Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant- a review

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There’s no way to hide that this book was sent me by the publisher, just look at the top of its cover and you can see that it’s not even published yet but soon very soon, the 19th of July to be exact, you too can read it and I recommend you to do it, I enjoyed it immensely but then I really like reading what people write about food and I know that I will reread this book again and again, just like I do with certain old favorites of mine. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone is a collection essays and short stories that deals with eating alone . Some of us like it, others don’t but we all have done it one time or another. What I like about this book is that it covers a wide array of aspects of eating alone but what worries me is that I recognize myself in so many of them that it makes me feel slightly worried about having a split personality. I recognize that I too know how to cook well for others but rarely do it for myself like Ann Patchett and when Jeremy Jackson writes about how he declined a dinner invitation because he had become dependent on his solitary dining I know exactly what he’s talking about. Or Holly Hughes’s yearning to cook for herself and herself only when she tries to satisfy the different tastes of her family, don’t I know what she’s talking about! I mention these three authors just because that’s what springs to mind mind in this instant but I liked all the essays. The editor Jenni Ferrari-Adler has made a great job in choosing the author’s, there are so many different lives and tastes in this book that everyone should at least be able to identify with one of them unless you have a split personality like me and somehow recognize yourself in all of them. And, there are some great recipes for one included so if you don’t have your own favourites for those ‘lonely’ occasions, you might find one here! The only thing that I as an European maybe could criticize is that it is a little too centered on the American point of view but there are several non American authors like Haruki Murakami, Rattawut Lapcharoensap and Marcela Hazan included so I can’t really complain! I also like the typograhical aspects of the layout and I love the cover, dark and beautiful in stark contrast to all the overwhelming light that we, in my opinion, find too often in food photography right now. This book made me start thinking about what I think about cooking and/or dining alone and I realized that despite having had ample practice of both, I never really formulated a coherent though about it and isn’t that what reading is about? Making you reflect and realize something about yourself and the context you and others live in? If that is true, this book is a good book.

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L