The Kitchen and the Studio

The Kitchen and The Studio: Memoirs of Food and Art by Mallory M. and John A. O’Connor is an alluring read. As the title implies, it combines a cookbook, an art book, and a memoir detailing the couple’s long and storied marriage. These elements are expertly blended to form a book that contemplates love, family, friendship, and the meals that bring us together.

We follow Mallory and John from their first meeting in a UC Davis art class in 1960 through moves, career changes, and heartaches over the next 60-plus years of their life together. Along the way, they share stories of the fascinating people they befriended and, of course, the food they shared with those people.

The book is beautifully illustrated, with stunning landscapes and still-lifes peppered throughout, along with photos and documents from the couples’ prosperous lives. Much of the art is by the co-author himself, though there are also some lovely pieces by the couple’s many friends in the field. I thought it was a nice detail that, rather than photos, many of the recipes are accompanied by paintings of the dish in question, bringing a personal touch you don’t often see in recipe books.

As someone interested in food history, this book was a fascinating resource. Coming from the perspective of one couple and how food has been a part of their own story and journey over the past 60 years, it tells a very personal story. In addition, the authors made sure to include some historical background for many of the dishes, which was incredibly enlightening.

The recipes sound delicious and include some more exotic ingredients that the standard household may not always have in stock. Readers may have to make adjustments when attempting to replicate these menus to take into account ingredient availability. This is one area I would have loved to have seen in this book, some substitution options for hard-to-find ingredients, just to make the dishes more accessible. That aside, this collection offers readers a chance to expand their cooking repertoire and experience something they might not have thought of trying. The authors have included in this informative book some helpful resources for those looking to experience the dishes for themselves, including a wine list and some information on small businesses that make quality ingredients.

The Kitchen and The Studio: Memoirs of Food and Art is a highly original presentation of food history and personal memoirs. The authors clearly have enjoyed their life together and share their passion for cooking with friends and family. The stunning artwork and poignant reflections make it an unforgettable read.

Pages 412

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 10, 2023, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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