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Everything Is Under Control: A Memoir with Recipes

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,443 ratings  ·  128 reviews
"What a beautiful, rich, and poetic memoir this is. Phyllis Grant writes of longing, suffering, celebration, family, and food with such delicate power. Like the best chefs, she knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, and love. This is a wonderful book."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls, Big Magic, and Eat, Pray, Lo ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 21st 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,443 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful book that is part memoir, part recipe book. I needed a reprieve from reading anything "heavy" during this time, and this was the lighthearted reverie that I craved. First of all, it's only 256 pages, but when you hit approximately the 60% mark, the biography ends and the recipes begin. I cheerfully skimmed over those, since they harken back to foods and desserts that were integral parts of her life story sprinkled throughout the book.

Phyllis reaches as far back as her great
Diane S ☔
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nfr-2020
3.5 How can one not be drawn to a book with the title, Everything is under control, at a time when many things are not. Though I wish they were. Anytime is a good time though for me to pick up a foodie memoir, and this is a very easy read.

Told in short vignettes we see Phyllis starting out wanting to be a dancer. Accepted into Julliard, her association with food is Paramount to her identity. Dancers, after all need to be thin. She graduates but is told she is good, just not quite good enough.

Book Lovers Pizza
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am a fiend for food memoirs and listed this on my Book Lovers Pizza blog as one of my most anticipated foodie memoirs of 2020:

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

In the middle of the night, not able to sleep from anxiety during quarantine, I chuckled when I came upon this title on my Kindle app (because Everything is NOT Under Control for me right now.) What I found was a really lovely series
Grace Machon
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book comes when you need it I received this book as unsolicited book mail and I am so grateful for it.
Would I have given this book five stars last Thursday?maybe not.
But I didn’t read it last Thursday I read it on a Thursday that gave after some very scary very big things and because of that I loved it. I cried as I tired pages and held it to my chest on public transport not caring if I looked strange.
A moving story of making decisions, failing and trying something new, following
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I feel like I would love her personally, especially because I watched some of her cooking videos on Instagram and she opened one drily with “Happy fucking New Year” and then just launched into how you begin this recipe. Let’s be friends!

And I love a good diary-like, vignette-y memoir but in a self-centered way I found myself more interested in the bits about being young and starving and overworked in NYC and I couldn’t hear any more about pre-birth perineum massages and eating placentas. Thank
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
In Everything Is Under Control, author Phyllis Grant invites the reader into her life story, by way of her kitchen. We pass the typical milestones. Body image. Career choices. Awkward relationships. Marriage, Kids. And right away, food is a thread that weaves the chapters together. Avocados drizzled with savory vinaigrette and meats bubbling away in rich, umami sauces.

Grant’s recipes brim over with surprises. Uses for leftover wine. Or the things in the back of your icebox. Jams made from veget
Primrose Jess
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned
This book is pure Phyllis. Jarring in it's abruptness, so much said that isn't said, and beautifully poignant in so many places. All the things I've admired in her writing for years. I find her deeply relatable on some of the struggles and frustrations women have. Her battle with postpartum depression is just raw, painful, and gut wrenching to read. I can't imagine how hard that must have been to go through, not once but twice. Her persevering in the kitchen when faced with sexual harassment, ex ...more
Kathleen Gray
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting memoir, written as a diary, about a woman's relationship with food and coming into her own. Grant's transition from dance to chef to mom (yet still cooking) will resonate with many. A woman with an eating disorder, she found safety in a kitchen. From a recipe perspective, btw, this a good one for those looking to use those odds and ends in the fridge. They look marvelous (and now I'm going to buy some anchovies!). It's hard to rate memoirs because it feels as though the ra ...more
Theresa Mcmanus
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Very curious writing style. I’m not sure I liked it. It was
very sparse and yet the author manages to get her main ideas across. But I did not love this memoir. While I ended up knowing about the author, I never really did connect with the idea of how food fit in with her life. Yes I know she worked in restaurants. But she did lots of other things as well. I guess I just didn’t recognize her passion for food and cooking. It didn’t come across all that clearly to me. Aside from some mentions, the
Judith von Kirchbach
I wanted to like this book but when I was done I felt like I'd just read someone's diary, I like memoirs but her stream of consciousness writing, jumping around to different life events without clear definition or separation was jarring for me. Also I noticed I need more of a lead-up to big life events, it is easier for me to relate if I have context and for my taste this context was missing in this rapid fire succession of big events.
Grant is skilled at boiling key life events down to their ess
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a short book, like 200ish pages, & 20+ of them are recipes. But I will tell you this, I felt like I read a much lengthier novel (in a good way) after I finished this book (in like 1.5 hours) & I found myself wanting to know more about this person. When I first started the book I wasn't too sure about the writing style & but then it grew on me as I felt myself drawn into Phyllis Grant's life.
The book is written in powerful vignettes, kind of diary style without specific dates. Grant take
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I love food memoirs and I read this in one sitting - a beautiful, lyrical, and sparse memoir about a woman who tried it all and struggled with motherhood and love, but her heart always went back to food. The writing style was interesting, I felt like I was reading her diary. I love reading all the descriptions of food - I have never read a more beautiful paragraph about the making of a tuna salad sandwich. The collection of eclectic recipes at the end was a great touch, I wish more of them were ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am not sure if I've ever read a memoir like this before. Snippets of her life, hence why it took me only about 90 minutes to read from start to finish. And yet despite this briefness, she proves that nothing is under control, from working in New York City kitchens to being a mother and a wife. I've never heard of Grant before, but I loved her writing. Honest, at times raw. And all familiar authors have given advance praise for her memoir: Ruth Reichl, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dani Shapiro, plus some ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio
The author's story of her life which includes being a dancer, a pastry chef, a doula, and a mom

