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"What a beautiful, rich, and poetic memoir this is. Phyllis Grant writes of longing, suffering, celebration, family, and food with such delicate power. Like the best chefs, she knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, and love. This is a wonderful book."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls, Big Magic, and Eat, Pray, Lo "What a beautiful, rich, and poetic memoir this is. Phyllis Grant writes of longing, suffering, celebration, family, and food with such delicate power. Like the best chefs, she knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, and love. This is a wonderful book."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls, Big Magic, and Eat, Pray, Love Phyllis Grant's Everything Is Under Control is a memoir about appetite--as it comes, goes, and refocuses its object of desire. With sparse, affecting prose, and an unsparing eye toward her, and her environment's, darkest corners, Grant's story follows the sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged, always revealing contours of her life: from her days as a dancer struggling to find her place at Juilliard, to her experiences in and out of four-star kitchens in New York City, to falling in love with her future husband and leaving the city after 9/11 for California where her children are born. All the while, a sense of longing roils in each stage as she moves through the headspace of a young woman longing to be sustained by a city, to a mother now sustaining a family herself. Written with the raw transparency of a diarist, Everything Is Under Control is an unputdownable series of vignettes followed by tried-and-true recipes from Grant's table--a heartrending yet unsentimental portrait of the highs and lows of young adulthood, motherhood, and a life in the kitchen.


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"What a beautiful, rich, and poetic memoir this is. Phyllis Grant writes of longing, suffering, celebration, family, and food with such delicate power. Like the best chefs, she knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, and love. This is a wonderful book."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls, Big Magic, and Eat, Pray, Lo "What a beautiful, rich, and poetic memoir this is. Phyllis Grant writes of longing, suffering, celebration, family, and food with such delicate power. Like the best chefs, she knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, and love. This is a wonderful book."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls, Big Magic, and Eat, Pray, Love Phyllis Grant's Everything Is Under Control is a memoir about appetite--as it comes, goes, and refocuses its object of desire. With sparse, affecting prose, and an unsparing eye toward her, and her environment's, darkest corners, Grant's story follows the sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged, always revealing contours of her life: from her days as a dancer struggling to find her place at Juilliard, to her experiences in and out of four-star kitchens in New York City, to falling in love with her future husband and leaving the city after 9/11 for California where her children are born. All the while, a sense of longing roils in each stage as she moves through the headspace of a young woman longing to be sustained by a city, to a mother now sustaining a family herself. Written with the raw transparency of a diarist, Everything Is Under Control is an unputdownable series of vignettes followed by tried-and-true recipes from Grant's table--a heartrending yet unsentimental portrait of the highs and lows of young adulthood, motherhood, and a life in the kitchen.

