I have been decidedly "meh" about a lot of nonfiction books lately. Sorry about that. I know that these types of experiences make for rather "meh" book blogging as well.*
The latest entry in the Meh Files is Katharine Darling's Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School. Darling chronicles her stint at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, dishing on the experience as a whole, the chef professors, and her fellow students. She also includes a few personal memoirish details about her life and love affair (she gets engaged over the course of the story), and throws in a few recipes for good measure.
Now, there's nothing really wrong with the book, and I did read the whole thing, and the recipes do look good. But there was something about Darling's tone that didn't do a whole lot for me. Then again, I may just be biased by her author photo, which really bugged me, for some reason. If you can picture it, the tone of the book sounds a little bit like how she looks in that photo; ever so slightly a bit too over-confident for me. Consider:
"It was 8:00 a.m. sharp on our very first day of class, and as I walked into the large room that was dazzlingly bright with the glow of many overhead fluorescent lights bouncing off the stainless steel workstations, ovens, pots, pans, sinks, and even the tools of my classmates, I saw that Tucker [a classmate] had taken up a spot at the front of the room, closest to our chef-instructor's dark green marble-topped lecture station...And my parents thought I was too competitive. If I were competitive, I would have created a diversion and just snatched his spot when he was momentarily distracted. Okay, maybe I was a little bit competitive, but as it turned out, so was Tucker." (p. 18.)
The lady also doth protest too much--throughout she worries about her class standing and never, ever dreams that she deserved to be at the top of her class--and of course she graduates with the top honor. It reminded me a little bit of an old college roommate who used to throw herself on her bed in despair after tests, wailing that she had failed, but who would then tell me later she got something ridiculous like 110% (with extra credit).**
But, if you're a foodie, and you love all things cooking, you might still enjoy this one.
*No, I'm not trying to shunt the blame for lackluster blogging on lackluster authors. Well, maybe a little bit.
**I still love this roommate, she's a sweetie, but I just never believed in bewailing your performance on tests unless you really did fuck it up, with at least a C or lower.