October 28, 2006
It’s Her Party
Henry Alford in the New York Times Book Review:
Ever since I finished reading this book, I’ve spent a lot of time picturing Sedaris doing something she refers to several times — freshening up her cheese balls. This method of replenishing and re-forming round globs of nuts and cheese so they can be served at a second gathering is a good shorthand for Sedaris’s cooking style, which is the heart of the book (more than 200 recipes are included). In the kitchen, Sedaris is a magpie, a recycler of both foodstuffs and already published recipes. She is not afraid of the phrase “two cups potato chips, crushed.” Indeed, if Sedaris’s culinary approach seems to have gelled in about 1953, it owes less to the fresh-food enthusiast James Beard than it does to the convenience-food advocate Poppy Cannon. In one recipe, Sedaris impregnates whipped cream with canned fruit cocktail. Ardent foodies who read her book may be overcome with a desire to take her to a Greenmarket and say: “Darling, here are fresh peas. Explore.” But I viewed her retro approach less as a shortcoming than as a difference of opinion. The girl simply likes her crushed potato chips.
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