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America's favorite storyteller, Pat Conroy, is back with a unique cookbook that only he could conceive. Delighting us with tales of his passion for cooking and good food and the people, places, and great meals he has experienced, Conroy mixes them together with mouthwatering recipes from the Deep South and the world beyond. It all started thirty years ago with a chance purc America's favorite storyteller, Pat Conroy, is back with a unique cookbook that only he could conceive. Delighting us with tales of his passion for cooking and good food and the people, places, and great meals he has experienced, Conroy mixes them together with mouthwatering recipes from the Deep South and the world beyond. It all started thirty years ago with a chance purchase of The Escoffier Cookbook, an unlikely and daunting introduction for the beginner. But Conroy was more than up to the task. He set out with unwavering determination to learn the basics of French cooking--stocks and dough--and moved swiftly on to veal demi-glace and p�te bris�e. With the help of his culinary accomplice, Suzanne Williamson Pollak, Conroy mastered the dishes of his beloved South as well as the cuisine he has savored in places as far away from home as Paris, Rome, and San Francisco. Each chapter opens with a story told with the inimitable brio of the author. We see Conroy in New Orleans celebrating his triumphant novel The Prince of Tides at a new restaurant where there is a contretemps with its hardworking young owner/chef--years later he discovered the earnest young chef was none other than Emeril Lagasse; we accompany Pat and his wife on their honeymoon in Italy and wander with him, wonderstruck, through the markets of Umbria and Rome; we learn how a dinner with his fighter-pilot father was preceded by the Great Santini himself acting out a perilous night flight that would become the last chapters of one of his son's most beloved novels. These tales and more are followed by corresponding recipes--from Breakfast Shrimp and Grits and Sweet Potato Rolls to Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Chestnuts and Beefsteak Florentine to Peppered Peaches and Creme Brulee. A master storyteller and passionate cook, Conroy believes that "A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal." "This book is the story of my life as it relates to the subject of food. It is my autobiography in food and meals and restaurants and countries far and near. Let me take you to a restaurant on the Left Bank of Paris that I found when writing The Lords of Discipline. There are meals I ate in Rome while writing The Prince of Tides that ache in my memory when I resurrect them. There is a shrimp dish I ate in an elegant English restaurant, where Cuban cigars were passed out to all the gentlemen in the room after dinner, that I can taste on my palate as I write this. There is barbecue and its variations in the South, and the subject is a holy one to me. I write of truffles in the Dordogne Valley in France, cilantro in Bangkok, catfish in Alabama, scuppernong in South Carolina, Chinese food from my years in San Francisco, and white asparagus from the first meal my agent took me to in New York City. Let me tell you about the fabulous things I have eaten in my life, the story of the food I have encountered along the way. . . "


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America's favorite storyteller, Pat Conroy, is back with a unique cookbook that only he could conceive. Delighting us with tales of his passion for cooking and good food and the people, places, and great meals he has experienced, Conroy mixes them together with mouthwatering recipes from the Deep South and the world beyond. It all started thirty years ago with a chance purc America's favorite storyteller, Pat Conroy, is back with a unique cookbook that only he could conceive. Delighting us with tales of his passion for cooking and good food and the people, places, and great meals he has experienced, Conroy mixes them together with mouthwatering recipes from the Deep South and the world beyond. It all started thirty years ago with a chance purchase of The Escoffier Cookbook, an unlikely and daunting introduction for the beginner. But Conroy was more than up to the task. He set out with unwavering determination to learn the basics of French cooking--stocks and dough--and moved swiftly on to veal demi-glace and p�te bris�e. With the help of his culinary accomplice, Suzanne Williamson Pollak, Conroy mastered the dishes of his beloved South as well as the cuisine he has savored in places as far away from home as Paris, Rome, and San Francisco. Each chapter opens with a story told with the inimitable brio of the author. We see Conroy in New Orleans celebrating his triumphant novel The Prince of Tides at a new restaurant where there is a contretemps with its hardworking young owner/chef--years later he discovered the earnest young chef was none other than Emeril Lagasse; we accompany Pat and his wife on their honeymoon in Italy and wander with him, wonderstruck, through the markets of Umbria and Rome; we learn how a dinner with his fighter-pilot father was preceded by the Great Santini himself acting out a perilous night flight that would become the last chapters of one of his son's most beloved novels. These tales and more are followed by corresponding recipes--from Breakfast Shrimp and Grits and Sweet Potato Rolls to Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Chestnuts and Beefsteak Florentine to Peppered Peaches and Creme Brulee. A master storyteller and passionate cook, Conroy believes that "A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal." "This book is the story of my life as it relates to the subject of food. It is my autobiography in food and meals and restaurants and countries far and near. Let me take you to a restaurant on the Left Bank of Paris that I found when writing The Lords of Discipline. There are meals I ate in Rome while writing The Prince of Tides that ache in my memory when I resurrect them. There is a shrimp dish I ate in an elegant English restaurant, where Cuban cigars were passed out to all the gentlemen in the room after dinner, that I can taste on my palate as I write this. There is barbecue and its variations in the South, and the subject is a holy one to me. I write of truffles in the Dordogne Valley in France, cilantro in Bangkok, catfish in Alabama, scuppernong in South Carolina, Chinese food from my years in San Francisco, and white asparagus from the first meal my agent took me to in New York City. Let me tell you about the fabulous things I have eaten in my life, the story of the food I have encountered along the way. . . "

