Kaitlyn Barrett's Reviews > Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen

Spiced by Dalia Jurgensen
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Jun 01, 12

bookshelves: eating-and-cooking
Read in June, 2012

I love books about food, chefs and kitchens. In the past I’ve loved Julie and Julia, My Life in France, How to Cook a Wolf, Heat, everything by Michael Ruhlman as well as Reichl and Bourdain’s first books.

Given that reading history, I liked Spiced because of the subject matter. I particularly enjoyed that it was about pastries instead of savory cooking since that’s subject matter that doesn’t get a lot of exposure and is, as Jurgenson points out on several occasions, a skill set that’s downplayed and somewhat disregarded in the kitchen. Jurgenson does a great job of focusing the story on the food and keeping kitchen and personal histrionics in the background. She seems to be more of a witness to the drama instead of a participant in the drama, which keeps the book focused on the actual work of cooking and makes it more about what comprises a pastry chef career.

Anthony Bourdain wrote the best book milking the kitchen for it’s dramatic potential. However, it’s led to an explosion of “chefs as mad men” memoirs and TV shows. As much as that may be true, there’s always another side to the story and I enjoyed Jurgenson’s low-key treatment of cooking as the job you do in spite of the drama around you.
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