The Reporter's Kitchen

For longtime foodie and New Yorker staff writer Jane Kramer, cooking and writing are inextricably linked: a good essay parallels a satisfying dish in both composition and process. "The cooking that helps my writing is slow cooking," Kramer writes in the titular essay of her collection The Reporter's Kitchen. "You take control of your ingredients so that whatever it is you're making doesn't run away with you." For mental clarity, Kramer believes, "there is nothing to equal a couscous steaming in its colander pot, with the smell of cumin and coriander rising with the steam."

This assortment of Kramer's incisive, vivid New Yorker pieces is a veritable buffet: chef profiles (of Claudia Roden, Yotam Ottolenghi and others), musings on restaurants and food history (including a review of Bee Wilson's Consider the Fork), notes on foraging for Norwegian sea-grass and personal essays about her culinary experiences. Readers may recognize themselves in Kramer's admission, "I love cookbooks. I am addicted to them," and share her delight in the piles of them on her bedside table and her study's floor. Kramer's appetite for every aspect of food and food writing--interviewing a chef, hunting down an exotic ingredient, trying an elaborate recipe or pulling off an American Thanksgiving dinner in Italy (in July!)--is contagious. "There is a strong connection between women who write and women who cook and love recipes," she notes. Fortunately for her readers, Kramer is both, and her essays (like many good meals) at once whet and satisfy. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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