30 review for The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    An early Christmas present from my husband. Have been reading this off and on for the last few weeks. Not sure I will try many of the recipes, but I enjoyed the stories that went with them, which is really why I wanted to own this book. Conroy had such an interesting and varied life, difficult at times but definitely varied. It is always a joy for me to read his words.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    The Pat Conroy Cookbook by the late Pat Conroy is an intimate look into his life experiences and their relationship to food, not only in beautiful prose but in the glorious and colorful language that is his signature. He talks about his love and awe of the Low Country and Beaufort, South Carolina, that truly took him in as he made his home on Fripp Island for much of his life. In this book, Pat Conroy talks about living in Atlanta, Georgia as well as in Rome and in Paris, as he relates the work The Pat Conroy Cookbook by the late Pat Conroy is an intimate look into his life experiences and their relationship to food, not only in beautiful prose but in the glorious and colorful language that is his signature. He talks about his love and awe of the Low Country and Beaufort, South Carolina, that truly took him in as he made his home on Fripp Island for much of his life. In this book, Pat Conroy talks about living in Atlanta, Georgia as well as in Rome and in Paris, as he relates the working on his many books and the foods that were pivotal to those times. It is a beautiful book that gives one more insight into his life and the resilience of the human spirit. In addition to all of the wonderful stories, there are many enticing recipes. I am looking forward to enjoying many, and all in tribute to an author dear to my heart. "Home is a damaged word, bruisable as fruit, in the cruel glossaries of the language I choose to describe the long, fearful march of my childhood. Home was a word that caught in my throat, stung like a paper cut, drew blood in its passover of my life, and hurt me in all of the soft places. My longing for home was as powerful as fire in my bloodstream ." "The people of the Low Country measure the passing of the seasons not by the changing colors of its deciduous trees but the brightening and withering of its grand and swashbuckling salt marshes, the shining glory of the Low Country and the central metaphor of my writing life."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)

    I have listened to The Pat Conroy Cookbook on audio, read by the author. Am I ever in a tizzy: I am starving, I am verklempt, and I am craving an immediate jump into one—any one—of his other books. This, ladies and gentlemen, is The Pat Conroy Cookbook Conundrum.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I loved this book. If you are a fan of Conroy's this is a must read. It reads more like a memoir. Every chapter opens with a wonderful tale (he is the great storyteller) followed by recipes related to the adventure. My favoirte chapter is titled, Why Dying Down South is More Fun. I wanted to stop reading and make his recipe for Dunbar Macaroni. If you like to cook --or enjoy reading cookbooks, you will end up marking half the recipes in this book as ones to try. Conroy is a passionate about cook I loved this book. If you are a fan of Conroy's this is a must read. It reads more like a memoir. Every chapter opens with a wonderful tale (he is the great storyteller) followed by recipes related to the adventure. My favoirte chapter is titled, Why Dying Down South is More Fun. I wanted to stop reading and make his recipe for Dunbar Macaroni. If you like to cook --or enjoy reading cookbooks, you will end up marking half the recipes in this book as ones to try. Conroy is a passionate about cooking and food.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bobbi

    I love whatever Pat Conroy writes and this book is no exception. If you're looking for gourmet, non-fattening recipes, this is not the book for you. The book is not chock full of recipes and the ones he includes are generally Southern food, simply prepared, and not particularly healthy. But between recipes are Pat's wonderful stories. In fact, it took me quite a long time to get through the whole book, much longer than I thought, although with his books, that's not a bad thing. Of course he write I love whatever Pat Conroy writes and this book is no exception. If you're looking for gourmet, non-fattening recipes, this is not the book for you. The book is not chock full of recipes and the ones he includes are generally Southern food, simply prepared, and not particularly healthy. But between recipes are Pat's wonderful stories. In fact, it took me quite a long time to get through the whole book, much longer than I thought, although with his books, that's not a bad thing. Of course he writes about his family and friends. His nonfiction books are my favorites in that you get to know him much more intimately and he has had a fascinating life. I'd recommend this book to anyone that loves good stories, written as only Pat Conroy can write, funny, poignant and fascinating.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Russell J. Sanders