30 review for Everything Is Under Control: A Memoir with Recipes

  1. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    This is a delightful book that is part memoir, part recipe book. I needed a reprieve from reading anything "heavy" during this time, and this was the lighthearted reverie that I craved. First of all, it's only 256 pages, but when you hit approximately the 60% mark, the biography ends and the recipes begin. I cheerfully skimmed over those, since they harken back to foods and desserts that were integral parts of her life story sprinkled throughout the book. Phyllis reaches as far back as her great This is a delightful book that is part memoir, part recipe book. I needed a reprieve from reading anything "heavy" during this time, and this was the lighthearted reverie that I craved. First of all, it's only 256 pages, but when you hit approximately the 60% mark, the biography ends and the recipes begin. I cheerfully skimmed over those, since they harken back to foods and desserts that were integral parts of her life story sprinkled throughout the book. Phyllis reaches as far back as her great grandparents, and each relative has a cooking or baking anecdote as part of their story. She talks about being eleven years old and mysteriously losing fifteen pounds. For some reason at that time she doesn't "know" hunger, but finds confidence and calm in baking to feed others. As she says, "You just follow the rules; there is comfort in the logic". The next year her appetite returns. After high school graduation, Phyllis travels to New York City and Juilliard, chasing her dream of being a ballet dancer. Her mother leaves her with a book of handwritten recipes. Phyllis is body shamed into losing more weight to strike that ballet dancer physique. Eventually she has an epiphany that she'd like to try being a pastry chef. I was fascinated by her tenure training in a very hectic restaurant. She started out in the pastry area, but soon expressed interest in moving over to being a regular chef. I loved reading about all the things she sliced and diced, including accidentally cutting her own self in the process. She has a way with describing food preparation that is poetic and uplifting. I loved reading about her life in New York City. It was there that she met her future husband. Phyllis discusses her marriage, children, career moves, and life in general. It was a sort of easy, breezy, ironic and overall fun book. It was consumed very fast and was satisfying, like I'm sure a lot of her scrumptious recipes are at the end of the book! Thank you to the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan for providing an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 How can one not be drawn to a book with the title, Everything is under control, at a time when many things are not. Though I wish they were. Anytime is a good time though for me to pick up a foodie memoir, and this is a very easy read. Told in short vignettes we see Phyllis starting out wanting to be a dancer. Accepted into Julliard, her association with food is Paramount to her identity. Dancers, after all need to be thin. She graduates but is told she is good, just not quite good enough. So 3.5 How can one not be drawn to a book with the title, Everything is under control, at a time when many things are not. Though I wish they were. Anytime is a good time though for me to pick up a foodie memoir, and this is a very easy read. Told in short vignettes we see Phyllis starting out wanting to be a dancer. Accepted into Julliard, her association with food is Paramount to her identity. Dancers, after all need to be thin. She graduates but is told she is good, just not quite good enough. So she decides she wants to be a chef. We follow her as she tries to find herself. Although told in a light hearted manner, there are real crises, issues that she must circumnavigate. Her life then, her life now. Her family, food and fate. I'm not much of a baker so I'll probably not attempt those recipes, but the beef stew looks yummy and just the kind of comfort food I seem to be craving.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Book Lovers Pizza

    I am a fiend for food memoirs and listed this on my Book Lovers Pizza blog as one of my most anticipated foodie memoirs of 2020: https://bookloverspizza.com/8-food-me... Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. In the middle of the night, not able to sleep from anxiety during quarantine, I chuckled when I came upon this title on my Kindle app (because Everything is NOT Under Control for me right now.) What I found was a really lovely series I am a fiend for food memoirs and listed this on my Book Lovers Pizza blog as one of my most anticipated foodie memoirs of 2020: https://bookloverspizza.com/8-food-me... Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. In the middle of the night, not able to sleep from anxiety during quarantine, I chuckled when I came upon this title on my Kindle app (because Everything is NOT Under Control for me right now.) What I found was a really lovely series of vignette or diary entry-type pages and stories of Grant's life as a chef, mother and later, a midwife. It's kind of a "hit the highlights (and lowlights)" type look at her life written in a raw, emotional and very poetic format. The gourmet recipes at the end were simple, delicious, and look incredible. This is a very short and interesting peek into her life....one that, like many of us, has its serious bumps and is far from perfect. I loved it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Grace Machon

    Sometimes a book comes when you need it I received this book as unsolicited book mail and I am so grateful for it. Would I have given this book five stars last Thursday?maybe not. But I didn’t read it last Thursday I read it on a Thursday that gave after some very scary very big things and because of that I loved it. I cried as I tired pages and held it to my chest on public transport not caring if I looked strange. A moving story of making decisions, failing and trying something new, following Sometimes a book comes when you need it I received this book as unsolicited book mail and I am so grateful for it. Would I have given this book five stars last Thursday?maybe not. But I didn’t read it last Thursday I read it on a Thursday that gave after some very scary very big things and because of that I loved it. I cried as I tired pages and held it to my chest on public transport not caring if I looked strange. A moving story of making decisions, failing and trying something new, following your passion till it stabs you in the leg, finding love and accepting when you can not. It is about family and how we feed them emotionally and spiritually. It’s about death sometimes and life in other. It’s beautiful and stark and poetic and delicious. I got home and made the pesto from this book, it was full of crush and acid and earth and it was wonderful. This book is full of sadness and hope and so am I.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mikejencostanzo

