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audreyhawkins

audreyhawkins

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen - Jacques Pépin Pepin writes engagingly in this memoir of his years coming up in the kitchens of France. Pepin has an unpretentious approach to food, and a love of easygoing American manners and palates. It is a cliche perhaps that immigrants to America are the strongest adherents to the principles of democracy, but in this case, it's true. Pepin revels in each break from tradition he can make here. He loves that American eaters are flexible and willing to eat just about anything that tastes good, where French eaters, as educated as they are in food matters - or perhaps because they are so educated about food - are apt to turn up their noses at a dish that deviates from tradition. Not that Pepin is unmindful of tradition; he recognizes that his grounding in the principles of traditional French cooking makes it possible for him to experiment successfully.

As with the other memoirs by chefs I have read, this one is heavy on meals made and eaten, but light on autobiographical details. I didn't realize his wife Gloria was pregnant, until her water broke and Pepin was rushing her to the hospital. All in all, though, Pepin's a charming raconteur, and his passion for food will make this memoir a joy for foodies. Each chapter is followed by a recipe meaningful during that period in his life.