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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Food as nourishment, food as love, and food as reflection of a changing sense of self: These are the themes that Sharon Boorstin explores in this baby-boomer memoir -- with recipes -- that celebrates the connection between food and friendship. (Think Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but younger, in the kitchen.)
Sharon Boorstin grew up in Seattle in the '50s, raised on pot roasts, tuna casserole, and her grandmother's blintzes. By the time she had graduated from college in the '60s and recovered from a broken engagement, she and her best friend spent hours making fancy French food -- brandied stuffed chicken legs and French apple tart spiked with Calvados -- to impress their dates.
Boorstin's early married years were the fondue years, with escargots bourguignonne as appetizer. By the time Boorstin became a teacher in an alternative school in the '70s, brown rice and salad greens were on the menu. Come the '80s, she found herself as a food writer at the epicenter of the food revolution in Los Angeles; Spago had just opened, and people thrilled to its pizzas and California cuisine.
This memoir was inspired by Boorstin's discovering an old loose-leaf notebook that dated from the beginning of her marriage; it contained Irma's Tandoori Chicken, Aunt Hannah's Chocolate Cheesecake, and Mary Ann's Grapes Brulée. That prompted Boorstin to reflect on girlfriends from the different stages of her life: friends from childhood and newer friends met through the food profession, like Barbara Lazaroff of Spago, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (the Two Hot Tamales), and Suzy (Born to Shop) Gershman.
"When it comes right down to it, " concludes Boorstin, "a woman really is the sum of all the friends she has had in her life." Her book will strike a responsive chord with many readers, especially those who cook with their friends. (Ginger Curwen)