    In Everything Is Under Control, author Phyllis Grant invites the reader into her life story, by way of her kitchen. We pass the typical milestones. Body image. Career choices. Awkward relationships. Marriage, Kids. And right away, food is a thread that weaves the chapters together. Avocados drizzled with savory vinaigrette and meats bubbling away in rich, umami sauces. Grant’s recipes brim over with surprises. Uses for leftover wine. Or the things in the back of your icebox. Jams made from veget In Everything Is Under Control, author Phyllis Grant invites the reader into her life story, by way of her kitchen. We pass the typical milestones. Body image. Career choices. Awkward relationships. Marriage, Kids. And right away, food is a thread that weaves the chapters together. Avocados drizzled with savory vinaigrette and meats bubbling away in rich, umami sauces. Grant’s recipes brim over with surprises. Uses for leftover wine. Or the things in the back of your icebox. Jams made from vegetables. And we learn never to attempt her recipes without a healthy supply of anchovies. But her life story turns unexpected corners too. We trace a birth doula’s journey through post-partum depression and abortion. We witness a dancer’s entrance into a professional kitchen. And we hold a cookbook written by a former anorexic making her peace with food. The thing about memoirs (at least if the subject is living) is that they’re yet unfinished. We look at Grant’s story as she tells it, and she assures us that “everything is under control.” Because Food. Tastefully prepared, thoughtfully consumed, it is the healing balm Grant offers. I suspect there is more to come in the author’s journey though. More to make peace with. In her early chapters, Grant references a frantic search for religious healing, holding a Bible to her chest, pretending to believe in God. I hope there may be a time when she circles back around to this as-of-yet-unwritten part of her story and finds the satisfaction that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. In any case, I look forward to trying several of Grant’s recipes, and suggest that her imaginative take on Pesto is itself worth the price of admission. I received Everything is Under Control in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. ~Jen

  6. 4 out of 5

    Primrose Jess

    This book is pure Phyllis. Jarring in it's abruptness, so much said that isn't said, and beautifully poignant in so many places. All the things I've admired in her writing for years. I find her deeply relatable on some of the struggles and frustrations women have. Her battle with postpartum depression is just raw, painful, and gut wrenching to read. I can't imagine how hard that must have been to go through, not once but twice. Her persevering in the kitchen when faced with sexual harassment, ex This book is pure Phyllis. Jarring in it's abruptness, so much said that isn't said, and beautifully poignant in so many places. All the things I've admired in her writing for years. I find her deeply relatable on some of the struggles and frustrations women have. Her battle with postpartum depression is just raw, painful, and gut wrenching to read. I can't imagine how hard that must have been to go through, not once but twice. Her persevering in the kitchen when faced with sexual harassment, exhaustion, and working her way through the lines was shocking to read in parts but also exhilarating when she writes about what moved her while working in the kitchen. Above all, I love her love of food. Her commitment to decreasing kitchen waste and making delicious "hella salads". If you aren't familiar with Phyllis's writing style, you might find this book too abrupt. Too all over the place and lacking solid cohesive flow rather than the loose timeline of her life that it follows. It really is a weaving chronicle of her life up until close to the present. It ebbs, flows, and wanders through her life's timeline in snippets. I won't lie, I found it frustrating because I wanted to know "what happened next?" when we are wrenched from one essay to the next. I reminded myself, it's not my story to tell and she's entitled to privacy. It truly reads like a diary where she knows what happened in the unsaid whereas we infer or wonder. I still enjoyed the book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    This is an interesting memoir, written as a diary, about a woman's relationship with food and coming into her own. Grant's transition from dance to chef to mom (yet still cooking) will resonate with many. A woman with an eating disorder, she found safety in a kitchen. From a recipe perspective, btw, this a good one for those looking to use those odds and ends in the fridge. They look marvelous (and now I'm going to buy some anchovies!). It's hard to rate memoirs because it feels as though the ra This is an interesting memoir, written as a diary, about a woman's relationship with food and coming into her own. Grant's transition from dance to chef to mom (yet still cooking) will resonate with many. A woman with an eating disorder, she found safety in a kitchen. From a recipe perspective, btw, this a good one for those looking to use those odds and ends in the fridge. They look marvelous (and now I'm going to buy some anchovies!). It's hard to rate memoirs because it feels as though the rating judges the person and their life choices but that's not the case here. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. Nicely written and it packs a lot into a small space.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mom_Loves_Reading

