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Book Report: Cooking for Mr. Latte

June 28, 2005

I finished this book from the library a couple of days ago, and thought I’d give an old-fashioned book report on it for your enjoyment (you’d enjoy that, right?).

Amanda Hesser’s Cooking for Mr. Latte is a memoir of her courtship with a man who initially is not a foodie. I liked the book because the chapters were short, and it read more like short essays or magazine articles. It’s filled with recipes; at least three or four after every chapter. I was able to learn a few things from the book, and am excited about a few of her ideas, such as using cucumber slices topped with roasted bell peppers (and maybe feta?) as canapes.

However, after reading Ruth Reichl’s book, I couldn’t help but compare the two. I found Amanda Hesser’s writing to be a bit snooty, and it was difficult for me to warm up to her and actually care about what happened between her and Mr. Latte. She writes about her irritation with people who don’t appreciate food as much as she does, which I can relate to, but her happiness only comes when she “transforms” them into foodies. One of Reichl’s points in her book was that everyone has different tastes, and different ways of appreciating food. No one person is “correct” in saying that a food is good or bad, or that a particular style of cooking is better or worse. I liked that idea.

That being said, I did enjoy the book for its cute illustrations and occasional funny moments. I didn’t find many recipes that I was really interested in, but I plan on going back through the book and looking at them with a more objective eye. It’s a quick read, and it filled my craving for food writing, but I don’t plan on buying it.

Has anyone out there read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought about it.

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6 Discussion to this post
  1. blackbird says:

    isn’t it magazine articles? I think they are bit published in the NYTimes Magazine…but I could be mistaken. I have read her here and there — she is snooty, but she did write a wonderful piece about cooking with Julia. As in The Julia. She’s okay.
    As for the recipes, I would be very interested in your experiences with them as the NYT is famous for annoying recipes. A friend of mine, a fancy schmancy famous chef, told me very matter of factly that the Times fudges one or two ingrediants or amounts in every recipe they publish so as not to truly duplicate the recipes of celeb chefs. True? who knows, but I have never had total success with a NYT recipe and I can hardly blame myself can I?

  2. Lora says:

    I have not read this, but I was wondering if you’ve had the pleaure of reading “Pass the Polenta” by Teresa Lust. It was a joy.

  3. Crystal says:

    I haven’t read that one yet, but it’s definitely going on my “must read” list!

  4. Sweetnicks says:

    Haven’t read the book yet, but it’s in my nighttable stack, just waiting for me to finish Garlic and Sapphires. :)

  5. Michelle says:

    Just about to finish “The Food of Love” I like it! How do you find all these books? I wouldn’t know what to look for! Making my list right now!

  6. Saffron says:

    I am going to check this book out because even though my boyfriend loves food… he often squirms at the idea of eating more interesting flavours which doesnt exist on a pizza base. I’ll let you know how I find it.

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