I was surprised how much I connected with this book. It's written in a very sparse vignette style with wording that was both poetic and tense. I have respect for Phyllis Grant, who went through very different career shifts with (seemingly) no worries about how much her life changed. Her story of choosing not to have another child because her post-partum depression from the others was so bad she worried
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
At first, did not think I would like this book. It was too disjointed. I couldn't get into it until I did. Then I could not put it down. I was hooked. I was fascinated. The author wants to be a dancer. Moves from California to New York and attend Julliard. She graduates but she can't be a dancer because she can't get through an audition. She decides to become a chef. She works in kitchens. The food scene in New York is brutal. Long hours, injuries, and pain. Like I said fascinating. I have been ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. As mini-genres go, I really love poetic, episodic memoirs (see: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Beth Ann Fennelly), and will happily add this author to the list. I knew nothing about this author, her writing, or her family (married in real life to "Silicon Valley's" Gavin Belson!), and her real life reads like a novel. This felt like Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" meets Stephanie Danler's "Sweetbitter," and the way food and appetite weave throughout her story is satisfying. Docking five points ...more
Madeleine Elise
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's not often that I take a chance on a memoir from an unknown author. Forging a connection deep enough to invest fully into a random person's life story can be hard for me to achieve, personally. So, imagine my surprise when I slipped so deep, right into emotional investment with Phyllis's relationship with food and motherhood.

Some of the major themes explored so beautifully in the memoir are emotional connections to food, eating disorders, motherhood and postpartum depression. The first half
Lorri Steinbacher
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Can read over breakfast, maybe over some cottage cheese pancakes.
Krysten Moore
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was really, really heavy for me. It’s raw and honest. I wish all books were this readable!
Reannon Bowen
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to the audio version of this book & I think it’s another case where the narrator ruins the writing. Perhaps if I’d read the hard copy I might have liked this more than I did.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poetic, tidbits, family, food, anorexia, birth, truth, and recipes. There were bits that had TMI but that is where the truth fit. I could have done without some of those human nature tidbits as they didn't fit with the scrumptious food recipes. ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Engaging writing style. Raw, emotional and though-provoking to read. This felt different than other memoirs I've read. ...more
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sure, Grant can cook...but you should see the way she WRITES.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tea sipper
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir of a girl who decides to become a dancer. She enters Juilliard and tries her best to become a ballerina. But her life goes into a different route and she finds herself in a restaurant working long stressing hours ... She knows something has to change in her life!

This was quite a fun and super quick read. The whole experience was a bit surprising for me; i was expecting a book about becoming a chef or something like that (i was not totally mistaken tho). But there was much more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobio
Loved it, wanted more

This is a beautiful stream of consciousness memoir--lots of evocative phrases that make the reader do their fare share of the work. As someone who has worked in a fine dining kitchen, those passages were very familiar to me. As someone who has never given birth, those parts are more challenging. I imagine each reader will have a different set of entry points and roadblocks.
I guess there's no real graceful ending for a memoir in progress, but I wish it was longer. The recipes
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I really liked the style of this memoir and it’s a quick read. I finished it in one sitting easily. That all being said, it was not a super compelling memoir overall. A lot of it was basic privileged white woman stuff. The recipes were also unimpressive and I’m not interested in making a single one.
I enjoyed this, but wanted more! It's super short - I read it in an hour or two - and kind of skims the surface of a lot of interesting parts of the author's life. I am looking forward to trying out some of the recipes! ...more
This memoir was a quick read, and while she was candid in her experiences of trying to be a dancer, of marriage and having children, and of working in a few restaurants, I expected a little more in the way of food writing. Her recipes (which take up the last 1/3 of the book) are fun to read, but nothing appealed to me. As another reviewer said, she overuses anchovies (probably because of the "umami" flavoring), and I'm not one to have them on hand in my pantry.

The memoir is in the form of a dia
Jen Bilik
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book moved me to my marrow-filled bones. I haven't been able to focus too well during Covid, and this is the first piece of writing that sat me down and brought me somewhere else. I could see this book not being for everybody—this is a book that actually draws an innovative line in the sand with vision, point of view, and masterful form. It practically invents spare lushness. In addition to being compulsive, heart-aching, wit-studded, and beautiful, since I finished the book, I've been thin ...more
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