Everything is under control A memoir with recipes

Phyllis Grant

Book - 2020

"A memoir of coming of age and cooking, with recipes"--

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2nd Floor 641.5092/Grant Due Sep 13, 2022
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2020.
First edition
Physical Description
239 pages ; 20 cm
Main Author
Phyllis Grant (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Chef Grant's first book is the story of her life in food. In snapshot episodes, she proceeds through her early years and cross-country move to study dance at Juilliard. Anorexia and a frightful student kitchen shaped that hungry time, until love and the rekindled appetite that came with it put Grant behind the stove and in pursuit of a culinary career. Relating the adrenaline-surging hustle in restaurant kitchens, including nauseating moments of sexual harassment, Grant writes with bursting energy: The first order comes in. My chest gets all warm and prickly. Sweat pools in my bra. I yank my ponytail up into a tight bun and fall off a cliff for seven hours. Grant captures life with her husband and growing babies in similarly spare and gripping images, to enjoyably entrancing effect. The book ends with recipes referenced in her essays, and more: tarte tatin, lamb popsicles, avocado bowls, a fridge- and pantry-flexible California pesto. Narrative instructions match the rest of the book's feel for finding a solid base and then following one's intuition. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Sometime the subtitle really does tell it all. In this case, "A memoir with recipes" is the most succinct yet accurate description of this work; an often raw, stream of consciousness effort, describing the difficulties of being a restaurant line cook and new mother in equally vivid detail. Chef and restaurateur Grant, known for her blog Dash and Bella, shares recollections of growing up, cooking with her children, and dining out with her husband. These anecdotes are intermingled with struggles with fertility and postpartum depression. Food ties it all together; feeding customers and family as well as herself. A somewhat idiosyncratic collection of the author's personal favorite recipes range from pesto to spicy beef stew to strawberry balsamic tart, written in a cozy, conversational style, encouraging readers to use up what's in the fridge. VERDICT A compelling memoir about cooking (at home and at work), life, and making it up as you go along. [See Prepub Alert, 9/30/19.]—Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A memoir of coming of age and cooking, with recipes"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A raw and riveting memoir-in-pieces about food, family and opportunities both taken and missed also includes a selection of recipes. (biography & autobiography).

Review by Publisher Summary 3

One of Esquire's Best Cookbooks of 2020 and one of The Washington Post's Best Food Books of 2020"In epigrammatic, nearly poetic diction, Grant . . . reminds us of how transformative the junctures where food and life collide can be." --The New York Times Book Review“What a beautiful, rich, and poetic memoir this is . . . Like the best chefs, Phyllis Grant knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, and love.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls and Eat, Pray, LovePhyllis Grant’s Everything Is Under Control is a memoir about appetite as it comes, goes, and refocuses its object of desire. Grant’s story follows the sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged, always revealing contours of her life: from her days as a dancer struggling to find her place at Julliard, to her experiences in and out of four-star kitchens in New York City, to falling in love with her future husband and leaving the city after 9/11 for California, where her children are born. All the while, a sense of longing pulses in each stage as she moves through the headspace of a young woman longing to be sustained by a city into that of a mother now sustaining a family herself.Written with the transparency of a diarist, Everything Is Under Control is an unputdownable series of vignettes followed by tried-and-true recipes from Grant’s table—a heartrending yet unsentimental portrait of the highs and lows of young adulthood, motherhood, and a life in the kitchen.