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Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's Courtship, with Recipes

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,943 ratings  ·  303 reviews
"Tender, wry, passionate, truthful. To read Hesser's prose is to hunger for more."—Nigella Lawson

Cooking for Mr. Latte is a delightfully modern dating story, recipes included. It's the true story of the courtship between Amanda Hesser, a food writer for The New York Times and author of the award-winning cookbook The Cook and the Gardener, and writer Tad Friend, the titular
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 17th 2004 by W. W. Norton Company (first published May 19th 2003)
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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 ·  1,943 ratings  ·  303 reviews

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Aug 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: catty women, nyt food column groupies
Shelves: non-fiction
Put this book down and read a Reichl book instead. Actually, xerox the recipes, then put it down. This book annoyed me to death. The author has to be one of the least likable voices on the planet. It's basically a story of how she wooed her man, laced with recipes and pith. Amazingly, you get no sense of who Mr. Latte is. I did not empathize, cheer on her love life, or clap at the end. You'll need to cook something to get the gross aftertaste of this book out of your mouth. ...more
This book has been on my radar since it was published in 2003 but it wasn’t until this fall that I sought it out to read. And while I totally devoured it in less than a week, it seems by the GR reviews that I’m one of only a few people who found Hesser’s memoir palatable.

A young food writer for The New York Times, Hesser meets her future husband, Tad Friend, staff writer for The New Yorker, on a blind date. After much discussion about where they are going to meet, she quips the selected restaur
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it
If the commentary in this otherwise excellent cookbook did not have a whiney self-indulgent tone, it would be a five-star. No matter: Try the Chicken Roasted with Sour Cream, Lemon Juice and Mango Chutney and the Puree of Peas and Watercress ("His Turn" chapter) and the Almond Cake ("A Tough Act to Follow" chapter). I've made all three many times and they are win-win. The almond cake is ugly but just wait until you take the first bite. If your kid is bringing home a date you actually wish they w ...more
Mar 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008-reads
Even if you're a self-deprecating snob, you're still a snob. ...more
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food, 2010
This is "Sex and the City" with food -- literally (Mr. Latte = Mr. Big.) Totally self-indulgent on the author's part but hey, she convinced her editors at The New York Times to pursue it and later published the columns in this book. She is a classically trained cook (notice I did not say chef?) so she knows what she's talking about culinary-ily speaking. It is somewhat pretentious but worth the read if you want to vicariously experience some of new York's and beyond's finest dining experiences t ...more
Amanda Hesser comes across as wildly unlikeable. You'd think her editor would have pointed that out to her. She is incredibly impressed with herself and is not at all ashamed at the snobbery that pervades every fiber of her being. I knew I'd be annoyed when she expected me to know (and care) about the difference between a foodie, a gourmet and a gourmand. I couldn't help cheering when Mr. Latte secretly spiked her espresso with equal (she didn't notice - point to Mr. Latte). The only time she ha ...more
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
The first time I read this book, years ago, I enjoyed it but was bothered by Hesser's snobbery. This time I enjoyed it a lot more and appreciated Hesser's frankness about her own failings. I don't know whether this means I've become more of a snob myself, or simply more compassionate. Anyway, she does write beautifully about food, and I've liked many of the recipes from this book. ...more
Jan 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Cooks, Romantics, New York City Residents
Not a bad book. It has some yummy sounding recipes! The back cover claims (twice) that she's the next MFK Fisher. I beg to differ. Although she's fun and some of the recipes look quite tasty, she's no classic. This is a fluff book. A cozy, Sex In The City style read that will have you dreaming of food, but its just fun. No real deep literary value here, and certainly no deep insight into life or eating. Just one fun chick's experience. Its kind of fun to read as a New York City area resident...y ...more
May 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
At first I thought this book was just going to be filled with food snobbery, and it was. Not in a good way. There were lots of interesting recipes throughout, some that I might actually try, so that was redeeming. Also I can't get over Mr. Latte's real name: Tad Friend. It sounds like a superhero's alter ego. Maybe he IS a super hero. ...more
Katie Koteen
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
A fun, romantic story with great recipes along the way!
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
A fun read. The author of A Cook and a Gardener also.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A cute story of a foodie meeting, falling in love with, and marrying someone who didn't feel the same way about food. A very interesting study of a relationship. It had some fun stores, though it can be hard to relate to some of it, since I don't feel the same passion about food as the author does. But I do think I grew in appreciation, which was probably the point. I liked the author's insertion of little notes into some of the recipes (for example, something like this: "This dish technically s ...more
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Is there a genre for Chick Lit Foodie books? There should be, and this would be at the top of the list.

My review from BookCrossing: I needed something light and fun to read on the back deck yesterday when I finished working, and this was just the ticket! I had just put it into a pile of books to get ready for The Chef's Challenge hosted by eggiweg, in honor of her son.

Little did I know I'd want to buy my own copy afterward! Yes, I could keep this one, but why not share it with the world and hono
Dec 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book was long and tedious. I thought at least the recipes would be good, but they were just like the author “a food snob.” Nothing was down to Earth! Her sophisticated palette can’t compete with my plebeian tastebuds.
Bea Bezmalinovic
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I remember reading Amanda Hesser's first column about her blind date with Mr. Latte. At the time, I thought it was amusing and witty. I have to read a food memoir for the Book Riot 2016 reading challenge so I picked this.