    This is a short book, like 200ish pages, & 20+ of them are recipes. But I will tell you this, I felt like I read a much lengthier novel (in a good way) after I finished this book (in like 1.5 hours) & I found myself wanting to know more about this person. When I first started the book I wasn't too sure about the writing style & but then it grew on me as I felt myself drawn into Phyllis Grant's life. . The book is written in powerful vignettes, kind of diary style without specific dates. Grant take This is a short book, like 200ish pages, & 20+ of them are recipes. But I will tell you this, I felt like I read a much lengthier novel (in a good way) after I finished this book (in like 1.5 hours) & I found myself wanting to know more about this person. When I first started the book I wasn't too sure about the writing style & but then it grew on me as I felt myself drawn into Phyllis Grant's life. . The book is written in powerful vignettes, kind of diary style without specific dates. Grant takes us on a grounding, eye-opening, raw, & uninhibited journey through her life, introduces us to some amazing sounding food along the way, & poetically describes what it's like to go through post-partum depression & dysphoria, an eating disorder, an abortion, & more. Yes, there are some heavy subjects in this beautiful book, but Grant writes about these subjects with masterful, unflinching honesty. . I encourage you to read this book for yourself & see why sometimes short can be more than just sweet. The recipes at the back of the book all sound wonderful & I am definitely going to try making a few. Which brings me to my favorite quote in the entire book, that truly reasonated with me: . "When I cook, I am calm. And confident. Baking works. You just follow the rules. There is comfort in logic."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Boz

    I love food memoirs and I read this in one sitting - a beautiful, lyrical, and sparse memoir about a woman who tried it all and struggled with motherhood and love, but her heart always went back to food. The writing style was interesting, I felt like I was reading her diary. I love reading all the descriptions of food - I have never read a more beautiful paragraph about the making of a tuna salad sandwich. The collection of eclectic recipes at the end was a great touch, I wish more of them were I love food memoirs and I read this in one sitting - a beautiful, lyrical, and sparse memoir about a woman who tried it all and struggled with motherhood and love, but her heart always went back to food. The writing style was interesting, I felt like I was reading her diary. I love reading all the descriptions of food - I have never read a more beautiful paragraph about the making of a tuna salad sandwich. The collection of eclectic recipes at the end was a great touch, I wish more of them were related to the vignettes that she brushes upon in her story. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rennie

    I feel like I would love her personally, especially because I watched some of her cooking videos on Instagram and she opened one drily with “Happy fucking New Year” and then just launched into how you begin this recipe. Let’s be friends! And I love a good diary-like, vignette-y memoir but in a self-centered way I found myself more interested in the bits about being young and starving and overworked in NYC and I couldn’t hear any more about pre-birth perineum massages and eating placentas. Thank I feel like I would love her personally, especially because I watched some of her cooking videos on Instagram and she opened one drily with “Happy fucking New Year” and then just launched into how you begin this recipe. Let’s be friends! And I love a good diary-like, vignette-y memoir but in a self-centered way I found myself more interested in the bits about being young and starving and overworked in NYC and I couldn’t hear any more about pre-birth perineum massages and eating placentas. Thank goodness it was over quickly. There were scenes and moments and even eras of her life and experience I wanted to hear much more about, but it felt like it turned into a lotttt about having kids and that wasn’t what I was expecting or wanted to read. Recipes are ok, nothing that jumped out as a must-make and too many anchovies but I like her lemony, creme fraichey style so I’ll keep an eye on what else she writes. It’s not a bad food memoir, just didn’t go in directions I particularly wanted to read about. Love the style of it though, and the very brave and honest storytelling.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Mcmanus