    I have read almost all of Pat Conroy’s books. I have reviewed several of them. But I never thought I’d be reviewing The Pat Conroy Cookbook. In my mind, I thought, “What is there to review?” I believed only food critics told of the merits of a cookbook. But my initial perusal of this book set me straight. Yes, the recipes are featured, and they look delicious. I haven’t made any yet, but most seem composed of simple ingredients with easy to follow steps of preparation. But it is the introduction I have read almost all of Pat Conroy’s books. I have reviewed several of them. But I never thought I’d be reviewing The Pat Conroy Cookbook. In my mind, I thought, “What is there to review?” I believed only food critics told of the merits of a cookbook. But my initial perusal of this book set me straight. Yes, the recipes are featured, and they look delicious. I haven’t made any yet, but most seem composed of simple ingredients with easy to follow steps of preparation. But it is the introductions to each chapter that places this book solidly in the Conroy canon of personal memoirs. Once again, we are treated to stories of his remarkable life. He regales us with his life in Italy, his travels to Paris, his dealings with restaurateurs and chefs far and wide. We are introduced to some of his best friends. We are made privy to his creative flow when he wrote The Prince of Tides. And, reveling in these stories, we are treated to his beautifully evocative turns of phrase. There is no better writer—living or dead, and alas, Conroy left us this past year—who can create a metaphor. One in particular caught my eye and tickled my taste buds: “crab in puff pastry that tasted as though blue crabs had actually been born in the pastry, never needing the armor of their cartilage.” This is fine, fine, fine, indeed. And don’t forget Conroy’s sly sense of humor. The next to the last page of the book yielded the heartiest belly laugh I’ve had in weeks! Try the recipes, but read the book. You won’t be sorry.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    Pat Conroy, one of my favorite writers, was also quite a cook. His cookbook is really about three-quarters story-telling in the finest Conroy fashion. Most of the text involves food-related events and insights, although there are some chapters with episodes that just needed to be shared. The recipes draw on Conroy’s southern roots, his time living in Rome and Paris, and his familiarity with top-notch restaurants and chefs. My favorite parts are how he writes so lovingly about salads and sides. I Pat Conroy, one of my favorite writers, was also quite a cook. His cookbook is really about three-quarters story-telling in the finest Conroy fashion. Most of the text involves food-related events and insights, although there are some chapters with episodes that just needed to be shared. The recipes draw on Conroy’s southern roots, his time living in Rome and Paris, and his familiarity with top-notch restaurants and chefs. My favorite parts are how he writes so lovingly about salads and sides. If you have enjoyed any of Pat Conroy’s novels or memoirs, you will probably like this too. If cooking isn’t your thing, you can skip the recipes and still have a rollicking read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fred Forbes

    Picked this up in Pat Conroy country last summer, more because it appeared to contain interesting memoir material, as opposed to my actually taking up serious cooking. Not that I am hopeless at it but remember a companion commenting on my provisions list for a week long sail in the Keys that it looked like it was more it was designed for a camping trip rather than a sailboat well equipped with stove and fridge. But, I digress ... I can handle the "manly" dishes - grill a steak, bacon and eggs, e Picked this up in Pat Conroy country last summer, more because it appeared to contain interesting memoir material, as opposed to my actually taking up serious cooking. Not that I am hopeless at it but remember a companion commenting on my provisions list for a week long sail in the Keys that it looked like it was more it was designed for a camping trip rather than a sailboat well equipped with stove and fridge. But, I digress ... I can handle the "manly" dishes - grill a steak, bacon and eggs, etc. and this book contains a number of those but it also contains some great stuff well beyond my capabilities but I was surprised that I did enjoy reading some of the recipes and found the procedures and commentary interesting. But, what Conroy is best noted for is being an amazing story teller and I enjoyed his tales related to food in Europe, New York, New Orleans and off course his native area in the low country. Interesting how the tales mix in with the production of his books and the story of his life and the great insight into people he met along the way. Cook or not, a great book for the Pat Conroy fan!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    The subject of food is nearly a sacred one to me. The first sentence of this cookbook foreshadows things to come. Pat Conroy's writing is infectiously zestful, spirited, passionate. I'm certain there are good recipes here, but I read this cookbook for the stories, for the South, for the writing, for the travelogues, for the pathos, and for the sheer joy. His sketches of friends and mentors are delightful and satisfying: She attracts friends like a magnet does iron filings. My grandmother traveled The subject of food is nearly a sacred one to me. The first sentence of this cookbook foreshadows things to come. Pat Conroy's writing is infectiously zestful, spirited, passionate. I'm certain there are good recipes here, but I read this cookbook for the stories, for the South, for the writing, for the travelogues, for the pathos, and for the sheer joy. His sketches of friends and mentors are delightful and satisfying: She attracts friends like a magnet does iron filings. My grandmother traveled to be amazed, transformed, and to build up a reserve and bright ordnance of memories for her old age. Pat, like one of my brothers, gives himself to his people by cooking for them. I own a huge dining room table that was once used as a library table at Cambridge University, and I have fed up to thirty people on it. Pat serves his recipes with heaping bowls of story: of the guests, of the chef, of the place, of the event, of the food. ...it is my most religious belief that a recipe is just a story that ends with a good meal. I chirped at (leading the way in a happy bracelet of "ciaos") and at his silly opinion, one I certainly don't share: cilantro, Satan's own herb. Pathos and poignancy are the salt and pepper of this book. Conroy refers to his wife, then has to clarify which one. He's written much about his fractured relationship with his father, but includes a breathtaking story of bonding.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    I've consumed almost everything from the Conroy menu, heard him speak with glee, and even experienced the rapturous excitement that came from shaking his hand, but I never thought about reading his cookbook--shunned the idea actually---until I browsed through it at the library and discovered it was much more than recipes. It essentially is a collection of memoir vignettes often tied together by Conroy's love of food and cooking, and the importance it played in his many and varied relationships. I've consumed almost everything from the Conroy menu, heard him speak with glee, and even experienced the rapturous excitement that came from shaking his hand, but I never thought about reading his cookbook--shunned the idea actually---until I browsed through it at the library and discovered it was much more than recipes. It essentially is a collection of memoir vignettes often tied together by Conroy's love of food and cooking, and the importance it played in his many and varied relationships. Fans of Conroy will eat this book up and it no doubt occupies many shelves, both in personal libraries and in kitchens. It serves well as a sidedish for his very autobiographical novels, as well as the recent nonfiction entrees. Many of the characters in these stories will be somewhat familiar to Conroy aficionados, but there is much new here, and the book serves to expand knowledge of the man and his writing life. There is a lot of his humor, a playful brand. A must read for Conroy fans.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    4.5 for enjoyment. Loved this book - just a wonderful 'read'. What a wonderful storyteller Pat Conroy is, the recipes were fun too but the main thing about this book is that a wonderful personality shone thru. Plan on buying my own copy as I think a book I'll enjoy for a long time - and yes I will try some of the recipes. Highly recommend. Just a delightful book. 4.5 for enjoyment. Loved this book - just a wonderful 'read'. What a wonderful storyteller Pat Conroy is, the recipes were fun too but the main thing about this book is that a wonderful personality shone thru. Plan on buying my own copy as I think a book I'll enjoy for a long time - and yes I will try some of the recipes. Highly recommend. Just a delightful book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christine Ott

