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How to Cook a Tart
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How to Cook a Tart

3.07 of 5 stars 3.07  ·  rating details  ·  494 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Cookbook author Jasmine March's life is like a perfectly prepared b chamel-rich, satisfying, and drenched in butter. But even a great b chamel curdles sometimes. Her husband, Daniel, has taken up with one of his Zone-dieting drama students; Careme, her daughter, is bent on starving herself to death; and Jasmine's fellow foodies have had just about enough of her astronomica ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 12th 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published October 4th 2002)
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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 Kileen
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.
Jun 09, 2008 Katy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Mary Beth Marion
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 Keel
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
Debra Hale-Shelton
Jan 14, 2014 Debra Hale-Shelton rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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??
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.
Delicious! A fast, fun read - not deep by any stretch, but a great "summer book." And I want that pumpkin ravioli recipe!
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.
it was ok. i admit it - i bought this book solely for the title! (and that fact that was on the clearance rack)
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
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
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
Sep 20, 2011 h. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Laura Radniecki
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.
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
Melissa Davis
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Maria (Ri)
Well, I finished this quick read tonight. It was a light and enjoyable one. In general a pretty good little tale. My only real complaint was that the daughter was not believable as an anorexic. Her character was flat, quite stereotypical of what someone with anorexia nervosa appears to be on the outside, but her inner dialgue was all wrong, too shallow, and without the real motivation characteristic of the disorder.

It did provide a needed mental break from studies, however. I found myself really
Ok huh wat heb ik gelezen? Wazig boek met een bizar einde. Vermakelijk, maar ook vervelend. Lastig om een mening over te vormen..
this is about a woman who had a great marriage, but then her husband starts cheating on her. meanwhile, she writes cookbooks telling people to eat tons and tons of fat, and her recipes start getting canceled. plus the usual stuff with her teenage daughter. the book makes good points about the people who eat nothing and are scary thin and dont enjoy their food, but goes overboard, trying to make everyone feel like they should be fat. i say, enjoy your food, but he healthy as well. theres nothing ...more
Katie Cooper
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book was goofy. As other reviewers have stated, it's an exploration in excess. While some characters deny themselves, these characters are not as dedicated as Jasmine and her excesses. The suspense didn't hold me as much as irritate me. At points, I rushed through paragraphs. So rather than the reverses coming as a surprise, the reader saw something coming. It was just a matter of what was the reversal and how much were you willing to play along with the pacing of the book. The actual revers ...more
This was a really fun read. If you like food/cooking and like to hear descriptions of elaborate, succulent meals being made then you will love it. It definitely inspired me to start cooking and moving away from...sandwiches. That's pretty much all I eat...oh boy, the main character would shudder if she knew. The author portrays food as this mystical, infinite source of love and happiness and she just makes you want to be a part of it. Apart from all the food talk, the story itself was fun and in ...more
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“Food didn't kill people, for God's sake, people killed people. With their harping, and criticizing, and careful living.” 2 likes
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