The Pleasure Is All Mine: Selfish Food for Modern Life (PagePerfect NOOK Book)

The Pleasure Is All Mine: Selfish Food for Modern Life (PagePerfect NOOK Book)

by Suzanne Pirret

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With The Pleasure is All Mine, anyone can enjoy a Steak au Poivre with Frites, Three-Cheese Ravioli, Coconut Fish Curry with Homemade Naan Bread, or a Wild Blueberry Free-Form Tart without the expense and hassle of restaurants or fussy dinner guests. The 100 uncomplicated, exquisite recipes in this collection are simple to prepare and require no fancy

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With The Pleasure is All Mine, anyone can enjoy a Steak au Poivre with Frites, Three-Cheese Ravioli, Coconut Fish Curry with Homemade Naan Bread, or a Wild Blueberry Free-Form Tart without the expense and hassle of restaurants or fussy dinner guests. The 100 uncomplicated, exquisite recipes in this collection are simple to prepare and require no fancy equipment. With just a skillet, bowl, knife, and a few perfect ingredients, Pirret makes great solo dining effortless-and she offers inspired wine and cocktail pairings, too, to make dinner complete. Edgy and bursting with personality, The Pleasure is All Mine is also filled with a wealth of devilishly entertaining stories based on her experiences living in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and London.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Pirret, a Harvard-trained actor and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu who once worked as Jamie Oliver's pastry chef, describes her "naughty" cookbook as one that "doesn't take itself too seriously." The recipes (geared to singles) are interspersed between Pirret's recollections of eating at restaurants with friends and lovers, cooking for guests, and other life experiences. Although most of the recipes are not difficult, they assume some experience in a kitchen. The ingredients may be too expensive for some singles-e.g., lobster, foie gras, truffles. Yet comfort dishes like mac 'n' cheese and fish and chips are also included. Wine and beer recommendations accompany the recipes. The "Bare Bones Cupboard" she details is just that-sea salt, peppercorns, extra virgin olive oil, 70-percent dark chocolate, bread, butter, eggs, cheese, herbs, lemons, and alcohol. Even if you are not single and don't like to cook, this is an entertaining book. Recommended for public libraries with a sophisticated, liberal clientele.
—Christine Bulson

Washington Post
“Intoxicatingly indulgent… Cooking for yourself doesn’t need to be about self-deprivation or about you’re-not-worth-anything-better recipes… Pirret’s hilarious recipe headnotes, fictional interludes and essays are worth the price of the book even if you don’t make a single one of the dishes.”
Wall Street Journal
“A collection of 100 excellent recipes-for-one…. [Suzanne Pirret] displays a disarming blend of naked egotism, self-deprecating humor and, most important, a keen understanding of good cooking. While many of Ms. Pirret’s recipes are sophisticated, they can all be produced in real-world kitchen conditions.”
“Back away from the frozen pizza. Suzanne Pirret’s cheeky new book offers elegant, decadent dishes for one.”
“The type of book one can curl up with and read as well as take to the kitchen and actually use.... Refreshingly casual and conversational.... I’m inspired to get back to the kitchen and treat myself to more home-cooked meals.”
Marie Claire (UK)
“A wickedly funny manifesto for the hungry single girl that makes solo dining effortless as well as fabulous, with musings on the catering industries of New York, LA, Paris and London, where Pirret was a chef at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Fifteen.”

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The Pleasure Is All Mine

Selfish Food for Modern Life

By Suzanne Pirret
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Suzanne Pirret
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061687129

Chapter One

The Sick Handshake

Getting a Reservation in Any Language

To some extent, restaurants did replace nightclubs, and restaurant-going became a kind of competitive sport . . . being able to get reservations in a particular place is an indicator of your position in the [Manhattan] social hierarchy.
Jay McInerney in The Observer (London)

New York City

It's 8:30 P.M. and while I'm walking into a restaurant in the meatpacking district (not my first choice), two women knock me over as they make their way to the host stand.

"But, like we just wanna couple a steaks for chrissakes! My PA just spoke to Brian this mawning who knew we'd only be in the city for like, a few ow-uz t'nite! Cuz like, I need my Learjet refueled in Teeta-burrow? I mean, like, we just flew in from Hotel dew Cap. Ever been? I didn't think so. Anyway, we gotta be in Palm Beach by, like, midnight? I mean like, I could buy this place and now, like, my driver is double-parked in front of Soho House, like, wade-ing for us? I mean, like, hel-lo? Are you kidding me, guy?"

"I'm sorry, but we're fully committed," the host deadpanned.