    He hates unnecessarily on cilantro and relies too heavily on mayonnaise, but otherwise this was the first cookbook I could not put down. I read it start to finish, and loved the interspersed stories.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abbe

    SUMMARY: chapter oneNathalie DupreeThe first actual cooking teacher who took both my money and my grief for imparting culinary secrets to me was the inimitable, unclassifiable queen of the Southern kitchen, Nathalie Dupree. Though Nathalie does not know this, she is one of the few people in my life who seems more like a fictional character than a flesh-and-blood person.When my novel Beach Music came out in 1995, I had included a couple of recipes in the book, and had tried to impart some of my l SUMMARY: chapter oneNathalie DupreeThe first actual cooking teacher who took both my money and my grief for imparting culinary secrets to me was the inimitable, unclassifiable queen of the Southern kitchen, Nathalie Dupree. Though Nathalie does not know this, she is one of the few people in my life who seems more like a fictional character than a flesh-and-blood person.When my novel Beach Music came out in 1995, I had included a couple of recipes in the book, and had tried to impart some of my love of Roman cuisine and the restaurants of Rome. Several journalists who write about food for newspapers interviewed me about the food angle in the novel, curious about the fact that the book's protagonist, Jack McCall, wrote cookbooks and restaurant reviews. A woman from the Washington Post conducted a delightful interview over the phone, and during our conversation, I mentioned that I had taken Nathalie's course in the cooking school she ran in the old Rich's department store in downtown Atlanta. The woman called Nathalie after our interview, and Nathalie tracked me down to report on the nature of their conversation.Nathalie's voice is deep and musical and seductive. She possesses the rare ability to be both maddening and hilarious in the course of a single sentence. Her character is a shifting, ever-changing thing, and she reinvents herself all over again every couple of years. In one way, she seems the same, yet you are aware she is in the process of a complete transformation. When she tells about her life, you could swear she was speaking of a hundred women, not just one."Pat, darling," Nathalie said on the phone, "all my working life I've been scheming and plotting and dreaming of ways to get an interview with the food editor of the Washington Post. You can imagine my joy when I heard that the food editor of the Post had left a message on my answering machine. And I thought, Yes, it's finally happening; your prayers have been answered, Nathalie.""That's great, Nathalie," I said, not quite knowing where she was going with this. You never know where Nathalie is going with a train of thought; you simply know that the train will not be on time, will carry many passengers, and will eventually collide with a food truck stalled somewhere down the line on damaged tracks."Can you imagine my disappointment when I found out that they wanted to interview me about you, instead of about me. I admit, Pat, that after I got over the initial shock, it turned suddenly to bitterness. After all, what do I possibly get out of talking about you when I could be talking about my own cookbooks? Naturally, I did not let on a word about what I was really thinking, but I did suggest, very subtly I might add, that she might want to do a feature on me and my work sometime in the future. When were you in my class, Pat?""In 1980," I said."I don't remember that. Did you really take my class? Who else was in it?""My wife Lenore. Jim Landon. George Lanier. A nice woman who lived on the same floor as my dad in the Darlington Apartments.""It doesn't ring a bell for me," she said. "Was I good?""You were wonderful," I said."All my ex-students say that. It must be a gift.""You were a great teacher.""And sexy. I won't be happy until you tell me I was also extraordinarily sexy.""I could barely cook I was so aroused. All the other men in the class felt the same way. It's hard to make a perfect souffle when you're rutting.""Pat, you know the way to a young girl's heart," Nathalie said. "But I want you to know that I'll always be perfectly furious at you for getting into the Washington Post food world before I did. That's my bailiwick, not yours.""It will never happen again, Nathalie," I promised. "All your bailiwicks will be safe from poor Conroy."When Nathalie taught her cooking class at Rich's, I learned new lessons about insouciance, style, and lack of preparation. Always, at the last minute, Nathalie's worthy assistant, Kate Almand, would move in to provide a missing utensil or bag of flour or loin of veal that Nathalie had misplaced or left in her car. The joy of watching Nathalie's cooking shows on television has always come from her artless displays of confusion and disorganization, and her sheer bravado when she actually makes a mistake. Unlike Martha Stewart, Nathalie often looks beaten up when she completes a segment of her show. She can be covered with flour up to her elbows after baking a loaf of bread, can drop her perfectly roasted capon on the kitchen floor, or can garnish her pumpkin pie with cooked rice that she meant to put in her delicious cream of carrot soup. On her television show, Nathalie has turned the culinary mistake or misstep into her signature moment.Nathalie is always worth the price of admission and I love cooking with her. Disorder follows her around like a spaniel. There is no hum of quiet efficiency in her kitchen to intimidate me as I caramelize the onions or beat the egg whites to a stiff peak. She prides herself on being a hands-on cook, and I have seen her hands dripping with batter, red with blood, and crimson from handling baby beets. Like most good cooks, she is absolutely fearless, taking on each task with gusto. And her conversation mixes well with the mouthwatering aromas rising out of her kitchen as the meal takes shape around us. I personally do not believe Nathalie has ever enjoyed a quiet meal at home with her equally hospitable husband, the writer Jack Bass. When I knew her in Atlanta, the whole city in all its shapes, races, and classes seemed to pass by her dining room table. She attracts friends like a magnet does iron filings. Her desire to entertain and feed people seems insatiable to me, a mark of her character as striking as her beautiful almond-shaped eyes.On the night our class made a crown roast of pork, orange and fennel salad, turnip greens and grits, and crème brûlée for dessert, she told a story in fits and starts that ended only after she poured the dessert wine. I soon found myself looking forward to Nathalie's stories as much as I did her recipes. They ranged the world and involved famous chefs, cookbook writers of note, lovers and husbands and boyfriends of both the charming and monstrous varieties. I preferred the stories of her