Friday, January 13, 2006

Book Review: Cook Until Desired Tenderness

cook until desired tenderness
Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.

Late last week, after unsuccessfully hunting around Barnes & Noble for it, I ordered Cook Until Desired Tenderness from Amazon. I was hot to read the book because Cooking with Amy loved it, saying "If you crave a poetic mix of passion for cooking and cooking for passion, this slim volume is just the thing."

She compared it to Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine trilogy, the beautiful and captivating and so unusually designed story of London-based postcard artist Griffin and his star-crossed love, Sabine, a postage stamp designer in the Simeon Islands. The second I opened the first book in that trilogy, I was sold on Nick Bantock's unique and fascinating storytelling style.

But I digress. Back to Cook Until Desired Tenderness. As Amy says, it's a brief book, suited to a one-sitting read, and full of interesting, nearly Baroque illustrations surrounding the story of Sugar, a young woman exploring herself and her relationships through food.

The story is sweet and the illustrations are lovely. The name is appropriate - the story is told with a sort of tenderness. It's sort of a cozy book; it left me feeling rosy and warm after I read it. And in need of a good bowl of soup.

It wasn't, though, quite the same caliber as Nick Bantock's books. I don't want to sound as though I'm slamming it - I'm not - I really did enjoy it and if I had it to do all over again, I'd still buy it. But my expectations might have been set a little high.

Still totally recommended. And, though it's too late for Christmas, this book would make a fantastic gift.

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