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Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs in and Out of the Kitchen


Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs in and Out of the Kitchen Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. Apron Anxiety opens with the following from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain: “I would be displeased and scared shitless if my little girl started talking about wanting to be a chef. I guess it could be worse. She could talk about wanting to go OUT with a chef.” When you first read this quote, what did you think Apron Anxiety was going to be like? Having read it, what do you think of Bourdain’s thoughts?

2. In Chapter One, Alyssa recounts her family’s eating habits and how these early years shaped her adult tastes. What are your first memories of food? How did your own attitude toward food develop?

3. Talk about the prevalence of food culture these days. What does the word “foodie” mean to you? Does Alyssa consider herself a foodie?

4. Do you know anyone who’s worked in the restaurant business? What are your impressions of it, having read Apron Anxiety? If you were able to date a chef, would you? Conversely, if you were a chef would you date a “civilian?”

5. When Alyssa first begins cook on her own, she’s surprised at how much delight Chef takes in her attempts to share what she thought was his passion alone. Do you think that relationships work best when they are centered on a mutual interest, or when each partner has his/her own “thing?”

6. In Apron Anxiety, cooking for Alyssa is often therapeutic. Think of your own relationship with food and cooking. Are there particular meals that bring up memories or elicit strong emotions?

7. Alyssa describes the singular experiences that changed the way she thought about food: “the Pasta” of her teenage years, her first tastes of Indian cuisine, exploring the Greek cooking of her boyfriend’s heritage, the many special dishes Chef made for her. What is your most memorable food experience? What made it special?

8. “Every morning of my life, my mother has eaten a packaged Devil Dog for breakfast.” Talk about how eating and food play an important part of a person’s routine. Do you have a daily food ritual?

9. At the book’s end, Alyssa writes that, contrary to what one may tell his- or herself, “Happiness is yours to find.” Do you agree with this sentiment? Why did it take Alyssa so long to realize this about herself?

10. Think about what it might be like to write your own memoir. Could you be as candid as Alyssa is in Apron Anxiety? Would you be concerned about the reactions of your family and friends once they read your book?

11. “Just because you’re an extraordinary person who deserves extraordinary love, it can’t come at the expense of everything else that makes you whole.” Consider this quote of Alyssa’s as you think about how she’s detailed her romantic life in Apron Anxiety. In her relationship with Chef, what was Alyssa missing in her own life?

12. How do you think Alyssa would arrange the following words, in order of importance: friends, family, work, food, love? How would you order them?

13. Famed restaurant and food critic Gael Greene says of Apron Anxiety: “There’s a racy plot and a surprising moral in this intimate and delicious book.” Do you agree? If you could offer a blurb about this book, what would it say?

Product Details

Midwestern Writers on Food
Shelasky, Alyssa
Wolff, Peggy
University of Nebraska Press
Biography - General
American - Middle Western States
Edition Description:
Trade paper
At Table
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
12 recipes
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Cooking
Biography » General
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General
Cooking and Food » General

Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs in and Out of the Kitchen Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 280 pages Three Rivers Press (CA) - English 9780307952141 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , “Hot sex, looking good, scoring journalistic triumphs . . . nothing made Alyssa love herself enough until she learned to cook. There's a racy plot and a surprising moral in this intimate and delicious book.”

--Gael Greene, creator of and author of Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess

Apron Anxiety is the hilarious and heartfelt memoir of quintessential city girl Alyssa Shelasky and her crazy, complicated love affair with...the kitchen.


Three months into a relationship with her TV-chef crush, celebrity journalist Alyssa Shelasky left her highly social life in New York City to live with him in D.C. But what followed was no fairy tale: Chef hours are tough on a relationship. Surrounded by foodies yet unable to make a cup of tea, she was displaced and discouraged. Motivated at first by self-preservation rather than culinary passion, Shelasky embarked on a journey to master the kitchen, and she created the blog Apron Anxiety ( to share her stories.

This is a memoir (with recipes) about learning to cook, the ups and downs of love, and entering the world of food full throttle. Readers will delight in her infectious voice as she dishes on everything from the sexy chef scene to the unexpected inner calm of tying on an apron.

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