Book Review: Cooking for Mr. Latte

by Valerie on November 4, 2008 · 0 comments

Tomorrow’s WCW recipe will be from Cooking for Mr. Latte, so I figured this was good incentive to write about the book itself.

Amanda Hesser wrote Cooking for Mr. Latte over the course of several months. Each chapter was actually initially published as a column in the New York Times Magazine . Food Diaries (and ultimately Cooking for Mr. Latte) chronicles her early relationship with her now-husband Tad. Tad loves his lattes anytime of day, to Amanda’s distress. He even drinks them after dinner.

The horror.

You see, Amanda was the Food Editor of The New York Times Magazine until earlier this year. She met Mr. Latte fairly early in the almost-decade she was Food Editor.

And yes, Amanda is a also bit precious and judgmental. The book’s saving grace is her writing — clever and self-aware. At least Amanda admits that she’s judgmental, and even makes fun of herself for it. If you still don’t like Amanda -which is actually quite understandable – there are some chapters where she is very precious, though those are balanced with chapters where she is actually quite likeable and interesting. But back to topic, the book is worth it for the recipes alone.

I read the book when I lived in Brooklyn. More amusingly, it turns out that Amanda and Mr. Latte lived about a mile from where I lived. Many of the places mentioned in the book are places that I went to myself before I even read the book.

In some ways Amanda is the archetypal city girl — she lives in a small apartment with a tiny kitchen. She goes to work every day and really loves her delicious dining and farmer’s markets and walking a lot and everything a city has to offer. But in other ways her life is much more, well, what most city girls dream of. At least the life that city girls who love good food dream of.

I think it’s worth the read, even if it’s just for the recipes. Each vignette is supplemented with recipes, most of which are quite doable quite easily (some require a bit more time and esoteric ingredients). At this point I have tried several recipes with no disappointments.

So come back tomorrow to read about Lemon Linguini.

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