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Recipes for Disaster: A Memoir by Tess Rafferty

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Starting with the Thanksgiving turkey that never quite finishes cooking, then moving to the polenta that unceremoniously goes runny and the guests that arrive a day early—there is no topic Tess Rafferty fails to encounter, or hilariously recount.  Recipes for Disaster is as though Bridget Jones wrote a culinary narrative—the most pristine of intentions slowly disappear, as does the wine along with any hope of a seamless and well-orchestrated dinner party.

Told with heart, humor and honesty; this memoir goes beyond culinary catastrophe and heartwarmingly unveils the lengths we go to in order to please our family, friends, and ourselves—and proves that it’s not the food that counts, but the memories. Aptly timed for all the Thanksgiving chefs about to enter the holiday gauntlet; or the guests headed to their dinners—this is the perfect book to read and then savor.

Goodreads Summary

My husband and kids often watched The Soup.  Just like the show (for which Rafferty wrote), situations and the language in her book may be crude.  Reading this type of humor makes me cringe...while feeling ashamed of myself for laughing.  So, I do both – cringe at the coarseness and laugh because it’s funny! 
Coming from a part-Italian background with aunts and grandfathers who owned restaurants in Chicago, I should be a good cook and hostess; but, I would never aspire to Rafferty’s attempts at perfect dinner parties.  Like her, I lament my mistakes and apologize for “dry” meat whatever other semi-disasters emerge from my kitchen.  However, it’s hilarious that she and the “Irish” boyfriend – who she describes as being “raised by a pack of feral Jewish and Italian mothers” - eventually “pare down” their guest list to people who make their dinner parties a success.  Beginning with the phrase “gone were the guests who...,” Rafferty eliminates people who stay until 3 am, who get drunk and insulting, who offer medical marijuana etc...  Now, I will know that when my dinner parties might not be me, it’s the fault of my guests. 
Three months after a move to LA, she describes meeting many friends - especially one who was nice and funny – a “rarer combination than finding someone who had real [you know whats] and wasn’t on antidepressants”.  Los Angeles doesn’t sound like a place that I’d ever want to call home.  There’s a lot of alcohol and some drugs too.  The book ends with a description of a perfect dinner party in a perfect setting.  Her analogy, between her relationship with “The Boyfriend” and a good meal, sums up her memoir.  Fans of The Soup will enjoy this book.

Three and a half Stars          

*Reviewed by Colleen*

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Em said...:

    I admit, that cover made me laugh!
    I love to cook and bake, and I hadn't heard of this one before.....I think I will find a copy though!

  1. bn100 said...:

    Sounds like a fun book