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How To Cook A Tart

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3.08  ·  Rating Details ·  548 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Everything about How to Cook a Tart, the debut novel from Washington Post food writer Nina Killham, is too much. Its heroine, cookbook author Jasmine March, is a rotund creation, a lover of cream and butter and pork and all manner of excess. Food governs her. She's given to ruminations along these lines: "of all the herbs, Jasmine thought, basil was her soul mate. Basil wa ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 24th 2002 by Piatkus Books (first published October 4th 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,015)
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Renee
Feb 11, 2008 Renee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything about How to Cook a Tart, the debut novel from Washington Post food writer Nina Killham, is too much. Its heroine, cookbook author Jasmine March, is a rotund creation, a lover of cream and butter and pork and all manner of excess. Food governs her. She's given to ruminations along these lines: "of all the herbs, Jasmine thought, basil was her soul mate. Basil was sensuous, liking to stretch out green and silky under a hot sun with its feet covered in cool soil." Her husband Daniel is ...more
Darcie
Jan 27, 2008 Darcie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I read this. I blame it on review blurbs like "smart, sexy, hilarious, and not to be missed." Thanks for nothing, Washington Post. Sometimes a book with a pink cover is just what a girl needs. I can't ever imagine that need being fulfilled by this particular pink-covered disappointment. The descriptions of cuisine are laudable, but the plot, characters, and surprise ending weren't enough to redeem the food writing. Booo.
Katy
Jun 09, 2008 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cooks, food lovers, the open-minded
Shelves: 2008, own, light, mystery, fiction
I really enjoyed "How to Cook a Tart." I truly did. I do agree, however, after reading other reviews, that EVERYTHING in this book was stretched, however. One only needs to know the basis of the novel to laugh at the far-fetched-ness: Jasmine, the protagonist, is a cookbook author and an avid lover of foods fatty and healthy alike (more on the fatty side). Her husband is having an affair with a stick-thin actress on the Zone diet. AND their daughter, Careme? She's an anorexic.

Careme isn't really
...more
Mary Beth Marion
Apr 13, 2008 Mary Beth Marion rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because Anthony Bourdain had a favorable review blurb on it, and he hates everything, so I figured "how bad could it be?" Note to self: that question should never be a reason to purchase a book. I couldn't push myself beyond the first 50 pages of this one, so I'm putting it down for a day when I'm simply desperate for something to read and there is nothing else in the house - not even a cereal box. Got it at a used book store, and am very glad I didn't pay full price. Vapid, uni ...more
Louise Hartgen
Nov 08, 2012 Louise Hartgen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being one of those people who lives to eat, I just knew I was going to love this book from the start. The little review of it I saw said not to read it if you were either dieting or even slightly hungry! Oh yes, a book right up my street. When I found out that Jasmine, the slightly ditsy but very lovable main character was plump, sweet-natured, open-hearted and passionate about real food, that is full-cream, high-calorie, un-emasculated full-on stick-to-your-hips heaven, I was disposed to love t ...more
Rebecca McNutt
How to Cook a Tart was sort of comedic, but it got a little too weird for me when the entire book revolves around food. I'm surprised the characters didn't turn into food, too!
description
The author literally couldn't talk about anything else in the entire novel, which was odd and disappointing.
Debra Hale-Shelton
Jan 14, 2014 Debra Hale-Shelton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants a light mystery and doesn't mind inane endings
OK, I bought the book because the independent booksellers recommended it on their Booksense list. I also was impressed by the food angle. Well, there's not much food writing herein. OK, I can deal with that. The plot was a bit over the top. But I can deal with that, too. But the ending, excuse me. It was so stupid, it was insulting. Did the Booksense seller really read the whole book??
Ellen
May 18, 2008 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
This one was interesting. When I was reading it mostly I didn't think much about what was going on but when I was telling a friend about it, I realized that what happens is really crazy and kind of creepy. It didn't seem creepy at the time though.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sorry. I hated this book
the more I read it. Mean
spirited humor just hits
me the wrong way.
Marshaferz
May 17, 2010 Marshaferz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-book-club
Delicious! A fast, fun read - not deep by any stretch, but a great "summer book." And I want that pumpkin ravioli recipe!
Charlotte
This book was ok; it was funny at times, and it was pretty engaging. It wasn't an epic or anything, but it was enjoyable enough.
Heather
May 25, 2008 Heather rated it it was ok
it was ok. i admit it - i bought this book solely for the title! (and that fact that was on the clearance rack)
Inge (Inge1990)
In hoe kluts ik een muts lees je het verhaal van Jasmine, een beroemde kookboekenschrijfster, haar man Daniel, een mislukte acteur en hun dochter Careme, scholier en luchttarier.
Op zich is het een heel leuk verhaal wat makkelijk wegleest. Je leest goed hoe de strijd in Amerika over dun zijn is. Dieetboeken zijn hip, boeken met veel vet niet. Jasmine is een dame die in de laatste categorie valt en haar vetlaag met trots draagt.
Ik vond dit boek vermakelijk maar af en toe ook veel te ver gaan. Je
...more
Lizz
Jul 29, 2016 Lizz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, physical-book
One of the marks of a good author is the ability to make the reader suspend their disbelief and step into the magical world within their mind.