lovers because her voice could turn smoky and catlike as we, her students, chopped and shredded and prepared our meals according to her instructions. The story and the food comingled and exchanged properties.I can taste neither fennel nor crème brûlée without thinking of the story she told that night. I tell it from memory, but I will try to use Nathalie's ineffable voice. She could say the word "lover" and infuse it with all the savor and forbiddenness of a Frenchwoman recalling an affair with an Italian count. "I was living in Greenwich Village in New York," she told us. "I had taken up with a dashing, utterly charming man. He turned out to be a perfect cad, but didn't they all in those days, darling? Jim, I'd slice that fennel a little thinner. It looks too much like celery when you slice it that way. Yes, perfect. He was, by far, the most sophisticated, demanding lover I had ever been involved with up to that time. He was the consummate gourmet who had eaten in the finest restaurants in the world since he was a child. Well. I decided I was going to cook him a meal that he would never forget, one that would prove my love for him, yet honor his amazing sophistication."I went next door to get advice from the two gay men who lived in the most spectacular apartment. They knew everybody and everything, but they were of no help that day. Greenwich Village was astir, at least the gay portion of the Village--no small share, I assure you--with the news of a gay serial killer who would not only murder his poor victims, but would then mutilate them in ghastly ways. My neighbors' hysteria rendered them useless and I heard them turn all six locks in their door as soon as I left their apartment and began the search for the most unusual meal for my lover."There was a little butcher shop in the East Village that sold specialty meats and could usually come up with a surprise. Pat, use a whisk to beat your eggs for the crème brûlée. You're not scrambling eggs for a country brunch. This is a French dish, dearie. Oh, where was I? Yes. The butcher had a surprise for me. He had two things in his shop he had never carried before: live escargots and testicles freshly cut from yearling calves in upper New York State. 'Mountain oysters!' I shouted in triumph, and I was sure that every snail my lover had eaten had come from a can. I paid cash for everything. I spent a fortune. But that's what you do when you're in love. You're never yourself. You are possessed. You'll do anything. George, you need to get your pork into the oven. Less fanaticism with the presentation. It's lovely, but it's still pork. And trichinosis is a fact of life. I took the mountain oysters and snails back to my apartment, then left them in the sink and ran down to buy the wine for the meal. I threw some ice on the calves' testicles because organ meat is very perishable. But I got delayed when I asked the French chef who ran a restaurant on my street about the preparation of the escargots. He had a certain dark frisson and I soon realized he was flirting with me. This made me late in my return. My lover would be arriving with roses in a few hours. I opened the door of my apartment and I'll never forget what I saw there! I've had nightmares about it more than once. The snails had conspired to effect a vast breakout. They were everywhere. On the walls, on the ceiling, trailing their slimy bodies across my copper pans, and my cookbooks. My screams of repulsion and terror resounded throughout my apartment building."The two dear gay men next door were the first neighbors to arrive. But the escargots did not interest them. They were transfixed by the sight of a whole bucket of male genitalia in my sink. You could not blame them. They had never seen mountain oysters, nor did they know that anyone would cook and eat them. They thought they had stumbled into the lair of the serial killer who was preying on and mutilating gay males. The snails on the walls simply added a note of horror to it all. They fled screaming down the stairs and out into the streets. The police were called. It was an affair to remember. Pat, are you burning your greens? Good; it's sinful to burn greens. There's always a point of no return, you know."Did I fix my lover dinner that night? But of course. All the commotion simply made the evening more special. I served the escargots in their own shells with garlic, butter, and parsley--after I boiled and cleaned them, of course. I fried the mountain oysters, and they were superb. After dinner and cognac, my lover and I--ah, but that is personal, part of the night's mystery. There are parts of some stories that should never be told. Ah. Class, take a deep breath. Dinner is almost ready. Smell it. Breathe deeply. Now. Now."Though Nathalie Dupree did not remember much about my presence in her class, it marked me forever. I remain her enthusiast, her evangelist, her acolyte, and her grateful student. She taught me that cooking and storytelling make the most delightful coconspirators. Either was good alone, but in communion with each other, they could rise to the level of ecstasy.Three of Nathalie's recipes.MELON RING WITH MINT AND HONEY-LIME DRESSINGThe last time Nathalie Dupree invited me to dinner, she met me at the front door and told me with her most theatrical flourish that she felt "worse than a rabid dog or the parakeet that the proverbial cat dragged in." She is a woman of great entrances and exits, and said to me, "Pat, you must play the part of the gentleman and rescue this damsel in distress. You were my student, and you must cook the meal and save this night for me. If my guests realized I was about to begin projectile vomiting across the room, they'd just die.""I will fix the meal gladly, Nathalie," I said, moving toward the kitchen as she moved out to the living room and the sounds of her guests in conversation. I made the meal: a standing rib roast, a simple green salad, steamed asparagus, and fresh peaches with cream and a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. To begin the meal, Nathalie asked, "I got a call from our good mutual friend from Atlanta, the one who's been married six times. Do you have any theories about why all her husbands have turned out to be gay?"• Serves 6 to 82 envelopes unflavored gelatin2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup fresh lemon juice1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves1 cup melon balls (preferably a mix of cantaloupe, honeydew, and/or similar kinds), plus additional (optional)For the dressing1 cup yogurt1/4 cup honey1/4 cup fresh lime juice1. Place the gelatin, 1 cup of the orange juice, and the sugar in a small pan and heat until the gelatin and sugar are dissolved. Do not let the mixture come to a boil.2. Remove the gelatin mixture from the heat and add the lemon juice, the remaining 1 cup orange juice, and the mint.3. Put the pan over a bowl of ice water and stir for a few minutes until the gelatin begins to thicken. Fold in the melon balls. Pour into a 4-cup ring mold and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.4. Unmold and fill the center with additional melon balls, if desired. To make the dressing: Mix all the ingredients together and serve with the ring and melon balls.