March 31, 2012
Apron Anxiety by Alyssa Shelasky
This was a very enjoyable read. I'm a sucker for foodie memoirs at any time, but this one took it beyond the usual. And the writer is so quirky that it was funny as well. But I do have to say, it didn't really inspire me to cook myself, but her exploits in the culinary world were interesting.
Alyssa always knew she was going to be a writer. And she does pretty well in that aspect, ending up in New York writing for some well-known magazines. But then she meets and falls in love with a famous chef and moves to Washington D.C. with him and things change for her. Stuck in the relationship that has its highs and lows and mostly loneliness, she turns to food as a way to help herself feel better, and discovers that she likes cooking. And of course her writing progresses to cooking so a blog develops out of it and her career is formed as well. Despite the rocky love life, she has something that she can fall back on.
Alyssa does a lot of name-dropping, and that's kind of what drives me nuts about this book. It actually is probably what keeps it from being a five star book. Because she does it in such an obvious way, and not a gracious way. Its ok to be proud of your accomplishments and share your successes, but there's also a way to do it that doesn't rub people the wrong way. And I think she crossed that line once in awhile. It just got dreary. Her personal relationships are a lot more interesting in the book. The dynamic she has with her friends and family is endearing and I enjoyed the book when she focused on those people rather than the famous ones. It just showed a little more heart I think.
Her style of writing is very funny and even if she gets down on herself sometimes, she sees the humour there too. I could have easily kept reading had her book been longer. She just has a tone and style that makes it hard to put down. Actually I stayed up way later than I normally do just to finish the book because I was enjoying it. And her descriptions of food are very approachable too. She's got the right idea when she doesn't approach food as a food snob, but rather as someone who just enjoys it and wants to learn. And the recipes didn't seem too bad either, although there weren't really any that had me rushing out to buy ingredients. But I'm sure there are some I'll get around to someday.
A very interesting book. I would definitely read another book by her if she decides to publish again.