In a brash and breezy style, Texas native Ellerbee-who has known success and controversy as a journalist, television producer, and author (And So It Goes; Move On)-writes about her adventures around the globe from childhood to the present. She takes us to Bolivia in the 1960s as she attempts the role of a Christian missionary and then to France in the 1970s as she honeymoons. In 2002, we land in Afghanistan. Other points on Ellerbee's compass include Texas (of course), the Appalachian Trail, Italy, Turkey, Vietnam, England, Mexico, New York, and Greece; her accompanying recipes range from Frito Pie to tzatziki. When it comes to food, Ellerbee, never a shrinking violet, is more glutton than gourmet: she admits to gorging on Beluga caviar (courtesy of the late Malcolm Forbes) and hot sauce meant for 21. But her book is less about cooking and more about living large; the food simply provides a colorful ribbon to tie up the entertaining package. A good addition for public libraries.-Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Television host Ellerbee roams around the world and through her memories, one meal at a time. Ellerbee (Girl Reporter Blows Lid Off Town, 2000, etc.) is known in the industry as a straight-shooter, and the voice that got her fired from NBC is back with a vengeance in the third volume of her memoirs. Warm and brisk, utterly conversational, way beyond sassy, Ellerbee is afire to share the lessons she's picked up and the dishes she's consumed in her first 60 years of making an impact. During her Texas childhood, she was convinced that her mother's fudge pie played a large part in her popularity. In a newly opened Vietnam, she conceived a passion for Pho, and in Bolivia (her first foreign tour-as a teenage missionary), she learned to love street food. There is no real discernible pattern to these extended meditations, although there are themes. Recollections of her very young folk-singing days are followed by an account of cruising on Malcolm Forbes's yacht, that then followed by a piece about feeding the hungry in inner-city Baltimore. A revelation about the surprising comforts of cruise ships is placed next to her account of reporting from Afghanistan-post-Taliban, pre-stability. Ellerbee's injustice radar still has a hair-trigger-targets include the wealth of the church in the poorest of nations, and any society that seeks to restrict women in any way. Many of her essays are about the difficulties of growing older. Though the pieces can be sharp and sappy by turns, sometimes in the same paragraph, Ellerbee's charisma and immediacy operate like a tractor, drawing the reader smack into the heart of how it is to be a cancer survivor, to lose your parents, to be alone-or to raft down theColorado, watch your children marry, or whip up a Frito Pie. All in all, a great ride with a homegrown American original.