Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Book Review: Under the Table
I often receive books for review, not daily, or even weekly, but for a simple food blogger, I get my fair share. I can't say there have been any that I didn't like, but there certainly are a few that I've enjoyed more than the others. Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School by Katherine Darling is one of the latter.
Ms. Darling takes the reader into the dark underbelly of The not-so-glamorous-as-you'd-think French Culinary Institute in New York City. Her fellow students, all true characters themselves, provide fodder for many a story along with the strict and intimidating Chef Instructors that pervade her life for 6 grueling months as she makes her way from fledgling self-trained cook to full-fledged Chef.
This is a perfect recounting of all that goes on behind swinging kitchen doors; raunchy jokes, adolescent pranks, secrets revealed and spirits broken. There is no stone left unturned and the retelling of it in Ms. Darling's memoir is nothing short of perfection.
It's not necessary to be a budding chef or industry expert to enjoy this book, anyone with a sincere love for food and a desire to learn more about the 'real deal' day-to-day life of a culinary student will appreciate it.
Personally, I felt as though it was a refresher course for me. Although my own time spent in culinary school was spread out over 9 months, it was every bit as brutal and relentless, and yet the most satisfying thing I have ever accomplished. It was relieving to me to find that Ms. Darling and I both headed in the same nearly un-chosen direction after graduation, as well. There were so many similarities between our two school experiences that it made the book just that much more enjoyable for me. I can easily see myself re-reading this book every so often as a charming and funny reminder of my own time spent in culinary school.
The recipes throughout are sound in technique and one of the very best parts of the book; something I feel is reason enough to give this one a look. Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School is available today, April 14, 2009 at the following booksellers: