Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life” as Want to Read:
Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A biographical cookbook about legendary food authority Paula Wolfert, featuring 50+ of her most unforgettable recipes.
For more on the book's inception, visit

"All recipes are, in some way, an exploration of the link between food and memory. We cook the food we remember loving and, in so doing, make new connections and bonds. The amount of love, throu
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published 2017 by M&P
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Unforgettable, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Unforgettable

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  115 ratings  ·  21 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Gist
What the cookbook is: A beguiling biography about the quirky and colorful Paula Wolfert, told through stories, photographs, and recipes.
What the cookbook is not: A run-of-the-mill reference style cookbook.
Who this book is best suited for: Anyone who enjoys reading about colorful, food-loving, memorable pioneers.
Three words to sum it up: My new favorite.

This book had me at “Good food is memory”. It is a theme of Emily Kaiser Thelin‘s biography about Paula Wolfert, wherein the author tells
Sally McComas
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great life story with some of Paula's best recipes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It's one of those books that you miss your daily contact with, when you have finished.
Sara Fitzgerald
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled onto this book when I was purchasing one of Wolfert's early cookbooks for a friend. The biography is a fascinating story of her career as a cookbook writer, and how she traveled the world to learn more about foreign cuisines and ingredients before it was fashionable to do so. The book features a number of her key recipes, and tells the story behind them, and illustrates them with beautiful photographs, as well as photographs of Wolfert and her friends over the course of her life. Sadl ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a special book - and not an easy one to describe. It contains recipes, all with gorgeous color photos, discusses cooking techniques and ingredients, but is so much more than a cookbook. It can be considered a biography of legendary food authority Paula Wolfert, an amazing and creative woman who researched food, flavors, and recipes from various countries never before explored for their unique dishes. Her enthusiasm for flavors and for preparing food authentically became the impetus for s ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking-food
I didn't know what to expect with this book and I will admit I didn't know who Paula Wolfert was either, but after reading this memoir/cookbook I feel like I should have known who she was because she was a pioneer in the food world. The book is organized around her life with recipes at the end of each chapter, but it's not really a cookbook - more of a memoir with recipes included. Wolfert is now suffering from dementia, but cooking and eating bring back many fond memories. Wolfert was living ab ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I felt that Thelin tried to do several different things in this book, with mixed results. Wolfert is a fascinating person, and a real pioneer in American cooking. At the time of the writing of this book she was suffering from dementia, yet food memories were among her strongest ones. So the book is a biography written in collaboration with Wolfert, with attention to the issues of dementia and memory loss in the telling of the story. I found this hybrid a little less satisfying than some of the o ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I met Paula Wolfert a number of years ago at a conference at the CiA-Greystone. She was inexplicably rude. Now I know why. Dementia is shitty.

Reading this book filled in a wide gap in my knowledge of the American food and food media landscape of the last 50 years. Read "The United States of Arugula," then read this.

While some of these recipes will never make it to my kitchen (they may be good but I currently don't have days, let alone hours to cook a meal, let alone a single dish), I loved rea
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Paula Wolfert has had a fascinating life. I found myself wishing this book had been a memoir, sadly the subject is battling Alzheimer's disease. I am reminded of how difficult it is to write a biography of a living subject. This book is a description of events in the life of an extraordinary woman yet I was never immersed in her story or in the incredible places Wolfert travelled. The author seemed like she didn't want to delve too deeply into any sensitive subjects. I'm glad however Paula's sto ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paula led a very interesting and full life which I enjoyed reading about. I also found her recipes interesting and will prepare some of them. She was/is hard working and determined. Now she is struggling with either dementia or Alzheimer's disease. She is, through sheer grit, slowing that down as long as possible. Anyone reading this book, full of coloured pictures, will wish her the best possible outcome on yet another journey.
Ambur Taft
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
The recipes are pretty intense, as far as procuring ingredients and work load, but they are lovely.
The story of Paula Wolfert’s life is fantastic. And the information on Dementia and foods that can help and hurt is great, especially connecting with loved ones with dementia through cooking and flavors.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a nicely written, somewhat nostalgic biography of Chef Paula Wolfert, who at 78 is living in California and suffering from dementia. The books chronicles her adventuresome life, her fascinating professional path, and deals with her issues of aging and dementia. It includes recipes from each period - and international destination - of her life. I enjoyed the narrative - and the recipes.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wholly enjoyable collection of memories, photos, and delicious (!) recipes from food writer Paula Wolfert, set against her dementia diagnosis in her late 60's - a sort of curated potpourri of her approach to life, told by a good friend and fellow food writer, against the ticking clock of lost memories.
Ethnea Ferguson
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Paula Wolfert is truly amazing...traveling all over the world to discover food, recipes, cooking methods...she was unstoppable. I used to subscribe to Food & Wine magazine, and I remember her articles - a combination of travel, exotic places and recipes! ...more
Walter Underwood
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some of the recipes are very challenging, some are approachable, and all look delicious. But the heart of this book is Paula's life, and what a life. I'd try and summarize it, but the story is in the texture.
Robin Case
More stories than food

Nice photos of the food, but mostly the book is stories. A little short on recipes. Altogether an OK but not exceptional book
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t sure at first but then so enjoyed Paula’s brave approach to life and the depth of her passion for food.
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, culinary
A poignant read, as Paula struggles with dementia and the loss of self after a lifetime of culinary discovery. Her wonder at the joy of eating delicious food should inspire us all.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Beautiful food pictures and great to learn about this fascinating, intrepid woman -- but not a compelling read.
Susan Sherman
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book. I love how Paula Wolfert was to cook and love food by her grandmother. She was instilled with memories that continue to be cooked up in her kitchen
Nancy Errebo
rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2017
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
rated it really liked it
May 15, 2019
Jennifer Berry
rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2018
rated it really liked it
Feb 15, 2019
Juditha Murashige
rated it really liked it
Dec 17, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Nov 14, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Children's Bible
  • The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature
  • A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There
  • Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy
  • Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness
  • The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate
  • Gods, Wasps and Stranglers: The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees
  • What is Not Yours is Not Yours
  • Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good
  • The Cove  (FBI Thriller #1)
  • In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
  • The Girl with the Golden Scissors
  • On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, Author of Silent Spring
  • Under the Udala Trees
  • My Mortal Enemy
  • Ceremony
  • The Distance Between Us
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
45 likes · 19 comments