Voracious : a hungry reader cooks her way through great books

A recurring dream, shared by generations of immigrant parents and grandparents, is that they their offspring get an education, a good job and not have to earn a living doing manual labor. According to Cara Nicoletti her grandfather,  “ . . . always said he wanted us to ‘sit at a desk and have clean hands.’ “  She and her female relatives all worked in the family butcher shop, and Cara attended New York University, earning a degree in English literature.  However, the very job her grandfather would not have wished her to have was the one she loved.  Coming from a long line of butchers going back to Cara’s great-grandfather on her mother’s side of the family, and having waited tables, worked as a general cook and pastry chef, she was well acquainted with the food business.

Down to earth about food, cooking and eating, she eschews food trends and focuses on substance, never shying away from being a carnivore while supplying others with meats carved up from her well-trained hands. Cara Nicoletti combines memoir, recipes and books as she thinks back to her early childhood experiences and reading explorations, and how they have merged and created who she is today. A book and food lover's tribute to the books and people who have, and still, make her a dedicated, enthusiastic butcher, cook, food lover, teacher, and blogger.  While reminiscing about what originally piqued her interest in each book, she provides original and/or spin-off recipes.

Her descriptions of what butchers do is not any more explicit than what Julia Child demonstrated many times on her original television programs, which can be found on YouTube as she debones fowl, fish, and hacks up all kinds of meats. For the squeamish some of the text may be a bit too much.

In the back there is an alphabetical list of the inspiring books, and the index references even more books that are mentioned in the narrative parts of each chapter. Marion Bolognesi's watercolor and gouache illustrations are a captivating match to the text.