I like and admire Amanda Hesser's other work. I have her NYT cookbook. I regularly visit Food52. I admire her spirit and energy.

However, in this book, Ms. Hesser comes across as self-absorbed and a name dropper despite efforts to share personal details and be vulnerable. I did
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Oliver
Shelves: bio-memoir, food
I have to apologize to Oliver because he gave this to me in 2004 and I have only finished it today and found it delightful. Back then I was much younger and took a hard line on books with chick-lit looking covers. I also didn't understand the significance of drinking a latte after dinner, except for the bloating and counter-digestive disturbances that might ensue. Twenty-something me stopped reading the book, not understanding why this was so deal-breakery. Thirty-something me doesn't care, thou ...more
Meredith Bethune
May 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Amanda Hesser is a skilled writer, which makes this book an easy read. Unlike in many food memoirs, her recipes really did pique my interest, and I agree with many of her opinions and attitude towards food. Each chapter is somewhat self-contained, so some are better and more insightful than others. The overarching narrative of the book, however, is somewhat lame. I feel like with all of her experiences, she could have written about something more interesting. Also, I can't help but cringe at the ...more
Carla Jean
Oct 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: foodies
Some people exercise for stress relief. Others eat. I write and read, and my go-to comfort book is Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser, a food writer for the New York Times. The book actually started as Hesser’s column in The New York Times Magazine, chronicling her relationship with the man she eventually married. It offers romance more heartfelt than the over-the-top stuff of some novels. I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t tried any of the many included recipes, nearly all of which sound de ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Oy vey I did not enjoy this book. It had such promise. Cute subtitle. Great premise for a book.

Total failure, in my opinion.

I just couldn't get past the prentiousness of the author. I get that she's a reputable food writer, but the subtitle of the book did not read: A Food Lover's Obsession with Name Dropping. I didn't pick up this book so I could hear about all of her encounters with Jeffrey Steingarten. Or how she knows Bobby Flay so well that he grinned at her from across the room.

Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir-food
I wanted to like this book. I did. The problem, however, is that Ms. Hesser, has nothing to say. The best food writers write about food as a way to access a deeper understanding about the nature of humanity. Witness Reichl's trilogy, in which you get an understanding of mental illness, the creation of oneself, the discovering of parents, and love, and a life's passion. Hesser's writings provide me with a superficial link to her foodie world, nothing else. Maybe she needs to suffer a bit before h ...more
Sep 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a short, light book, and because it's composed of articles that Hesser wrote for the NYT, it's easy to read a bit at a time. I breezed through it in a few days and it was enjoyable, but really the whole reason I read it was because I had just read her husband's book "Cheerful Money", and I thought it would be fun to read her side of the courtship story. However, the writing didn't really inspire me to cook any of the recipes, so I can't say that her version of the story left much of an i ...more
Tracy O
Oct 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Women - No Recipe Hounds
Shelves: cook-books
This is the exact equivalent of a Meg Ryan movie - super cute and tastefully romantic. I enjoyed it and relaxed with it totally. So, if you're a 20 to I don't know what aged female and you are into cooking you may really enjoy the stories (even more so if you've got a little Type A thing going on), but BEWARE of the recipes! It may be because I'm not a pro, but a lot of the recipes were REALLY yucky when I tried them. Enjoy the romantic story and go elsewhere for recipes. ...more
Dec 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: foodies, women in love
If you could define your life in a series of recipies, what would they be? That's the premise behind this cute cookbook. It also delves into food we love, people we love, and food we love to cook for people we love. ...more
May 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Read this for my book club, and everyone agreed that the author was completely insufferable. It was fun to make recipes from the book for book club dinner though!
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good love story or a good story about cooking!
Wendy Moniz
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
She should have just written a cookbook. The rest of this book was not worth my time. I'm just glad I finally finished it. ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've understood the appeal of a hate-watch or -read but have never felt it was for me - I always thought I'd prefer to spend time with something I like. I can't say I was exactly hate-reading this, but I was more morbidly fascinated by how dated it felt - I guess it has been 15 years! It also captured such a WASPy world which I *think* is in decline, but who knows.

Generally, I'm pretty happy to read thoughts on food, and Hesser certainly has an appreciation and is a good writer! I found those el
Joan Stroh
Nov 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I owned this book for many years before recently cracking it open to read. Initially, I was a bit let down as I felt there were more recipes than a memoir. However, the more I read, the more I realized that each chapter did give me what I had hoped for: a glimpse into the life of a foodie.

I loved how she recognized how being a foodie meant she often would look down at things like Equal vs Sugar, but how Mr Latte was able to hold his tongue and often prove her opinions wrong without creating any
Feb 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Larsson
Jun 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Honestly When I found out I had herpes virous , I was completely lost because I didn't know what to do and I worried about how the incident would affect my relationship. I couldn't go about it but positive thinking and a healthy approach keeps me going. I tried finding help in all possible area but my efforts were to no avail. But with the help of Dr Tumba , I discussed the issue with him and I was treated so after some times I went back for another test which came out NEGATIVE and I was totally ...more
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Amanda Hesser has been a food columnist and editor at the New York Times for more than a decade. She is the author of the award-winning Cooking for Mr. Latte and The Cook and the Gardener and edited the essay collection Eat, Memory. Hesser is also the co-founder of She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Tad Friend, and their two children.

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