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As a staunch supporter of non-cookbooks with recipes in them (RIP, MFK), I hereby endorse “The World in My Kitchen,” a new memoirs by Colette Rossant, an Egypt-reared French food writer (and serial memoirist, but you can hardly blame her, given her adventures).
If you wish you were a food writer or world traveler, or generally fulfilled, successful, happily married, attractive person, she might make you angry. But Rossant’s tale of her life in America is an extremely engaging one, especially for food-loving New Yorkers.
A summary of one thing leading to another the way it will never happen for you:
Soon after coming to New York with her American architect husband, Rossant moves to Sullivan Street in its mafia-hood, when the food was good. She earns a reputation for strange but good cooking, taking inspiration and ingredients from Little Italy, German neighborhoods uptown, Jewish shops on the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Atlantic Avenue’s Middle Eastern shops. She makes friends with a fellow teacher who happens to be Alice Trillin, and before you know it, Bud’s writing about her cooking, and the phone starts ringing off the hook. She writes for Vogue, starts a cooking school for kids, appears on TV, becomes pals with Craig Claiborne, who sometimes talks about her food in the Times. She and Gael Greene are also best friends. She writes for New York Magazine, writes cookbooks, barters for goat meat while living in Africa, travels to China, Japan, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, and so on.
Don’t be a hater, live vicariously.