    Very curious writing style. I’m not sure I liked it. It was very sparse and yet the author manages to get her main ideas across. But I did not love this memoir. While I ended up knowing about the author, I never really did connect with the idea of how food fit in with her life. Yes I know she worked in restaurants. But she did lots of other things as well. I guess I just didn’t recognize her passion for food and cooking. It didn’t come across all that clearly to me. Aside from some mentions, the Very curious writing style. I’m not sure I liked it. It was very sparse and yet the author manages to get her main ideas across. But I did not love this memoir. While I ended up knowing about the author, I never really did connect with the idea of how food fit in with her life. Yes I know she worked in restaurants. But she did lots of other things as well. I guess I just didn’t recognize her passion for food and cooking. It didn’t come across all that clearly to me. Aside from some mentions, the recipes at the back of the book seemed kind of just thrown in for no apparent reason.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I am not sure if I've ever read a memoir like this before. Snippets of her life, hence why it took me only about 90 minutes to read from start to finish. And yet despite this briefness, she proves that nothing is under control, from working in New York City kitchens to being a mother and a wife. I've never heard of Grant before, but I loved her writing. Honest, at times raw. And all familiar authors have given advance praise for her memoir: Ruth Reichl, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dani Shapiro, plus some I am not sure if I've ever read a memoir like this before. Snippets of her life, hence why it took me only about 90 minutes to read from start to finish. And yet despite this briefness, she proves that nothing is under control, from working in New York City kitchens to being a mother and a wife. I've never heard of Grant before, but I loved her writing. Honest, at times raw. And all familiar authors have given advance praise for her memoir: Ruth Reichl, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dani Shapiro, plus some in the acknowledgements, so that gives you a glimpse into her style and the people around her. The last quarter of the book are recipes, some which look really good!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    The author's story of her life which includes being a dancer, a pastry chef, a doula, and a mom I was surprised how much I connected with this book. It's written in a very sparse vignette style with wording that was both poetic and tense. I have respect for Phyllis Grant, who went through very different career shifts with (seemingly) no worries about how much her life changed. Her story of choosing not to have another child because her post-partum depression from the others was so bad she worried The author's story of her life which includes being a dancer, a pastry chef, a doula, and a mom I was surprised how much I connected with this book. It's written in a very sparse vignette style with wording that was both poetic and tense. I have respect for Phyllis Grant, who went through very different career shifts with (seemingly) no worries about how much her life changed. Her story of choosing not to have another child because her post-partum depression from the others was so bad she worried she might harm it was a smack in the face in a good way. I tried the icebox brownies recipe. They were too bittersweet for me, but that's because I like my desserts super-sweet.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    At first, did not think I would like this book. It was too disjointed. I couldn't get into it until I did. Then I could not put it down. I was hooked. I was fascinated. The author wants to be a dancer. Moves from California to New York and attend Julliard. She graduates but she can't be a dancer because she can't get through an audition. She decides to become a chef. She works in kitchens. The food scene in New York is brutal. Long hours, injuries, and pain. Like I said fascinating. I have been At first, did not think I would like this book. It was too disjointed. I couldn't get into it until I did. Then I could not put it down. I was hooked. I was fascinated. The author wants to be a dancer. Moves from California to New York and attend Julliard. She graduates but she can't be a dancer because she can't get through an audition. She decides to become a chef. She works in kitchens. The food scene in New York is brutal. Long hours, injuries, and pain. Like I said fascinating. I have been so sheltered in my life. I live vicariously through other people and their memoirs. So many books. So little time. I digress. She's marries. Has

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    4.5 stars. As mini-genres go, I really love poetic, episodic memoirs (see: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Beth Ann Fennelly), and will happily add this author to the list. I knew nothing about this author, her writing, or her family (married in real life to "Silicon Valley's" Gavin Belson!), and her real life reads like a novel. This felt like Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" meets Stephanie Danler's "Sweetbitter," and the way food and appetite weave throughout her story is satisfying. Docking five points 4.5 stars. As mini-genres go, I really love poetic, episodic memoirs (see: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Beth Ann Fennelly), and will happily add this author to the list. I knew nothing about this author, her writing, or her family (married in real life to "Silicon Valley's" Gavin Belson!), and her real life reads like a novel. This felt like Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" meets Stephanie Danler's "Sweetbitter," and the way food and appetite weave throughout her story is satisfying. Docking five points just for personal taste: the middle section of the book deals with pregnancy, fertility struggles, postpartum depression, and abortion, and while honest, I just found these difficult to stomach. I also found the price tag to be a bit steep for a book I read in only a few hours (but I'll blame the editor/publisher for that :)).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Judith von Kirchbach

    I wanted to like this book but when I was done I felt like I'd just read someone's diary, I like memoirs but her stream of consciousness writing, jumping around to different life events without clear definition or separation was jarring for me. Also I noticed I need more of a lead-up to big life events, it is easier for me to relate if I have context and for my taste this context was missing in this rapid fire succession of big events. Grant is skilled at boiling key life events down to their ess I wanted to like this book but when I was done I felt like I'd just read someone's diary, I like memoirs but her stream of consciousness writing, jumping around to different life events without clear definition or separation was jarring for me. Also I noticed I need more of a lead-up to big life events, it is easier for me to relate if I have context and for my taste this context was missing in this rapid fire succession of big events. Grant is skilled at boiling key life events down to their essence, but perhaps she’s overdone it in this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine Elise