*****From the Hardcover edition.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I loved this book from the first paragraph but I loved Pat Conroy before I read this book. I cried at least three times reading a COOKBOOK! The man was a genius with the pen. First paragraph and hook, "My mother thought cooking was a kind of slave labor that involved women having too many children. She looked upon food as a sure way to keep her family alive and it did not occur to her until late in life that one could approach a kitchen with the same intensity as an artist nearing a canvas. To Peg I loved this book from the first paragraph but I loved Pat Conroy before I read this book. I cried at least three times reading a COOKBOOK! The man was a genius with the pen. First paragraph and hook, "My mother thought cooking was a kind of slave labor that involved women having too many children. She looked upon food as a sure way to keep her family alive and it did not occur to her until late in life that one could approach a kitchen with the same intensity as an artist nearing a canvas. To Peg Conroy, the kitchen was a place of labor, not a field of fantasy and play." "Gourds as large as your head grew on vines along our backyard fence." "I must have ridden out with Gene Norris 30 times in the 2 years I was at Beaufort High School, and I consider the time I spent with him as valuable as any college education could be. He taught me to value the old, to sharpen my eye for the most intricate detail, and to strengthen all the appetites upon which beauty itself fed. But most of all, Gene Norris handed me a different model of how to conduct myself as a man, showing me that a man could behave with sensibility and restraint and that a love of language and art could sustain him...So I set a claim on Beaufort, SC the first town in American I ever called home." "Those imaginary games populated by a whole nation of made-up players, were my first attempts at writing short stories, and all the games ended the same way, with me in a heroic, winner take-all, last-second shot on a drive down the lane with my invisible enemies closing the lane down around me. Hard labor, great food, basketball -I had everything - the best summer of my life." I treasure this book of the recipes of his life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is way more than simply a cookbook! I have been known to take this to the beach with me, for the stories as well as the recipes. Conway is a master of storytelling, and some of his stories still make me laugh out loud no matter how many times I read them! (His story about Nathalie Dupree is THE BEST. So funny!) He has tales to tell of travel and of home... stories filled with pathos, and more than a few recalling some of the best memories, however "ordinary" or extraordinary they may be, an This is way more than simply a cookbook! I have been known to take this to the beach with me, for the stories as well as the recipes. Conway is a master of storytelling, and some of his stories still make me laugh out loud no matter how many times I read them! (His story about Nathalie Dupree is THE BEST. So funny!) He has tales to tell of travel and of home... stories filled with pathos, and more than a few recalling some of the best memories, however "ordinary" or extraordinary they may be, and all of them come back to this theme of the healing power of "soul food." His infamous, complicated relationship with his father unfolds into a beautiful picture of forgiveness and grace that he finds rising up to meet him again with his own children and grandchildren. Plagued by his own demons, struggling with severe depression for most of his life, Pat Conroy serves up courage and charm and humor enough to grace any table. I like to think, being Southern myself, that stories like these, springing from the South itself, are images of the best we have to offer: the commitment to our roots, the power of family and friendship, and the nourishment of soul and body with the kind of truly good food, served with love, that brings us together around a table, healed at last.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I took my time going thru this book, savoring the stories of Conroy's life along with the flecks of recipes throughout (like essential herbs tossed into one of my favorite comfort foods, mashed potatoes). As with many of my cookbooks and with foodie magazines, I added tiny post-its to pages with recipes I'd like to try... like I'd have time in one lifetime to make even a fraction of the tabbed recipes lurking on my cookbook shelves! I love how Conroy writes, having read several of his novels. An I took my time going thru this book, savoring the stories of Conroy's life along with the flecks of recipes throughout (like essential herbs tossed into one of my favorite comfort foods, mashed potatoes). As with many of my cookbooks and with foodie magazines, I added tiny post-its to pages with recipes I'd like to try... like I'd have time in one lifetime to make even a fraction of the tabbed recipes lurking on my cookbook shelves! I love how Conroy writes, having read several of his novels. And I was particularly glad to discover that his father and he had, if not resolved, then at least come to terms with their shared past and enjoyed a better relationship (read it to find out how!). Families are tough things to live with or even near sometimes, and this man has always managed to show both the positive and the negative in his stories. The "characters" in his life who influenced both his writing, his own character and his love of food shine in this book of recipes, in wonderful essays/vignettes of the big and even small moments in a creative life, one carved out despite some pretty terrible early influences (yet a few shining lights too). Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I really enjoyed this little book. It is very much a memoir and if you're a Conroy fan, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well. Not the book of his to start with, but if you've read them all, you'll get a kick out of the stories. I was unaware of his deep passion for food. I love the idea of chronicling one's life through meals. Breaking bread is such a soulful experience. It does seem a fine metaphor. I really enjoyed this little book. It is very much a memoir and if you're a Conroy fan, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well. Not the book of his to start with, but if you've read them all, you'll get a kick out of the stories. I was unaware of his deep passion for food. I love the idea of chronicling one's life through meals. Breaking bread is such a soulful experience. It does seem a fine metaphor.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Brantley

