40 chefs tell us "How I Learned to Cook"

Cover of How I Learned to Cook
A review of How I Learned to Cook by Kimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan (Editors)

I probably shouldn’t start out a book review by  saying that this is one of those great little  books to read when you don’t have a lot of time to read.  But hey it’s spring and there’s way too much gardening to do and way too little time.   How I Learned To Cook: Culinary Educations From The World’s Greatest Chefs edited by Kimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan is a little gem of a book especially if you’re a foodie and are curious about how all those famous chefs got to be so famous or at least how they first fell in love with their craft. 

What I like the best about the book is that the essays are written by the chefs themselves.  You get to read about Mario Batali flying to Italy and trying to locate the little trattoria where he would learn to make pasta and stay for three years!  And there’s the great story told by Rick Bayless who as a ten year old wanted his parents to buy him a copy of  Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  They did and he carried it with him everywhere, made formal dinners from it every couple of weeks and years later, after he had published his own cookbooks, appeared on In Julia’s Kitchen with the Master Chefs.  “The offer sparked all kinds of emotions for me, everything from exhilaration to fear to gratitude-but most of all, a deep and powerful anxiety at the thought of meeting Julia in person.” 

These are just a few examples of the 40 essays included in the book.  They’re funny and interesting and just the right length so you can read a couple after a long day in the garden.  If you enjoy this book you may also want to take a look at “Don’t Try This at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World’s Greatest Chefs” also edited by Witherspoon.