    It's not often that I take a chance on a memoir from an unknown author. Forging a connection deep enough to invest fully into a random person's life story can be hard for me to achieve, personally. So, imagine my surprise when I slipped so deep, right into emotional investment with Phyllis's relationship with food and motherhood. Some of the major themes explored so beautifully in the memoir are emotional connections to food, eating disorders, motherhood and postpartum depression. The first half It's not often that I take a chance on a memoir from an unknown author. Forging a connection deep enough to invest fully into a random person's life story can be hard for me to achieve, personally. So, imagine my surprise when I slipped so deep, right into emotional investment with Phyllis's relationship with food and motherhood. Some of the major themes explored so beautifully in the memoir are emotional connections to food, eating disorders, motherhood and postpartum depression. The first half of the book focuses on her familial relationship with food, being a dancer and then trying to make it in a professional kitchen. Once we reached the stressful environment of the restaurant scene, I just couldn't put it down. Each story of food guides us through Phyllis's life, little mile markers that ground our experience of often dark subjects. It chilled me how much she decided to frankly speak about her experience with postpartum depression. As a non-binary reader who doesn't often connect with themes of motherhood, I felt myself mourning for her, and even with her. I don't know how else to say it, but her story was captivating. As the title suggests, there are recipes included in the book. These are inserted in the latter half, after the narrative portion and still include Phyllis's warm, familiar voice. The recipes range from short and sweet to higher end but all offer elevation and improvement for home cooks at any level. It truly surprised me how I noticed each and every one of the recipes from stories in the book, no matter how fleeting they were mentioned. Some of them, like the vanilla bean ice cream, stirred an emotional response in me, triggering my mind to recall the story it was mentioned in. It's this feeling that makes me believe that this half narrative, half cookbook experiment is so successful. Phyllis Grant absolutely nails this experimental style and it was such a wonderful ride to experience. If you're a foodie, a young woman, a mother, or a just reader looking for a captivating story to empathize and grow with, this might be for you. Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux who provided me with an Advance Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review. Everything Is Under Control A Memoir with Recipes is out on April, 21st! Support your local bookstores, please.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lorri Steinbacher

    Can read over breakfast, maybe over some cottage cheese pancakes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Penni

    Poetic, tidbits, family, food, anorexia, birth, truth, and recipes. There were bits that had TMI but that is where the truth fit. I could have done without some of those human nature tidbits as they didn't fit with the scrumptious food recipes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Engaging writing style. Raw, emotional and though-provoking to read. This felt different than other memoirs I've read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Sure, Grant can cook...but you should see the way she WRITES.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mahdish

    This is a memoir of a girl who decides to become a dancer. She enters Juilliard and tries her best to become a ballerina. But her life goes into a different route and she finds herself in a restaurant working long stressing hours ... She knows something has to change in her life! ⏬ This was quite a fun and super quick read. The whole experience was a bit surprising for me; i was expecting a book about becoming a chef or something like that (i was not totally mistaken tho). But there was much more This is a memoir of a girl who decides to become a dancer. She enters Juilliard and tries her best to become a ballerina. But her life goes into a different route and she finds herself in a restaurant working long stressing hours ... She knows something has to change in her life! ⏬ This was quite a fun and super quick read. The whole experience was a bit surprising for me; i was expecting a book about becoming a chef or something like that (i was not totally mistaken tho). But there was much more to this book than just cooking and appetite. ⏬ Also the structure was absolutely modern, poetic and kinda hasty. I mean it was as if i was working as a sous-chef in a hectic restaurant kitchen😳 trying to keep up with the chef (author) and not messing up anything being so fast😫 Actually this was something i really liked about this book. The author carries you back and forth in time super quickly, assuming you'd catch up on the way. Tho this book was short, it had some deep unsolved issues covered. And honestly for me some of these issues were relatable, which is strange cause i have not experienced them at all.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    Loved it, wanted more This is a beautiful stream of consciousness memoir--lots of evocative phrases that make the reader do their fare share of the work. As someone who has worked in a fine dining kitchen, those passages were very familiar to me. As someone who has never given birth, those parts are more challenging. I imagine each reader will have a different set of entry points and roadblocks. I guess there's no real graceful ending for a memoir in progress, but I wish it was longer. The recipes Loved it, wanted more This is a beautiful stream of consciousness memoir--lots of evocative phrases that make the reader do their fare share of the work. As someone who has worked in a fine dining kitchen, those passages were very familiar to me. As someone who has never given birth, those parts are more challenging. I imagine each reader will have a different set of entry points and roadblocks. I guess there's no real graceful ending for a memoir in progress, but I wish it was longer. The recipes look fantastic and I think I will try some.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christie