    I started and stopped and started again — I don’t know why — but can’t remember ever reading a book that created such happiness in the reading and such an ever present smile on my face. This man!! I am blessed to have found a kindred spirit in the love of food and stories. I miss him every day, but am grateful to be able to read anything he has written by going to my shelves and picking a story over and over and over again. Simply one of the best. Love you, Pat.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl S.

    Very enjoyable. Great recipes and stories from Pat Conroy's life. Very enjoyable. Great recipes and stories from Pat Conroy's life.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cassi

    My in-laws gave me The Pat Conroy Cookbook as part of a southern themed birthday. I've never read a cookbook before, but thought since this one is as much story as it is recipes, I'd give it a try. Conroy's stories were entertaining and inspiring, reminding me of a life I've wanted to live - one filled with expatriating, meals with large groups of friends, and eating at restaurants with the best food. I was worried that a "southern" cookbook would offend my disordered eating sensibilities, imagi My in-laws gave me The Pat Conroy Cookbook as part of a southern themed birthday. I've never read a cookbook before, but thought since this one is as much story as it is recipes, I'd give it a try. Conroy's stories were entertaining and inspiring, reminding me of a life I've wanted to live - one filled with expatriating, meals with large groups of friends, and eating at restaurants with the best food. I was worried that a "southern" cookbook would offend my disordered eating sensibilities, imagining fried everything. But Cassondra King's memoir issued me he was a foodie, and she was right. The Pat Conroy Cookbook was the perfect foyer into a world of food I have often derided for its use of mayonnaise and condiments and oil and other foods I very wrongly declared "unhealthy." The recipes feature fresh (and fried, when best) seafoods, and love of ingredients that reminds me there is good food everywhere. It made me was to live in the low-country, at least for a while, and experience truly fresh oysters, and shrimp, and fish. It reminded me that food is a much of a social event at sustenance, and set my imagination spinning for the next dinner party we host. (I'm praying it is sooner rather than later, but willing to wait till it's safe.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dbs959

    This cookbook reminded me why I consider Pat Conroy to be one of America's greatest writers. His passion for prose, people and food can't help but inspire enthusiasm in the reader as they travel the shores of South Carolina savoring the miracle of Roquefort Dressing to the ancient majesty of Rome and a feast of Roasted Figs with Frascati Zabaglione, to the hominess of collard greens and soul food, a love of which he shares with in a brief meeting with a fellow Carolinian in the alien hills above This cookbook reminded me why I consider Pat Conroy to be one of America's greatest writers. His passion for prose, people and food can't help but inspire enthusiasm in the reader as they travel the shores of South Carolina savoring the miracle of Roquefort Dressing to the ancient majesty of Rome and a feast of Roasted Figs with Frascati Zabaglione, to the hominess of collard greens and soul food, a love of which he shares with in a brief meeting with a fellow Carolinian in the alien hills above Oakland, California. He wrote this regarding a time when his boat broke down on the May River while traveling to Daufuskie Island (setting for his novel, The River is Wide). While waiting to be rescued, he drifted onto an oyster bank and started prying open oysters with his pocketknife and gulping them down. This is an excerpt from how he described that impromptu meal: "The oyster is a child of the tides and it tasted that cold morning like the best thing the moon and the May River could conjure up to crown the shoulders of its inlets and estuaries." It's just so much more than a cookbook---it's a homage to Pat Conroy's life. But the recipes are great too!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    After a very long break, I have suddenly thrust myself back into the tumultuous verbal storm of magnificent words from Pat Conroy. During my Conroy reunion, his cookbook landed cockeyed on my to-read pile. Usually I just skim cookbooks looking for standouts that I might think momentarily about trying. I am absolutely thrilled and stunned that this book was such a delight. Besides having mouthwatering recipes, of which at least half I might have the nerve to try, Conroy also wove his personal sto After a very long break, I have suddenly thrust myself back into the tumultuous verbal storm of magnificent words from Pat Conroy. During my Conroy reunion, his cookbook landed cockeyed on my to-read pile. Usually I just skim cookbooks looking for standouts that I might think momentarily about trying. I am absolutely thrilled and stunned that this book was such a delight. Besides having mouthwatering recipes, of which at least half I might have the nerve to try, Conroy also wove his personal story around each batch of recipes and by doing so he answered lots of questions I had about his family, friends and his writing process. His sense of humor, unrelenting love of good food and depiction of place has never been stronger. In a cookbook of all places!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mgb

