I really hated this book. I hated it so much I finished it to figure out why. The premise is to teach people raised on chain restaurants and frozen dinners how to be gourmets, through a series of chapters of stories about shopping/chopping/table hopping with friends (non-gourmets) or experts (gourmets). The book was preceded by a successful blog, but is not the Julia / Julie project! I was interested in this because I too hope to persuade people that they can do better when it comes to eating, with more “real/good food” in their diets. So… why do I hate it? First, the term gourmet is off-putting, so I checked Widipedia to better understand the definition. I think this sentence summed it up: “The term and the practice may have negative connotations of elitism or snobbery, but is often used positively to describe people of refined taste and passion”.. I guess its OK to be called a gourmet, but not consider yourself a gourmet. Next, his instructions to chop an onion went on for 2 pages, and I had to read it 3 times for it to make sense. And I know how to chop and onion. This would be hopeless to anyone who really wanted to learn. Last, he has that self-centered, NYC writers affliction. I don’t know where or why I picked up this bias against male NY writers (and the lead name of this list is Garrison Keillor). Female NYC authors like Julia Powell and Elizabeth Gilbert don’t seem to have this problem.
My next book is In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan… Hopefully it will be better (he lives in California).