The Lure and Allure of the Food World

Like her previous book, M. F. K. Fisher and Me, Jeannette Ferrary’s new memoir, Out of the Kitchen—Adventures of a Food Writer, is filled with humor and enthusiasm about life in the food world. In her cosmos, it’s a world that begins in earliest childhood with incidents that reveal the power of food in its many guises: in the inner sanctum of her grandmother’s kitchen, at the automat, in the middle of the street with the ice cream man.

A born storyteller, the author recounts her journey into adulthood as a sequence of episodes from Brooklyn to Bogota to the California dream. The stories are both delightfully funny and disarmingly insightful in their understanding of how strongly food affects one’s sense of self.

Along the way, she resolves the conflict between her deep respect for food as heritage and legacy and her suspicion that all interest in food and cooking must be avoided by any woman with aspirations for a career outside the kitchen. In fact, it is only in the wake of a marital break-up that the author finds herself free to pursue interests that were on hold during marriage. As she embarks on these adventures—including Simone Beck’s cooking classes in the south of France, Craig Claiborne’s birthday party in East Hampton, Long Island, and the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Mondavi-Rothschild winery in Napa Valley—she meets and introduces the reader to major food world personalities from Alice Waters and Judy Rodgers to Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. In this personal odyssey, she takes us along with her to discover, to laugh, to embrace, and, thanks to a nice little cache of hunger-provoking recipes, to taste.

She creates a life for herself as a writer whose output eventually includes regular monthly columns for The New York Times, food-related articles for dozens of publications, and eight full-length books. Her highly readable style, mouthwatering food descriptions, and penchant for good-humored irreverence have been likened to those of M. F. K. Fisher.

This is the story of a woman caught up in the romance of her subject and giddily in love with language. Ultimately it’s an inspiration and an exhortation about following one’s dream and having fun doing it.

Jeannette Ferrary is the author of eight books, including M. F. K. Fisher and Me: A Memoir of Food and Friendship. Sweet Onions and Sour Cherries, co-authored with Louise Fiszer, was nominated for the Julia Child Cookbook Award by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Her columns, articles, and restaurant reviews have appeared in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, many magazines and newspapers and many culinary publications, including Gastronomica, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and the Journal of Gastronomy. A member of IACP, the San Francisco Professional Food Society, and Dames d’Escoffier, she teaches food writing at Stanford University and UC Berkeley Extension in San Francisco.

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Out of the Kitchen
Adventures of a Food Writer

Jeannette Ferrary
ISBN 1-880284-78-2
240 pages, paperback, $15.00

Publication Date: October 2004

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