“Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”

Kitchen Confidential


I did not have any exposure to Anthony Bourdain until his later television programs; The Layover and Parts Unknown. I have to say I much prefer the older more introspective and thoughtful version of Mr. Bourdain. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy his first book thoroughly. While the younger chef is certainly more brash, he’s still clearly a smart, engaging and thoughtful writer who does not shy away from sharing some of his lowest career moments with his readers.

Before Anthony Bordain was all over our televisions trying meats of questionable origin from all corners of the world, he was just a work-a-day chef in kitchens throughout the eastern seaboard. Kitchen Confidential is the story of his early years; how he first became a “foodie” during a family trip to France, his early years as an inexperienced but overly cocky young chef and his various ups and downs (including a heroin addiction) to become head chef at Les Halles in New York City. He also offers various tips on getting the most out of your fine dining experience. I’m not sure if his advice is still accurate seventeen years later, but this book made me want to do a Cook’s Tour of Manhattan.

I love food memoirs and “Kitchen Confidential” is definitely one of the most famous. While it didn’t make me want to be a chef like “My Life in France” made me want to move to Provence, it’s a solid, well written and fun memoir.

“Life itself is the proper binge”

my life in france


This book will remain forever on my shelf as something to read when I need to feel better about life, or for when I am feeling somewhat directionless. Julia Child’s memoir spoke to me on an extremely deep level. I already knew I loved her, now I idolize her. Watching her jump fearlessly from life in a foreign country in which she barely spoke the language, to cooking, to “cookery bookery” and finally into hosting a cooking show without allowing fear to hold her back is inspiring. I don’t typically use language like this for book reviews but I fell in love with this one from the first chapter.

“My Life in France” details Julia’s life from the time she arrived in France with her husband Paul for his job with OSIS through her return to the United States and the publication of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” volumes 1 and 2. Julia’s excitement and love for the nation of France and it’s people is evident from the start. Though told chronologically, it is more a series of memories about a pivotal time in her life. Though it is not without conflict, Julia does not dwell too much on the more difficult aspects of her life. She and Paul viewed most inconveniences and discomforts as part of a great adventure rather than anything to fret over.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Julia Child’s memoir is inspiring and lovely to read.

We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes



Furiously Happy is hilarious, fast paced, sad and sometimes exhausting to read. Often you are feeling one more of these emotions at once. I suspect this is sometimes what it’s like to be Jenny Lawson, a well known blogger who has written frankly about her struggles with mental illness. The title is inspired by a blog post Ms. Lawson made when she was in the depths of depression in which she vowed to be “furiously happy” during the times her brain wasn’t trying to kill her.

I have never battled severe mental or physical illness. I’ve lucked into relatively good health despite some stunningly bad life choices. Still, I found Furiously Happy eminently relatable. All of us have been tripped up by our own brain before. All of us have dark places we go in our own head sometimes. And all of us sometimes feel as if we’re just faking being adults and will be discovered and called out for the imposter that we are at any moment. (Right…guys?)

I have not read Jenny Lawson’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. In fact, that book was actually on my To Be Read list when this one showed up on Kindle for $1.99. Let’s Pretend is now being moved up in priority. So…I may get it read some time in the next year.