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The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food Paperback – October 14, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The title of this testament to one woman's appetite comes from Brillat-Savarin, who wrote of a 10th muse—Gasterea, goddess of the pleasures of taste. Many food writers would argue that this 10th muse is actually Judith Jones. For nearly half a century, Jones, an editor of literary fiction and a senior vice-president at Knopf, has served as midwife to some of the most culturally significant cookbooks of our time, introducing readers to newly discovered talents like Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey and Claudia Roden, to name but a few. In this quiet, spare memoir, set against the shifting landscape of modern cookery in America, Jones reveals herself to be every bit as evangelical about good food and honest cooking as her authors, locating the points where her relationships with these writer-gastronomes and her own gustatory education converged. She ran an illegal restaurant in Paris, learned from Julia Child to de-tendon a goose (a set of maneuvers involving a broomstick), received a tutorial in fresh-bagged squirrel from Edna Lewis and counted James Beard among her mentors. At the end, the book is tinged with sadness over the decline of serious home cooking and the current fixation on dishing up fast and easy mediocrities. But Jones's belief in the primordial importance of cooking well is ultimately inspiring, and it fires these pages as it has fired her life. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Judith Jones, now a senior editor and vice president at Knopf, has long been a major force in the cookbook world. Her foodie fans might not know that she also played a role in bringing Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl to America or that she has edited literary stars like John Updike and Anne Tyler. Two reviewers faulted Joness style, but none denied her interesting and influential career. Indeed, if it werent for Jones, American consumers might have a hard time purchasing such basics as fresh garlic. Therein lies the challenge in interpreting the critics reviews: the critics were all so busy admiring Joness life that they didnt have as much to say about the book itself. Though Jones is a major power in the publishing word, this memoir is not as wide-ranging as, say, Michael Kordas Another Life. She tells delightful stories, but she sticks to the food, and her readers this time around should be mainly those who are inclined to do the same.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This book is a good reminder that writers like Child meant their recipes to make good cooking accessible and do-able, an idea that sometimes gets forgotten in the aftermath of rather stupid books (the film is much better) like "Julie and Julia," whose author makes a point of pretending that the recipes in Mastering the Art are difficult and fussy, the better to write blog posts. There are a lot of people (I include myself) who learned to cook by following Child's impeccable instructions. Try her zucchini tian (Mastering 2) or the beef bourguignon (Mastering 1).
Along those lines, there is a sizable appendix in "The Tenth Muse" of simple recipes, some of them drawn from Jones's Yankee forbears and others (the most charming) designed for a person who is cooking for one. She is fierce on the topic of not wasting food and of weaving today's main dish into inspired leftovers.
I quite liked the person who wrote this little memoir. I wish she'd make me dinner.