Fully committed? What a peculiar rebuff.Anyway, I watched the display of these poor ladies and thought to myself, "Thank the fine Lord that I have my reservation." Well, actually it was my dinner companion's reservation. She had been given the "secret reservation number" because she happened to chew on a piece of glass there one night.

"We're setting up your table now," he said to us. "It'll be a few minutes. If you'd like to have a drink at the bar, we'll find you when your table is ready." The B‑and-T ladies stormed out in a huff.

"Find" was the operative word. The bar was four-deep. We decided to hover by the stand for those few minutes. Just then, a little man with many gold chains and a giraffe-like woman draped over him walked up to the stand. Her hips were just in line with the plugs at the top of his forehead, which she stroked lovingly. He shook the host's hand for a few seconds longer than necessary as he leaned in and introduced himself. One minute later they were escorted to a corner banquette. Our banquette. We were told it would now be another thirty minutes.


Ah! Bonjour.

Good day, madame.

Uh, okay, you speak English.

Oui. How can I hewlp you, pleece?

Uh . . . great! I was wondering if I can book a table for two on the twenty-eighth of April—any time after eight P.M. would be preferable.

Non, we are compleetely sold out.

Wow, okay, but that's in two months.


Okay, perhaps that Friday, the twenty-ninth?

Non, eet eez not possibul.

The first of May? It's a Tuesday.

Non, eet eez not possibul.

Why is it not possible?

We are very occupé at theez time. Perhaps you can telephone at another time. Au 'voir, madame. (click)

So, I tried again.

Bonjour, c'est possible pour un reservation pour le samedi, le vingt-huit d'Avril? J'adore votre chef. Je visite Paris pour le . . . la semaine et j'ai très faim comme une grosse couchon."

(pause) Oui.

J'adore le gratinée et les huîtres. Avez-vous voir La Grande Bouffe? (I love outrageous encounters and oysters. Have you seen The Big Buffet?)

Je ne peux pas supporter ce débile Mastroianni. (I can't stand Mastroianni.)

Où est Monsieur Thibault? (Where is Mr. Thibault?)

. . . Il n'ya que les minables, les refoulés, et les pourris qui partousent . . . ( . . . Only the pathetic, the repressed, and the rotten have orgies . . . )

Monsieur Thibault ouvre la fenêtre. (Mr. Thibault opens the window.)

. . . et le film a eu un succès boeuf. Alors . . . vous parlez très bien le français, madame. ( . . . and the film was a massive success. So anyway . . . your French is very good, madame.)

Merci beaucoup! (Thank you very much!)

Et bien, votre reservation? (So, your reservation?)

Oui, ce samedi. Deux personnes, à vingt et un heures? (Yes, this Saturday for two people at nine P.M.?)

Peut-être. Votre nom? (Maybe. Your name?)

Bruni. (Bruni.)

Êtes-vous parents? (Any relation?)

Non, mes parents ne sont pas ici. (No, my parents aren't here.)

Ah—puh! Très charmante. Bien, ce samedi, et combien de personnes? (You are very charming. Okay then, this Saturday, and how many people?)

I love the French. But little did I know that grosse couchon is slang for "fat whore." I went around saying that expression for a year until someone finally broke it to me. Still, it certainly opened a lot of doors.


Hello, this is Suzanne Pirret, and I'd like to make a reservation for the fifteenth of May for four people at nine.

I'm sorry, but we are completely booked.

Okay, well, perhaps that Friday?

I'm sorry, we are completely booked that weekend.

Oh, that's such a shame! My mother is flying in from New York and she was very much looking forward to dining at your restaurant. She's heard so much about it from me.

I'm sorry, we are fully booked.

I've been talking about it forever.

I'm sorry.

Listen, this is a big trip for her. She's very very old.

Yes, I see. I'm very sorry.

But . . . Tom is a friend of mine.

I'm so sorry, madam, but we are completely booked.

But I'm a regular customer and have spent thousands at your restaurant. And I've never stolen anything.

As I said, we are completely booked.

Another time? Six? Early-bird special?

I'm sorry, but all of our reservations have been confirmed at this time.

But I may be bringing, and please keep this quiet, Gwyneth and Chris. Maybe even Madonna.


Excerpted from The Pleasure Is All Mine by Suzanne Pirret Copyright © 2009 by Suzanne Pirret. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Suzanne Pirret is a Harvard-trained actor, an award-winning voiceover artist, and a graduate of the Cordon Bleu in both Paris and London. For more than a decade, she has worked in the restaurant and catering industries in New York and London, notably as Jamie Oliver's pastry chef in London at the critically acclaimed nonprofit restaurant Fifteen. She lives in London.

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