Nina Killham is not a good author. Everything in this book rang false. You can call this a parody or dark humor, but it's still not good. One of the hallmarks of a parody is that it is so well written you can almost believe it to be real. Look at the success of The Onion- how many of their "news" stories have been believed by unfamiliar readers?

Everythin
...more
Audrey
Sep 14, 2011 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, culinary, dc
Of all the herbs, Jasmine thought, basil was her soul mate. She rubbed her fingers over a leaf and sniffed deeply at the pungent, almost licorice scent. Basil was sensuous, liking to stretch out green and silky under a hot sun with its feet covered in cool soil. Basil married so well with her favorite ingredients: rich, ripe tomatoes, a rare roast lamb, a meaty mozzarella. Jasmine plucked three leaves from her basil plant and slivered them in quick, precise slashes, then tucked them into her sal
...more
Wendy
Jul 25, 2011 Wendy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Cookbook author Jasmine March is a pleasant, rotund woman. "Of all the herbs, Jasmine thought, basil was her soul mate." The story begins in Jasmine's kitchen where she finds a young girl dead on her kitchen floor, a brownie stuffed in her mouth. Jasmine's main concern is the well being of her favorite rolling pin. The rest is a flashback leading up to the present with an over-the-top conclusion.

Jasmine's motto: To feast well is the best revenge. Too bad her publisher doesn't agree, feeling that
...more
Elsje
Feb 11, 2011 Elsje rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2007
Jasmine March is kookboekenschrijfster. En tegen de trend van minder vet, minder zout en, volgens Jamine daardoor minder smakelijk eten in schrijft zij over lekker romig, vet eten. Door al dat vet is zij natuurlijk de slankste niet. Geen probleem zou je zeggen.

Maar haar dochter, Careme, vernoemd naar een beroemde kok, wil, zoals het een goede puberdochter betaamt, niet zo worden als haar moeder en is dus zo anorectisch als de pest. En geobsedeerd door de gedachte haar maagdelijkheid zo snel moge
...more
h.
Sep 20, 2011 h. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone looking for a good time
Recommended to h. by: a hand-me-down
Shelves: for-a-good-time
'"Handled well," Jasmine thought, "a good sharp knife was more useful than beauty"' (41).

How can I not keep reading a book with such a great observation?

August 16, 2011:

Finished up this book, and I'm going to leave it at a four. It's not for everyone for sure, and not my usual fare. I'd call it real-world chic lit. It has absolutely none of the grating shallowness of Sex in the City or the Devil Wears Prada or those other trivial anthems to the inane.

Killham created a likable, decent, intellige
...more
Laura Radniecki
Oct 10, 2014 Laura Radniecki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I think this book was written for someone with a different sense of humor than me.

I enjoyed the main character Jasmine and I enjoyed the sweet way Careme evolved toward the end.

