The World in My Kitchen is the third installment in a trilogy of memoirs written by food writer Colette Rossant. While it is fine to read without reading the others, you”ll enjoy it even more if you do. I read the first of the books, Apricots on the Nile, years ago and was enchanted with her descriptions of growing up in a wealthy Jewish family in Egypt before the second World War. In the book I could taste the dishes she grew up with and smell the scents of the kitchen. The rest of the books are filled with wonderful stories and escapades, but Apricots on the Nile pulled me in and made me want to know more.
In the second installment, Return to Paris, you get a taste of life in post war France. Rossant’s life is never easy, and by the time the book finishes I found myself eager for a happy ending. Because she is always the outsider, she has a keen eye for details whether describing her favorite olive stand or time spent with her girlfriends. All along the way you’ll find treasured family recipes which punctuate the chapters and the drama.
The World in My Kitchen is about Rossant’s life after she moves to America. This time she is no longer a child or a teenager as she was when she moved to Egypt and then back to France, but a young newlywed. Her story is a collage of scenes from life in New York in the 1950’s through until today. The stories are about her family, and her career and include her relationships with many famous food writers and chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Gael Greene, Calvin Trillin and more. She also takes trips to Australia, Africa, China and Japan, and as always food is the focus. So too is Rossant, a charming, funny and spunky personality who just happens to be a consumed with sleuthing out great restaurants, recipes and even specialty ingredients.