    This is so much more than a cookbook. It is a memoir, a travelogue, a book of restaurant reviews and a collection of short stories by a great southern storyteller. I want to visit the places he writes about, talk with the people he knows, and eat the food he describes. It is a great read AND a cookbook. The recipes include helpful hints(I need these)—the kind you find in church cookbooks. I started marking recipes I want to try and found it would be easier to mark the ones I didn’t. I have never This is so much more than a cookbook. It is a memoir, a travelogue, a book of restaurant reviews and a collection of short stories by a great southern storyteller. I want to visit the places he writes about, talk with the people he knows, and eat the food he describes. It is a great read AND a cookbook. The recipes include helpful hints(I need these)—the kind you find in church cookbooks. I started marking recipes I want to try and found it would be easier to mark the ones I didn’t. I have never, ever read a cookbook from page one through to the end until now. This is my first. I savored every moment.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sherman Langford

    I really like Conroy's writing. He has a gift for story telling. He lived an interesting and imperfect life. And he has a knack for recounting it in interesting and highly amusing ways. He also has a gift for appreciating people as the most valuable source of meaning in life. Those knacks, those skills, are in evidence throughout in the essays/anecdotes bookending the recipes he chooses to include. Apparently he was quite the epicurean, if the recipes he included are an indication. They are comp I really like Conroy's writing. He has a gift for story telling. He lived an interesting and imperfect life. And he has a knack for recounting it in interesting and highly amusing ways. He also has a gift for appreciating people as the most valuable source of meaning in life. Those knacks, those skills, are in evidence throughout in the essays/anecdotes bookending the recipes he chooses to include. Apparently he was quite the epicurean, if the recipes he included are an indication. They are complex, fancy, requiring it seems great talent in the kitchen to pull off. So a very enjoyable read. But probably not too useful for the amateur cooking hobbyist.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Donna Siebold

    I like a cookbook to be a cookbook - chock full of recipes. Sure, a little story about where the recipe came from or how it was developed is nice, but if I am going to have a book full of text with a few recipes I'll check out Diane Mott Davidson! I have read several of the sections that accompanied Mr. Conroy's recipes in the only other book of his that I have read, "The Death of Santini." I really only found two or three recipes that I felt were worth making, though I haven't tried any of them y I like a cookbook to be a cookbook - chock full of recipes. Sure, a little story about where the recipe came from or how it was developed is nice, but if I am going to have a book full of text with a few recipes I'll check out Diane Mott Davidson! I have read several of the sections that accompanied Mr. Conroy's recipes in the only other book of his that I have read, "The Death of Santini." I really only found two or three recipes that I felt were worth making, though I haven't tried any of them yet.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I didn’t know you could miss someone you’ve never met but finding this by accident at the library was such a treat. I was so truly and profoundly sad when I heard he died. The idea that I would never pick up a new book and hear that inimitable voice rise from the pages was disheartening and depressing. It was such a rush of emotions to spend a few hours in his company again. The recipes look tasty too.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I loved this book. I did read it sporadically but after I read Prince of Scribes (stories about Pat Conroy) I picked it back up again. I love his stories of how he came by the recipes. Several of them sound so good and I am looking forward to trying them. I only wish I lived in an area where I had access to wonderful southern seafood.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tiffney Cullum

    Loved every bit of this cookbook! Pat Conroy is a true southern storyteller even as it pertains to his cookbook. Each recipe has a story to tell which makes me want to cook every recipe in the book! I have given this cookbook to several friends and they too have even joyed the stories as well as the recipes! My favorite recipe is the pickled shrimp!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary C

    I'm not finished reading this book through, or cooking from it but wanted to give it a reaving review as soon as possible. I'm sure I'm not telling anyone anything new but I will treasure having this among my cookbook collection. I have already prepared the Dunbar Macaroni and it was unbelievable good food! I'm not finished reading this book through, or cooking from it but wanted to give it a reaving review as soon as possible. I'm sure I'm not telling anyone anything new but I will treasure having this among my cookbook collection. I have already prepared the Dunbar Macaroni and it was unbelievable good food!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    I love Pat Conroy and was saddened by his death. I had no idea he had a cookbook until an online book group posted about it. I immediately had to buy it. His storytelling is beyond amazing and even in a cookbook, it shows. I cannot wait to try some of the recipes, but I really enjoyed the stories tied to them.

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