I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman

From Charlene Muhr
author: Ephron, Nora
I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman
Well known for her successful screenplays, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail, Nora Ephron has written a short collection of fifteen essays on her slant on aging in I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman. Although Ephron’s intended audience is the pre- and post- menopausal woman, women of all ages will find it humorous and will be able to relate to the essay dealing with maintenance.   Ephron concentrates on the routine, the status quo maintenance – the hair dye, the highlights, the face creams, the body lotions, the mani’s and pedi’s, the removal of unwanted hair, all things to do to just stay more or less even.  Another essay – I Hate My Purse deals with all the problems of selection, cost, and items lost in the bag, oozing creams, and the infamous Kelley bag.  Other essays in the collection deal with marriage, divorce, parenting, cooking, and Manhattan apartments.  An entertaining read!

The house of mirth

From Charlene Muhr
author: Wharton, Edith
The house of mirth [sound recording]
I recently listened to the audio book The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, read by Barbara Caruso.  Caruso mesmerizes the listener with her reading of this classic novel.  Wharton’s novel was first published in 1905, and it was her first important work of fiction.  The novel deals with the social classes in the late nineteenth century.  Lily Bart is twenty-nine, unmarried, and obsessed with wealth and luxury.  She is dependent on her aunt for her meager allowance and the only way to secure her place among the upper class is to marry a wealthy man.  Lily has passed up some marriage proposals, always feeling she could do better.  She even turns away from her true love, Lawrence Selden, because he couldn’t provide her with the life she desired.  Lily’s obsessions, gambling addiction, and bad relationships, cause her to fall from her aunt’s good graces and be rejected by her friends.  Her world as she knows it collapses and she is faced with only one tragic choice.

My life in France

From Charlene Muhr
author: Child, Julia
My life in France
After I watched the movie Julie and Julia, i wanted to know more about Julia Child, so I read My Life in France.  The idea for this book began in 1969, when Paul Child suggested that Julia write a book from the hundreds of letters that they both wrote to Charles Child (Paul’s twin brother) about their years in France.  On November 3, 1948, Paul and Julia arrived at Le Havre, France, aboard the SS America.  Paul would be running the exhibits office for the U.S. Informative Service at the American Embassy in Paris.  Julia couldn’t speak the language, even though she had studied French in school, knew little about the culture, and even less about French cooking.  But Julia was determined to learn about her new home and she came to love it and its people.  She shopped at local markets, became friendly with the merchants, and attempted to learn French cooking from an old fashioned cookbook.  Julia thought she had enrolled in a six-week intensive course at Ecole du Cordon Bleu but she had actually signed up for a year-long Annee Scolaire for $450.  It was here, through the guidance of Chef Bugnard, that Julia fell in love with French food and French cooking. Throughout the book, we learn about Julia’s many accomplishments, from her teaching, her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, her television show, and her role in bringing classic French cuisine to the American audience.

Born Standing Up

From Charlene Muhr
author: Martin, Steve
Born Standing Up
 Born standing up is Steve Martin’s memoir that follows his career from his childhood through his work as a stand-up comic. The memoir reveals Steve’s dysfunctional relationship with his father and the anxiety attacks that plagued him for twenty years.  Steve was only ten years old when he got a job at Disneyland selling guidebooks.  For the next five years he worked at the magic shop in Disneyland. It was here where he developed his love for magic and it was his magic act that helped him “break into” show business.  Steve did stand-up at a café in San Francisco, and the Bird Cage at Knott’s Berry Farm.  At twenty-one, Steve began writing for the Smother’s Brother’s show, and guest appearances soon followed on the Tonight Show, the Steve Allen show, Saturday Night Live and many others.  Steve Martin’s success is attributed to his talent, hard work, and persistence.  This memoir is an easy, quick read that is very entertaining.

COOKING WITH ITALIAN GRANDMOTHERS

From Charlene Muhr
author: Theroux, Jessica
COOKING WITH ITALIAN GRANDMOTHERS
American chef, Jessica Theroux, takes readers on a journey through Italy, from Tuscany to Sicily.  Theroux’s journey was inspired by Slow Food, an organization founded in Italy, in 1989.  Slow Food’s mission is “to promote values in traditional food and preparation and to counteract the trend toward fast food and a faster life.”  On her journey, Theroux visits Irene, a grandmother in the Piedmontese town of Bra, the international headquarters of the Slow Food Movement.  COOKING WITH ITALIAN GRANDMOTHERS is not only a wonderful collection of recipes but each grandmother shares her history, her stories, and her secrets as she cooks alongside Theroux.  The recipes are clear and simple and each recipe is indexed.  Theroux presents an interesting selection of recipes from walnut black pepper cookies, calabrian bread salad, and lasagne with a béchamel sauce, homemade ricotta, and blood orange gelato.  There was an interesting quote in the beginning of the book from  the writer, Laurie Colwin.  “No one who cooks, cooks alone.  Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”

The Mitsitam Cafe cookbook

From Charlene Muhr
author: Hetzler, Richard
The Mitsitam Cafe cookbook
Last year I visited Washington, D.C., and toured many museums.  I had the opportunity to eat at the restaurant, the Mitsitam Cafe, in the National Museum of the American Indian.  I was delighted to discover the Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook which features ninety recipes from the restaurant that are adapted for home cooks.  The Mitsitam (which means “let’s eat” in the local Piscataway and Delaware languages) Cafe Cookbook features recipes from five Native culture areas in the Americas -Northeast Woodlands and Great Lakes, South America, North Pacific Coast and Columbia Plateau, Mesoamerica and Great Plains.  The cookbook is divided into ten sections:  appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, sauces and salsas, breads, desserts, drinks and basic recipes and techniques.  In each recipe there is a sidebar about the origin of the recipe and its ingredients.  There is a special section of the cookbook, Ingredients and Sources which describes recipe ingredients, where they can be purchased and what substitutions can be made.  The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook offers a variety of easy recipes that will delight many palates.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

From Charlene Muhr
author: STEIN, GARTH
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated by a dog named Enzo.  Enzo is different from other dogs; he feels he has a soul, a human soul trapped in a dog’s body.  Enzo is close to death but not despairing of this because he knows that he will return to this world as a man.  He based this on a television documentary that he watched on the Mongolian belief that a good dog will reincarnate as a man.  Enzo recounts the triumphs and tragedies of his beloved master, Denny Swift, a semi-pro race car driver.  He studies the human behavior of Denny, his wife, Eve, and daughter, Zoe, and watching good television shows like National Geographic and car races.  This is a heart wrenching story, and like many other dog stories, the dog dies.  Enzo, the dog philosopher, does leave us with this thought, that life is like racing but it is not just about going fast.