    I enjoyed this, but wanted more! It's super short - I read it in an hour or two - and kind of skims the surface of a lot of interesting parts of the author's life. I am looking forward to trying out some of the recipes!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This memoir was a quick read, and while she was candid in her experiences of trying to be a dancer, of marriage and having children, and of working in a few restaurants, I expected a little more in the way of food writing. Her recipes (which take up the last 1/3 of the book) are fun to read, but nothing appealed to me. As another reviewer said, she overuses anchovies (probably because of the "umami" flavoring), and I'm not one to have them on hand in my pantry. The memoir is in the form of a dia This memoir was a quick read, and while she was candid in her experiences of trying to be a dancer, of marriage and having children, and of working in a few restaurants, I expected a little more in the way of food writing. Her recipes (which take up the last 1/3 of the book) are fun to read, but nothing appealed to me. As another reviewer said, she overuses anchovies (probably because of the "umami" flavoring), and I'm not one to have them on hand in my pantry. The memoir is in the form of a diary with some pages having only a sentence or two. It takes a unique talent to convey life experiences in an abbreviated manner, but Grant manages to pull it off reasonably well. Like many books written in this style, I wanted to learn more about certain aspects of her life, and by following her Instagram feed, maybe more will be forthcoming. It's a good read if you're looking at an intimate view of her life experiences but don't expect a lot of food writing. Readalikes include Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food , My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life (and maybe others by Ruth Reichl), but if you're looking for more in the way of experiences about becoming a chef, try Michael Ruhlman's The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection . Thanks to the publisher for the digital advance reading copy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I did not enjoy this book at all. I read the entire thing in one hour, so it’s definitely a quick read. It’s less of an actual book, and more of a sort of stream of consciousness from someone who sounds frankly, unstable. The words/letters TMI have never had as much meaning as they do here. Even for people who think pregnancy and childbirth is some sort of beautiful, natural miracle, this book is just waaaayyyyyy too graphic on those issues. And any “friends” you have that smuggle your placenta I did not enjoy this book at all. I read the entire thing in one hour, so it’s definitely a quick read. It’s less of an actual book, and more of a sort of stream of consciousness from someone who sounds frankly, unstable. The words/letters TMI have never had as much meaning as they do here. Even for people who think pregnancy and childbirth is some sort of beautiful, natural miracle, this book is just waaaayyyyyy too graphic on those issues. And any “friends” you have that smuggle your placenta out of the hospital, chop it up, cook it, and feed it to you, should be fucking imprisoned in a loony bin. And so should the new mommy that puts the wheels in motion for such a vile plan. There is something really wrong with all of these people. That said, this book goes from her being an anorexic ballet student/graduate of Juilliard, to wanting to be a chef, to wanting to be a writer, then yoga teacher, and finally a doula/midwife. Do any of these things say...long term gainful employment to you? To me, it’s as though someone who appears to be very confused, impulsive, and unbalanced, is just furiously scratching out her thoughts on paper. Granted, it flows and sounds cohesive and chronological, but that just shows she has structure in her writing. It doesn’t mean the writing itself is anything that anyone wants to read. I was disgusted for most of the book and nearly shut it for good several times. The only reason I didn’t is because I knew how fast I would get through it, so it wouldn’t be a huge waste of my time or effort. For the life of me, I am baffled as to the number of positive reviews of this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jen Bilik

