Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book Review

"It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" by Moira Hodgson Doubleday 335 pages $24.95

Hodgson is a food critic for the NY Observer, a cookbook author and travel writer. This book has recipes, too.

Hodgson is the daughter of a British Foreign Service officer who was promoted to diplomat status. He later confessed to her, well after he retired, that in actuality he'd been working for M16 (British security and espionage.) Prior to being moved to the United Nations, New York, when she was 17, she'd already lived in Saigon, Berlin and Sweden in addition to an education in England.

Chafing at parental discipline, she moved in with a man with whom she spent the next seven years. Both were freelance travel writers and visited and lived in Lapland, New York and Mexico. After they broke up, she had an extended stay in Marrakesh where she developed a cancerous tumor in one eye and subsequently lost it. She treats this major event candidly without whining.

She traveled in a rarified world of other writers, famous chefs and other notables. An anecdote about Lilliam Hellman contained the observation that the much-older Hellman had a mother/son relationship with her young consort -- he was the mother; she was the son.

It was an interesting read and a lot of the interest came from my watching-a-train-wreck happening gaze at what she not only managed to eat but enjoyed. Me? Undoubtedly fainted dead away at some of them. Happily, reading about them is not the same as having to eat them...

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