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Liz Loves Books

I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.

Review - Don't Try This at Home

Don't Try This at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs - Andrew Friedman, Kimberly Witherspoon

This book turned out to be a mixed bag for me.  There are 4 or 5 stories I thought were very funny or interesting and I mentioned two of those (the owl and the eels) in a previous post. There were a handful that made me want to reach into the book and smack the chefs who wrote them. The majority were just kind of blah and repetitive.  It seemed as though these celebrity chefs' agents or publicists called them up and asked for an innocuous story that could be added to this book to "get their name out there."  Most of them aren't catastrophes, they're just bad nights at work. They're not badly written but they are also not very interesting.


As for those that stood out...



The bad stories, for me, were those contributed by Jamie Oliver, Michel Richard, Marcus Samuelsson, Norman Van Aken and the worst of all for me, Geoff Zakarian.  They all come across as pompous, self-congratulatory asses. (Except Oliver who comes across as a bratty child.)  Of the ones I know from TV, they don't come across any differently on the written page.  I should have just skipped Zakarian's entry.  I can't stand him and his story made me hate him even more. His smugness oozes from the pages. Ick.


There were some good stories here as well.  Most of these were near the beginning but two, Eric Ripert' s tale of his ineptitude waiting tables and Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's  disaster transporting buckets of hollandaise are in the middle. The good stories also have a common thread: the chefs writing the story gently poke fun at themselves rather than making themselves out to be heroes.  Not surprisingly these chefs have tended to delight me on TV as well.


Overall the book was a decent commute read. Even the boring stories are okay when you are riding a bus or train. Or waiting for one.  I wouldn't try to read this in big clumps like a novel. The "catatrophes" are too similar and it will put you right to sleep.