Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner

(An introductory note: It seems as if this book is only available for the Kindle. Sorry non-Kindle owners… great excuse to go out and buy one of the new ones though!)

While perusing authors on Twitter, I found Jenny Gardiner.  After I followed her, she tweeted me telling me to check out her new book.  I was looking for something new to read (when am I not?) and so I downloaded it right then!  After we got to tweeting a bit, I found out she is also originally from Pittsburgh!  Small world (at least in Western Pennsylvania!).  Gotta support a fellow ‘Burgher.

In “Slim to None“, Abbie is a famous New York food critic.  She reports anonymously until one day her unflattering picture shows up on the cover of Page Six while she’s stuffing her face.  First, her cover is blown, and second, her weight becomes and issue and her boss wants her to step down from her position until she can lose some weight and he assigns her to write a column instead.  Abbie is devastated.  Her husband, William, is actually kind of happy that she is no longer a critic because she won’t be going out every night and he thinks that maybe they can now move out of the city to start a family.  Abbie resents that as well as the fact that she thinks he also wants her to lose weight, even though he says he loves her just the way she is.  She wants her job back as a critic (and hates the guy who replaced her) and decides the only thing she can do is start going to the gym and going on a diet.

While she does begin to lose weight and start feeling better, she’s having more and more trouble in her marriage and even gets paranoid that William is having an affair with a skinnier, prettier woman.  She also begins to suspect that she was set up and “outed” by someone to the restaurants that she used to review.  Throughout these other issues that Abbie is dealing with, she is also contacted by her father who walked out on Abbie and her mother when she was younger.  She has never forgiven him and now she doesn’t know whether she wants to give him another chance.  One bright spot is George, a homeless man who Abbie brings food to.  Abbie opens up to him about her problems and gets a huge surprise when she hears about his situation.

I thought this was a good book; Abbie seemed very easy to identify with and I really felt bad for the situations she was in.  I found myself cheering for her (in my head, of course, not out loud) when something good happened to her.  The story was written in a way that was very easy to read and not want to put down.  Also, Jenny Gardiner added in some really yummy looking recipes after some of the chapters!  That is always a bonus.

Jenny Gardiner is the author of two other books (both that I want to read now!).  The one that I definitely must read is “Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me“.  You know how I love animal books.  I don’t know much about birds but I’m intrigued by them.  Plus the cover of the book is just so darn cute.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously/365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

It seems as if there are several different subtitles to this book – not sure if they are all the same or have minor differences.  The one I read on my Kindle was the “365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” version, however the main one for sale on Amazon is the “Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously” version.

Everyone keeps telling me how cute the movie is.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I just read the book over Christmas.  I much prefer to read a book rather than see the movie version anyway.  I like envisioning the characters and situations in my mind the way that I want to and when I see a movie based on a book that I’ve read, I’m always disappointed.

When I had first seen the trailer for the movie, I thought it looked kind of silly and I had no interest in seeing the movie or reading the book.  Well, I got curious.  I really enjoyed this book; it was much better than I expected.  The way that Julie Powell writes makes it very easy for the reader to identify with her as an average person and makes it totally believable.  I’ve personally never read any of Julia Child’s cookbooks and I’ve never seen her on TV (although I do know who she is).  I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of Julie’s descriptions of her cooking situations; she wrote honestly and candidly and it doesn’t hurt to throw some curse words in there too for emphasis (even though I guess a lot of people didn’t like that).  I found what appears to be her original blog: The Julie/Julia Project and plan on reading through it to get a better feel for what she really went through during that year of cooking.  Her adventure of blogging back before it was popular was also inspiring.

One thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the incorporation of Julia Child herself into the book; the letters/journal from her husband seemed a little detached from the story and I found myself skimming over those parts pretty quickly.  I wonder if that was different in the movie; in the previews, it seemed like Meryl Streep was incorporated more into the movie.  I would have liked to see more detail about Julia Child’s life and experiences.  That was touched on in certain parts, but I didn’t really learn anything new about her that I hadn’t known before.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes a fun, easy read, and if you like to cook, I’m sure that’s a plus (I didn’t understand some of the cooking terminology but that’s not important to the actual story).  However, I don’t think I’d like to actually eat any of the recipes that she made… most of them sounded pretty gross but apparently tasted better than they looked.

I found another book by Julie Powell called “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession” which is a follow-up to “Julie and Julia” that focuses on Julie’s new hobby/obsession of butchery.  The reviews on Amazon aren’t very good but I might give it a read anyway.

Bon appetit!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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