Monday, June 11, 2012

Under The Table.

On Sunday, my mom asked me if I would go to a few stores with her. Because I've kept myself cooped up out due to a recent bout of the blues, I said alright, but only if we get coffee at some point.

Our first stop was the discount bookstore that I forgot all about. Ever since Borders closed, I've been lamenting the loss of my favorite Christmastime tradition, buying books for family, enjoying the more close-knit, familial setting of the employees than Barnes & Nobles could ever hope to offer.

I digress.

This discount bookstore was in a strip mall that I often drive by but never stop at because it's tucked in where I don't want to be -- by the bowling alley, Steak & Shake, and ABC Warehouse. But once I walked in I smacked myself on the head.

The books are all laid out on those fake brown tables that look like wood on top, but is only a heavy laminate. Some were on shelves. They had thank you notes, journals, and just about everything you can find for their full price at the B&N. So as my mom looked for the books she needed, I perused the nonfiction novels while I waited. I saw some personal tales of hiking and mountain climbing. I saw some other stuff. Then, I saw this book. It's kind of cliche - a girl leaves her day job to go into debt learning how to cook from French chefs with delusions of striking it rich as a famous chef. Of course, she's blonde. However, it's a lot better than that. You won't get a play-by-play on the inner workings of culinary school, but you do get a few tips on the different kind of stocks (brown and white; no salt; fish stock, falling into the white category, is the quickest of them all and never use carrots), which are the base for all sauces and more; why chocolate is always a better choice than vanilla when it comes to ice cream; cream puffs!

There are no pictures in this book, but there are recipes at the end of a few chapters.

She isn't as mean as the Amazon reviewers make her out to be. To me (I'm halfway through the book), her narrative reveals her inner dialogue, which is always more raw and honest than most of us will ever reveal to the world. She's blunt. Although you get the sense that she's playing the role of a caricaturist in the descriptions of her fellow classmates, like a caricature painting it's just a more enhanced version of their true self. Aren't we all a little dramatic?

Her writing style draws you in and isn't overly twee or dramatic. She just is what she portrays. When you're in a high pressure setting, it's easy to doubt yourself. Then, you pull yourself out of it and, even for a brief moment, think you are the most amazing person on earth. It's not false humility, it's human nature.

Anyway, as with all reviews, take them with a grain of kosher salt. I'm going to keep reading.

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