"My Mother's Kitchen" (Henry Holt and Co.), by Peter Gethers
In a delightfully moving memoir, Peter Gethers shares entertaining and intimate stories about his mom's celebrated culinary career. "My Mother's Kitchen" details the life of celebrated cook and cookbook writer Judy Gethers and the gift her son worked tirelessly to give her at the end of her life.
When Judy Gethers suffers from two strokes in her twilight years, leaving her unable to cook for herself, Peter Gethers does everything he can to make the remaining time they have as fulfilling as possible. Knowing that two of Judy's favourite pastimes are eating good food and reminiscing about fabulous meals gives Gethers an idea: He asks his mom to compose the perfect breakfast, lunch and dinner menu so he can recreate these dishes in one spectacular feast
Gethers embarks on an insightful journey. Because Judy's all-star menu dishes span several decades, Gethers showcases his mother's biography through a culinary lens. He details the legendary restaurant Ratner's on Manhattan's Lower East Side, owned by Judy's father, as well as the kitchen of the renowned Ma Maison in Los Angeles, where Judy began working when she was 53. With each breakfast item, appetizer, entree or dessert, Gethers touches on another chapter in his mother's life.
After tempting the reader's palate with a smorgasbord of gourmet treats, Gethers is kind enough to share all of the recipes from his mother's fantasy menu with his readers. He even includes his own notes to help foodies navigate the sometimes meticulous instructions from world-famous chefs, who just happen to be Judy's personal friends.
"My Mother's Kitchen" is more than a story about the comforts and pleasures of the perfect Eggs Benedict or Tarte Tatin. It's about finding your inner passion and sharing that enthusiasm with those around you. Learning to cook changed Judy's life, but more important, it gave her an excuse to gather those she loved most around the table to share and experience something special.
Lincee Ray, The Associated Press