    This book moved me to my marrow-filled bones. I haven't been able to focus too well during Covid, and this is the first piece of writing that sat me down and brought me somewhere else. I could see this book not being for everybody—this is a book that actually draws an innovative line in the sand with vision, point of view, and masterful form. It practically invents spare lushness. In addition to being compulsive, heart-aching, wit-studded, and beautiful, since I finished the book, I've been thin This book moved me to my marrow-filled bones. I haven't been able to focus too well during Covid, and this is the first piece of writing that sat me down and brought me somewhere else. I could see this book not being for everybody—this is a book that actually draws an innovative line in the sand with vision, point of view, and masterful form. It practically invents spare lushness. In addition to being compulsive, heart-aching, wit-studded, and beautiful, since I finished the book, I've been thinking about it nonstop, the signature of something that truly moves me. The thematic overtones of sensuality, appetite, finding oneself individually and with others, motherhood, and the soul-balming control of cooking reverberate in retrospect. I've already bought it for two more people. And last night I made the pissaladière recipe. I need to work a little more on my dough. There's something about Grant's recipes—in her blog, on her Instagram (a MUST-follow), and in the book—that works for me better than others. She knows exactly when to give you a little push, anticipates the question you're going to answer. Where her memoir writing will leave you wanting more, her recipes give you exactly what you need.

  28. 5 out of 5

    christina

    Readability: 4/5 Plot: 3/5 Recommend: No This memoir follows the life of Phyllis and her relationship with food and the world around her. This was a surprisingly quick read. The "chapters" were around 1-3 pages each, so jumping from one chapter to another was really quick and easy. The thing with the small chapters is that, as we read, it speeds past all of the events and memories. I really didn't understand the purpose of this memoir, it's kind of just a brief summary of the author's life that real Readability: 4/5 Plot: 3/5 Recommend: No This memoir follows the life of Phyllis and her relationship with food and the world around her. This was a surprisingly quick read. The "chapters" were around 1-3 pages each, so jumping from one chapter to another was really quick and easy. The thing with the small chapters is that, as we read, it speeds past all of the events and memories. I really didn't understand the purpose of this memoir, it's kind of just a brief summary of the author's life that really doesn't feel like it tackles or addresses any topic other than motherhood and her relationship with food. On a different note, I really liked the writing/formatting style. It was both vague and interesting to me. There aren't many memoirs I can get through as easily as I did this one, and it is purely due to the writing style and formatting. Overall, it was a quick read and not a bad one. The only reason I wouldn't recommend it is because I felt no connection to it and it lacked a central idea/story to me. I appreciate the recipes at the back of this book, but there is probably a 10% chance of me ever revisiting this book to find a recipe. The specific copy of this book I read was an ARC.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Boyd

    Thank you to #NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my honest review. Everything is Under Control can be a really quick read that you devour in one big bite or you can read it slowly, savoring every story and every recipe. Written like an undated diary, it is a glimpse into Phyllis Grant's life as a chef, a midwife and a mother. While studying ballet at Juilliard Grant is told that she is just not good enoug Thank you to #NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my honest review. Everything is Under Control can be a really quick read that you devour in one big bite or you can read it slowly, savoring every story and every recipe. Written like an undated diary, it is a glimpse into Phyllis Grant's life as a chef, a midwife and a mother. While studying ballet at Juilliard Grant is told that she is just not good enough to succeed as a dancer so she decides to become a pastry chef. She moves to various other positions in the restaurant kitchen before deciding, after the birth of her own children, that she was going to become a midwife. Food is an integral part of this book but Grant talks about her abortion, her eating disorder, and is extremely honest in telling the reader that she loved her daughter instantly but that loving her son took some time. The book is an excellent combination of memoir and recipe book and the recipe for Grandma's Fudgy Icebox Brownies is definitely one worth trying.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It took me so long because I kept running out of time with my library e loan and then I’d have to wait a few weeks to get it again. Overall I think this is pretty well written, although very informal. At some parts it felt more like a journal entry than a memoir which I typically don’t mind but here it irked me at parts. It had such a strong beginning, the parts about college in NYC and the pressure of being a dancer leading to an eating disorder were so compelling. Then the move to California a It took me so long because I kept running out of time with my library e loan and then I’d have to wait a few weeks to get it again. Overall I think this is pretty well written, although very informal. At some parts it felt more like a journal entry than a memoir which I typically don’t mind but here it irked me at parts. It had such a strong beginning, the parts about college in NYC and the pressure of being a dancer leading to an eating disorder were so compelling. Then the move to California and Motherhood sections fell short for me. That could also just be because I’ve experienced going to college in NYC and dysphoric body thoughts but have never given birth. I SO wish the recipes were dispersed throughout the book rather than just thrown at the end!!! She writes these accounts of cooking to get her through times in her life and it makes much more sense to have the recipe right there after she mentions it! It felt pointless to put them all at the end I had completely forgotten about half of them by the time I got there.

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