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Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - cjs - 02-28-2008

The day is finally here!!!! Where's Roxanne - can't wait any longer...

What a wonderful book and what a wonderful life she has lived. Who wouldn’t give their eye teeth to take off for Paris as young person and just have the time of her life.

My favorite parts, I think –
- when she saw Paul again and moved in to his Aunt’s apartment(page 27) – what a mélange of folks and Chef Pierre leading them thru dinner parties for a fee.

- How they just happened upon meeting Chef Fernand Point by seeing a big sign on the highway (page 32). I’d kill for that to happen in my life!

- I love it that we had the same God-awful, pretentious wine dispenser as they (page 53) – we thought we were so avant-garde

- Her descriptions of food and to be able have that knack, “a good piece of that meaty hen, a slice of pork, another of well-larded beef, a chunk of garlicky Provencal sausage, surrounded by leeks and carrots, and over all a spoonful of lovely, creamy sauce.” (page 88) Makes me hungry every time I read that.

- So many food book to order….and so pleased that I have so many of the ones she mentions.

- MFK Fisher’s lunch with Jones and her mother and Aunt Hilda (pg. 155) – and how her mother’s tastes had evolved over the years.

- I’ve marked the passage re her hospital stay (pg. 161) and Evan brought her the most sumptious meal…wine and candles and all for Roy to duplicate the next time I’m in there!!

- Did anyone else feel so darn cheated for her when Evan died? If there were ever two souls who needed to find each other, it seems it was these two.

- Another passage I loved, (page 191) “…how careful cooking is like writing. You have to find the exact word (or ingredient), to pare down (to get the essence of a flavor), to make seamless transitions (the compatible movement from one course to another).”

- And lastly, the picture on page 120 of Edna Lewis and Marion Cunningham – oh, to eavesdrop.

If I had to live my life over, I would be so torn between professional cooking and working to publish cookbooks of cooks from all over the world. What a fantastic job that would be.

I’ve already ordered two of the books from her ‘musings’ and I’m sure I’ll have to get more. For some reason I’ve never read MFK Fisher and I’m starting with her “The Art of Eating.”

One thing from the book that we’ve never discussed here on the forum, is the wonderful method of adding ingredients to something you are cooking –

“As she added a new component, she would push away what she had just sautéed to create a dry ‘hot spot’ into which she would then plop her tomato paste or some other aromatic to ‘toast’ it before incorporating into the sauce.”

this is such a great thing to know and it’s something I’ve never thought of mentioning. It brings out the flavors initially so well. And, of course the flavor being intensified by the toasting and seeds, nuts, etc. before adding to a dish.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So, what are we going to read next - someone else choose this time!! I'm ready.

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - Mare749 - 02-28-2008

Jean, I just love your review! Wish I could add my own at this time, but I had to wait for the book to come back in to the library and just got it back last night. Only got about halfway through it the first time and it had to be returned because there was a waiting list.

It really is a fun book to read. I also had a library copy of The Art of Eating that had to go back before I had a chance to read much of it. Found a copy on Amazon used and ordered it.

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - iBcookin - 02-28-2008

Can't wait to get this book from the library . . . not having a clue what the book is about, but I would have sworn it was Julia Child doing the description of that "meaty hen."

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - cjs - 02-28-2008

No, it was Judith Jones (the author) - she went on to say... (love it)

"...this last plate kept us eatng until amost midnight, when champagne corks popped and we toasted in the New Year, embracing friend and stranger, and kissing each of them on both cheeks." It just goes on and on and it's such a fun read.

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - cjs - 02-28-2008

What happened?? I thought there were a lot of us with reviews for this book???? No? Huh.

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - Old Bay - 02-28-2008

There will be at least one more--thanks everybody.

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - Gourmet_Mom - 02-28-2008

FINALLY! I had trouble getting on today, so just now coming in...sorry to be late for the party! Hey, just me and Jean? What happened? Oh well, here I go. BTW, loved your review Jean and use of quotes from the book!

What a wonderful book! Her adventures in Paris were incredible. To have taken the leap she took as a young person in France! I can’t believe she lived with a married man during that day and age, but Paris was a different place than America. And it quickly became obvious that they belonged together. (Jean, I agree, I felt cheated as well!)

Their adventures in food were inspiring. I can only hope to someday do even a little of what she did in the kitchen. (Loved the tossing of the beans on the patio and finding sprouts growing the next summer! Julia mentions this in her book as well...LOL!) And the dishes she prepared! I find myself moved to try French Cuisine! Her descriptions made my mouth water every time!

I too, have some of the books she mentioned listed to get. I could not find a one when in Charlotte, so I will have to order them. But I did find and already read Julia Child’s autobiography and am further affected. The simplicity of the food, but the care and technique are incredible!

Jones (and Child) really brought home the importance of buying the freshest and best ingredients….this is what makes good food! I think the best example of this was her “rant” on foie gras. In this section of the book she points out how we have mechanized the production of food to the point it no longer has the flavor it was intended to have.

I think my favorite chapter was the one on the Treasure of the Good Earth. Her years in Paris and as a publisher were fascinating. Reading about the people she met and became close to over the years was an experience. But that chapter, well, actually, the last three were the best for me. Her exploration into the history of food and how it has been altered over time was wonderful. It really brought home what I knew in my heart several years ago, when I first started my own “love affair” with cooking and food. These chapters affected me the most.

DH loves the fact that I have new inspiration to get out to the farm and put our farming skills to the test once again. I can’t wait until we are able to add the animals.

So thank you (forgot who brought it up now) for bringing this bookclub idea back up! My husband is not so excited, I bought three new books on food while on our little trip. And I also plan to order at least two more!

Now, what’s our next book?!?!?! I’m game! I would love to do the Fisher book. I just purchased the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Hazan and How to Eat by Lawson (couldn’t find Fisher”s, but plan to order) as well as Julia Child's autobiography (which I have already read...LOL!).

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - Gourmet_Mom - 02-28-2008

Where is Roxanne anyway? Jean, are we the only ones that LOVED this book?

BTW Jean, have you read Julia's auto? It is very similar to Judith's, but a bit choppier...more anecdotal.

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - DFen911 - 02-28-2008

Well did we all finish at the same time? I finished a night or two ago but haven't had time to review it.

It was a delightful read! I was going to put spoiler alert for those who hadn't read it yet...but well I guess thats out of the bag.

My only critism was the book jumped back and forth a bit for me. In one chapter we are told quite suddenly that Evan is dead. No clue he was even sick, but then the next chapter goes on to describe he wasnt feeling well due to a series of small strokes. Now while this didn't have anything to do with food, he was such a big part of her food life that I felt it warranted a bit more attention to. Several of the chapters did this and then she'd go back and explain it. (which I found odd being she was an editor and would correct her authors for the same thing)

This book really made me want to go to France and enjoy food in a whole new way.

I think the last few chapters were my favorite. Her love of food had really evolved over the years, but her passion for it and discovering new things never wavered. She was, and still is I'm sure, fearless when it comes too food.

I love the recipes in the back and how they were broken down into the main segments of her book.

The book is now in the hands of my neighbor across the street and I am sure she will enjoy it as much as I did.

This is a winner!

Re: Tenth Muse Review - FINALLY!! - Mare749 - 02-28-2008


Where is Roxanne anyway? Jean, are we the only ones that LOVED this book?

BTW Jean, have you read Julia's auto? It is very similar to Judith's, but a bit choppier...more anecdotal.

No Daphne, you aren't the only ones. I'm only about halfway through, but I'm loving every single line so far! Just didn't feel I had read enough of it to give a thorough review. The rest of you have sure done a fine job though.