Cooking for Mr. Latte
Originally uploaded by lools.
I picked up Amanda Hesser's recent book at JFK en route to SFO a few months back. The title drew me in and the sub-head "A food lover's courtship, with recipes" hooked me.
This is a tale about food and romance in New York City. Amanda is a New York Times food writer whose courtship with Tad Friend (also a writer), the famous Mr. Latte, is portrayed throughout the pages of the book. As she describes the various stages of their relationship - from their first date to the proposal and wedding - she generously shares recipes from the meals at every occasion. Amanda is a hard-core (if sometimes snobbish) foodie raised on french cooking traditions and thus has quite a few interesting tips for readers on various aspects of cooking and preparing meals for loved ones. Her recipes are supposed to work really well though I haven't tried any of them as yet.
Be forewarned though that this book is not for everyone. There's been a huge anti-Amanda sentiment that seems to have accompanied the release of her book. She is criticized for living too much in an ivory tower and heavily name-dropping Manhattan restaurant names. Some reviewers feel her book is extremely shallow and irrelevant to someone say in Fargo, North Dakota. There's also been much written about what a boring character Mr. Latte is and how Amanda's portrayal of him is bland and lacking emotion.
I'd say that if you're into cooking and know something about Manhattan and the food scene here, give this book a shot. You'll recognize names like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Daniel and Pearl Oyster Bar. You may be tempted by recipes such as "Potatoes with Smoked Paprika" and "Beet and Ginger Soup with Cucucmber". Don't expect too much from the romantic tale though as Amanda hasn't done a good job at all on that front.