Sunday, August 07, 2011

Book Review: Katish

Katish, Our Russian Cook by Wanda Frolov
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
You Might Like This Book If: You're a foodie (this is a collection of essays that were originally published in Gourmet Magazine in the 40's), you like stories of immigrants to the US and how they cope, or you like the writing style of the 1940's, complete with quaint illustrations.

I picked up this little book here solely on the beauty of the cover and wanting to read more about the romantic (to me at least) notion of having a Russian cook in my house.

I had a 4-hour flight last week and was able to read the whole thing in that time. I had brought it along just for the take-offs and landings, but it held my interest well enough to keep the knitting and laptop from ever making it out of the bag.

The writing is of the vintage of a Nancy Drew novel, with a kind of gentle humor and naiveté that was really refreshing and enjoyable in contrast to the complexity and sometime heaviness of modern writing. It is also told in terms of the food and cooking of this delightful Russian woman, and includes some really interesting dishes and recipes.

Katish, the eponymous Russian woman, is strong, funny, smart, loving and an obviously beloved influence on the author's life. I liked this little stumbled-upon memoir, and especially liked the little snapshot it offered of one kind of American experience.


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