Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Man with a Pan

“Man With a Pan,” edited by the cartoonist, writer and New Yorker editor John Donohue, is a rangy, toothsome, timely and occasionally wince-inducing collection of essays by kitchen dads, men who do most of the cooking in their families.
“Man With a Pan” contains essays (and recipes) by marquee names including Stephen King — isn’t it time he set a scary novel in a Hardee’s? — and Mario Batali. But the best pieces here, the line-caught beauties, are by people you’ve probably barely heard of.
 "Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary, delivers a piercing essay about his insecure need to give lavish dinner parties, as seen though the prism of his failing marriage. “Cooking had become a distraction and a source of solace in a marriage that no longer offered its own consolations,” he writes. His painful piece is also funny. When he begins dating a vegetarian and becomes one himself, a friend calls this shift a “sexually transmitted eating disorder.” 

 "Wesley Stace is best-known as a singer-songwriter who performs under the name John Wesley Harding, but he’s also written three novels. If his flinty essay here is any indication of what those novels are like, I need to pack one for the lake this summer. He nails the idiotic gender division of labor at some meals, observing about his family: “The men carved what the women cooked (a remarkable piece of last-minute scene-stealing), as though sharp knives were too dangerous for women outside the kitchen.” 

- Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Read the rest of the review here.

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