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The Tenth Muse: My Life in Foodby Judith Jones
Judith Jones has lived an amazing life, and she shares it with the reader in a straightforward and almost matter-of-fact way. Jones has been in all of our kitchens, whether it was through her own recipes or the many cookbooks she has edited and helped create. She is resourceful, experimental, fearless, and passionate, and she manages to translate that into a book that will stay in my kitchen forever as an inspirational guide.
Synopses & Reviews
From the legendary editor who helped shape modern cookbook publishing — one of the food world's most admired figures — an evocative and inspiring memoir.
Living in Paris after World War II, Judith Jones broke free of the bland American food she had been raised on and reveled in everyday French culinary delights. On returning to the States — hoping to bring some joie de cuisine to America — she published Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The rest is publishing and gastronomic history.
A new world now opened up to Jones: discovering, with her husband, Evan, the delights of American food; working with the tireless Julia; absorbing the wisdom of James Beard; understanding food as memory through the writings of Claudia Roden and Madhur Jaffrey; demystifying the techniques of Chinese cookery with Irene Kuo; absorbing the Italian way through the warmth of Lidia Bastianich; and working with Edna Lewis, Marion Cunningham, Joan Nathan, and other groundbreaking cooks.
Jones considers matters of taste (can it be acquired?). She discusses the vagaries of vegetable gardening in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the joys of foraging in the woods and meadows. And she writes about M.F.K. Fisher: as mentor, friend, and the source of luminous insight into the arts of eating, living, and aging.
Embellished with fifty recipes — each with its own story and special tips — this is an absolutely charming memoir by a woman who was present at the creation of the American food revolution and played a seminal role in shaping it.
"'The title of this testament to one woman's appetite comes from Brillat-Savarin, who wrote of a 10th muse — Gasterea, goddess of the pleasures of taste. Many food writers would argue that this 10th muse is actually Judith Jones. For nearly half a century, Jones, an editor of literary fiction and a senior vice-president at Knopf, has served as midwife to some of the most culturally significant cookbooks of our time, introducing readers to newly discovered talents like Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey and Claudia Roden, to name but a few. In this quiet, spare memoir, set against the shifting landscape of modern cookery in America, Jones reveals herself to be every bit as evangelical about good food and honest cooking as her authors, locating the points where her relationships with these writer-gastronomes and her own gustatory education converged. She ran an illegal restaurant in Paris, learned from Julia Child to de-tendon a goose (a set of maneuvers involving a broomstick), received a tutorial in fresh-bagged squirrel from Edna Lewis and counted James Beard among her mentors. At the end, the book is tinged with sadness over the decline of serious home cooking and the current fixation on dishing up fast and easy mediocrities. But Jones's belief in the primordial importance of cooking well is ultimately inspiring, and it fires these pages as it has fired her life.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"This volume produces a powerful nostalgia for the days when food books could be culture shapers and not just party favors for TV chefs.... By the time you get to the 60 or so recipes Jones includes at the end, they seem like familiar characters we’ve met in the well-told tales that precede them." Dorothy Kalins, New York Times Book Review
"Jones was awarded the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. This accolade, along with her prolific editing career, makes her story especially intimate and poignant to the reading foodie, while also standing alone in its particular view of American history." Cathie Beck, Rocky Mountain News
"An entire generation of women (including me) learned to cook from Julia Childs' books. And for that we have Judith Jones to thank. Judith was the first to champion Julia's brilliant career, as well as many others who have changed the world of food. This, Judith's personal adventure, is a truly wonderful story." Ina Garten
"Judith Jones's lovely memoir shows us that this petite giant, blessed with a voracious sense of adventure and timing, an erudite palate, a marksman's eye for talent — and an abundance of good taste — was there at every step of our country's culinary revolution, finding, coaching, editing, and promoting the players who made it happen." Danny Meyer
"Judith Jones has written a love letter to food — charming, wise and irresistibly tasty." Peter Mayle
"In addition to mouthwatering descriptions of various dishes, Jones offers an inside scoop on the publishing world. The story of her life is enjoyable in itself, and the added tales of the famous are the frosting." Library Journal
"Affectionate, passionate and informative." Kirkus Reviews
"A foodie reader's paradise." January magazine
"As for the 'tenth muse' in The Tenth Muse: Call her Gasterea, who presides over all the pleasures of taste. Brillat-Savarin named her. Judith Jones does a heartfelt job honoring her." Leonard Gill, Memphis Flyer
From a legendary editor who has helped to shape modern cookbook publishing — the force behind the publication of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking — comes an evocative and inspiring memoir that includes more than 50 recipes.
About the Author
Judith Jones is senior editor and vice president at Alfred A. Knopf, where she has worked since 1957. She is the coauthor with Evan Jones of three books: The Book of Bread; Knead It, Punch It, Bake It! (for children); and The Book of New New England Cookery. She also collaborated with Angus Cameron on The L. L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook. Recently, she has contributed to Vogue, Saveur, and Gourmet magazines. In 2006, she was awarded the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in New York City and Vermont.
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