no surprise that the author is still single. She is way too picky and annoying. While she tells us that she's ended most of these relationships, it's impossible not to wonder if that's really true. This book was so terrible that I'm convinced that all the 5 star ratings are ratings by the author herself or friends. (Positive note: she obviously is a skilled writer. She's worked as a professional writer and editor and it shows. Unfortunately, she decided to write a tedious memoir instead of a clever work of fiction.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author spends a lot of time describing her incredible talents, her good looks, her ability to attract any man, and her amazing friends & family - to a nauseating degree. At first I couldn't decide if the author was narcissistic or extremely insecure but I'm going to go with the latter because who else would incessantly call/text/email their boyfriend for reassurance, knowing that he was incredibly busy opening a restaurant. (I would love to hear Spike's side).

I cringed through most of this book and kept waiting for the point where she gained some self-awareness.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really wish I'd read the reviews before I ponied up the ten dollars for this piece of garbage. My feeling after reading it is not unlike that of wasting 1,000 calories on a crappy muffin.

I love food memoirs -- I seek them out, but this isn't a memoir worthy of publishing. This should have been sold as a summary of her relationship with a TV chef and how she learned to cook because of it. That's all it was: a summary. There were no sordid, fun details that you might have hoped for based on the title. The whole thing seemed a bit narcissistic, frankly. Case in point: "Some people would call me a hot girl. Others would call me a hot mess. I consider myself something in between." Barf.

If you're into food memoirs, SKIP IT. If you're into reading, AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE.
I was unimpressed enough to not want to read her blog. She's impressed with herself enough for both of us anyway.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen is exactly what is sets out to be: a memoir from a 30-something blogger who was inspired to cook and bake as a means of empowering herself when her personal relationship went down the tubes.

It's a little awkward for me to read a memoir of someone about my age, both in terms of "why can't I relate to this person who is my peer" and also "I'm 31 and I apparently have done nothing with my life". But once I got past both of those, I found it to be an enjoyable airplane/quick read. Yes, Alyssa is self-absorbed, shallow, and apparently wealthier than I'll ever be, but she doesn't promote the book as anything other than snark and fluff, which it is.

The book reads quickly and entertainingly, although shifts tense and is definitely in the narcissistic born-of-a-blog style (ala Julie and Julia). Alyssa and I have virtually nothing in common, but she is as honest as, I suppose, she can be given her biased first-person perspective. And I like that she doesn't gloss over the fact that she had learning and growing to do in her twenties and thirties.

Although Alyssa came to food unconventionally, it's clear that she found comfort and empowerment in preparing it, as so many of us foodies do. Although, now I hesitate to use the word, considering the negative connotation she associates with it (apparently, in New York, snobster gastronomers in the "food scene" who are rude use the term...and here I thought it just meant "someone who enjoys culinary adventures"). It wasn't a deep read, or an eye-opening one, just the casual story of one gal's relationship and food messes and how she became (sort of) her own person.

I recommend this book for fans of blogger success stories, coming-of-age true life stories, young person memoirs, an interesting perspective on East Coast life, and fans of self-aware comedy writing. Also, if you want a quick and easy read.
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