Other than that, I'm not a foodie so I had no idea what type of food she was describing half the time, and the humor irked and annoyed me.
Christine
Some of the reviews below have made me add a star to the review that I didn't intend to at first. It's a satire! It was supposed to be over the top!

That said, I didn't think it was particularly good, though it has several very darkly funny moments. I disliked all of the characters, but was never sure that was the intended effect. (I've really enjoyed some books in which the characters are all unlikeable, but books like that have to hit just the right note with me.) I got the sense that the write
...more
Fanficfan44
How To Cook A Tart was a recommendation for me on Goodreads and I picked it up at my library. This involves the murder of a husband's mistress and a bunch of misunderstandings and bad assumptions that surround it. It seems that this is supposed to be a comedic take on murder, but the comedy fell flat for me. I just didn't find it that funny.
Ellen
Jul 09, 2016 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My 2 is generous. I get that this book is a farce, spinning a tale on today's fascination with cooking & eating and the opposing views of dieting & cleansing. BUT, the last chapter is like a slap in the face of the reader..something in very poor taste and totally unacceptable.
Melissa
Apr 30, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to Cook a Tart by Nina Killham is a cute, funny, mystery. First off, as someone who frequently diets, I could totally relate to the narrator's perspective with the crazy fads people will go through to lose weight. There are several typical characters who Killham make seem fresh, such as the cheating husband, young mistress, and sullen adolescent. The interactions between the cast of characters actually builds to a murder and one rather ridiculous (or ridiculously funny) dinner.
Michele
Nov 08, 2009 Michele rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is vulgar. Not in the usual way of the high-horsed self-righteous morality Nazi's, but in the way it describes certain things. Anthony Bourdain reviewed this book and supposedly liked it, but he must not have read it. Yes, it talks about food in a delicious way that makes your mouth water sometimes, but the narrator is morbidly obese, and I wouldn't be surprised if the author was too. It's disgusting the way she describes the "bulk" of the fatass main character, and horrible that it co ...more
Clover White
Sep 11, 2011 Clover White rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is probably one of the strangest books I have ever read. Don't even get me started on the terribly gross ending (hint: there is a double entendre in that title), but the writing itself was so uneven. On one hand, it sets out to be a book promoting eating for pleasure's sake, and not worrying about calories and fat content-- but on the other hand, it has lots of decidedly fat-phobic descriptions of the characters. One time, the main character bemoans cookbooks that promote unrealistic r ...more
Marsha
No, this isn’t a cookbook but rather a novel that celebrates cooking, the joy of food preparation and the rapture of eating. This is a book about the glory, beauty and wonder of food skillfully and lovingly prepared: their seductive powers, their siren calls, the innocent conflicts they raise in struggling hearts. For everyone in this book is in a way obsessed with food—eating it, eschewing it, whipping their appetites under control, taking it as a substitute for love, beauty, medicine. The main ...more
Jennifer
The Washington Post blurb on the front cover says, "Smart, sexy, hilarious, and not to be missed." I think I missed the smart, sexy, and hilarious part. Oh, I get that there's a very sly undercurrent of a kind of nasty humor running through the book, but I don't much care for it, and I hardly think it's hilarious. An example is when Daniel, the husband, is struggling with middle-age malaise, "Daniel smiled for the first time since the phone call. He wasn't going down this path alone. He was taki ...more
Little
Mar 24, 2012 Little rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is fluff, pure nothing as far as literary-ness is concerned.

This is also food porn. Randomly selected page: "She gazed at it, contemplating the melting ice cream flowing down to moisten the side of the decadent chocolate brownie, the thinning line of chocolate sauce which pooled into the white cream before disappearing to the bottom of the plate."

However! The last two chapters of plot are way better than the rest of the book. And the sex scenes are actually food scenes, so that's interesti
...more
Allen
A funny black comedy about marriage, affairs, cooking and cookbooks, and a dead body unexpectedly found on the kitchen floor.
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“Food didn't kill people, for God's sake, people killed people. With their harping, and criticizing, and careful living.” 1 likes
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