Friday, October 14, 2011

Table of Contents by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Table of Contents: From Breakfast with Anita Diamant to Dessert with James Patterson - a Generous Helping of Recipes, Writings, and Insights from Today's Bestselling Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

304 pages
Published November 2010 by Adams Media
Source: the publisher

I like to think that I'm an alert reader, particularly since I began blogging, but I was surprised, when I picked up this book, by how often food appears in books. Perhaps, if you've read Lisa Genova's Still Alice, you'll recall the white chocolate challah pudding that Alice forgot how to make on Christmas Eve. Or maybe the crab and corn chowder that Lily makes in Barbara Delinsky's Not My Daugher or Dinah Kimble's green salad with salmon in Jennifer Haigh's Mrs. Kimble. 

For Table of Contents, Gelman and Krupp spoke with fifty authors who have included food in some one in their writings and included recipes for more than 100 dishes found the author's books. This is not, however, just a cookbook. Each of the authors has also speaks about what inspires them, who and what has influenced them, what readers should know about them and answer the questions readers most often ask.

Doesn't that sound like just the thing for someone who loves to read and loves to cook? I read this book in one sitting, something that's rare for me (granted, it's not exactly heavy reading and there's a lot of white space!). I always enjoy learning what inspires authors; it's one of the things I most enjoy when the Omaha Bookworms get the chance to speak with authors. For example, Anita Diamont (The Red Tent) uses modern dance as an incentive to sit down and write, Amy Greene (Bloodroot) draws her inspiration from the Appalachian landscape, and when Garth Stein (The Art of Racing In The Rain) knows that when he starts hearing voices, it means that he's listening to a character that will appear in his next book.

Unlike Four Kitchens which I reviewed earlier this week, most of the recipes in Table of Contents use ingredients that are easy to find, perhaps already in your own kitchen, so this book will find a place in my recipe book collection. I am, in fact, making Jacquelyn Mitchard's Next Day Rice Pudding as I write this review.

 If you'd like to get your hands on some of the recipes, or you're someone who gets all of their recipes from the internet, the authors have kindly written a blog that includes a lot of the recipes from the book. Gelman and Krupp are also the authors of The Book Club Cookbook and host a website by the same name. Here book clubs can recommend books to one another, find a list of authors who will meet with book clubs, and get some pairing ideas for food and books. 


  1. This sounds so wonderful, and I think it's so neat that the authors share a bit about their inspiration as well as their recipes. This must have been a really fun book to peruse and learn from! Great review on this one, you enthusiasm for this one is contagious!

  2. I have a copy of this book but haven't read it yet, just given it the cursory glance. I have a feeling my mom and cousin would really like it!

  3. I liked this book a lot, too - was inspired to try Helene Cooper's Shrimp Creole.

  4. This one sounds pretty cool. I wished that I loved to cook. It may have something to do with the fact that my husband doesn't like to step outside of his comfort zone.

  5. Fascinating idea for a book. Can't wait to find it. One of my family's favorites is "Mrs. Cobb's Meatloaf" from "The Cat Who..." series cookbook. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

  6. Oh, I'm always attuned to food mentioned in books. Some of my favorite books in fact have scrumptious descriptions; not sure if that's why they're my faves. Harry Potter, Beauty, The Princess Bride have memorable dessert scenes. This topic is making me hungry...

  7. This book sounds fantastic. I don't do near as much cooking as I used to but I still love to go through recipes.

  8. I feel so terrible that I received this one and it still sits somewhere under a stack of papers on my desk. But I'm glad to hear the ingredients are common ones. I have a Rachael Ray cookbook with so many great sounding recipes but SO many hard-to-find ingredients!