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Readers dreaming of culinary school can indulge vicariously through this engaging memoir by food writer Darling. In her 20s, armed with a passion for cooking, the author left her job at a Manhattan literary agency to enroll at the French Culinary Institute. She takes what appears to be a day-by-day analysis of her entire six-month experience and extracts more narrative than might be thought possible, conveying the challenging process in episodes from omelet minutiae to the larger victories of culinary education. Darling makes the most of various incidents with her classmates who become competitors, comrades and co-conspirators-sometimes all three. As they progress together through the school's four levels to graduation, the author expands on their lessons with end-of-chapter recipes. Though the book doesn't stake out original territory, it thoroughly captures the built-in drama of a professional cook's education. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.