Book Review: The Angry Chef by Julie Isaacson


Book reviewed by Judy Levin. Vol. 1: Romantic EditionVol. 2: Friends & Family Edition. Illustrated by Elisa Sassi.

Ok – full disclosure. Julie and I have been friends for years as volunteer co-workers in support of ORT America, a worldwide education and training organization. I always knew she was clever and creative, a talented writer and cook, and knew she was working on these books, but did not anticipate how much fun they would be to read, to look at and to use. Each story, inspired by real-life experiences, tells in a short and clever fashion about a relationship in crisis.

The theme might be betrayal, lying, cheating, promises negated, missed signals, bad communication or disappointments. Then Isaacson sets across the page a recipe to match the story including ingredients, cooking and serving instructions sure to help vent the anger left behind. Isaacson, a creative and skilled cook, has first hand experience at using cooking delicious and satisfying dishes as a way of venting her own anger. She found the chopping, dicing, boiling and grinding doing wonders for her mood. Now she helps the rest of us DIY with tasty and easy – to - follow recipes.

Take for instance, “The Stripper.” In her 50’s, Sue was happily married to husband number two until he leaves her for a 22 year old stripper. What would you cook? Isaacson suggests “Dead Meat Strip Steak with a side of g-string beans.” Just reading the directions lets off a little steam and leaves a grin, and don’t forget about the delicious meal you now can savor, even if you are eating it alone!

Elissa Sassi has illustrated these stories and recipes with simplicity and humor, using Isaacson’s double entendre, turn of phrase and delightful wordplay.

These two Angry Chef slim companion volumes make the perfect gift for anyone – whether they need to vent some anger of their own, are just a bit curious about what’s going on out there in relationship land, or just for some home kitchen-tested recipes for comfort food that is meaningfully delicious.