Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Review

During a segment of “Iron Chef”, when one critic told Cat Cora that he didn’t care for her dish, she unhesitatingly asked, “Then why did you eat it all?” This to me sums up Cat Cora; she doesn’t pull any punches. Why Cat invoked Barbara Gordon’s 1979 memoir in this title is perplexing, since Cora has her own story, which she tells simply and honestly in a voice that you listen to and believe, the story of an orphan from Greenville who grew up in a loving, understanding home in Jackson and become a groundbreaking culinary superstar. It’s hard to ask anyone for a more Horatio Algers narrative. While her life provides plenty of excuses for the sort of self-indulgent whining you’re going to find in many celebrity biographies, you’re not going to hear such mewling from Cora; she is a strong, resilient, hard-working woman who takes her setbacks, admits her mistakes, unerringly doing what she needs to do in order to overcome such difficulties and move on to succeed, which indeed she does. The details of her culinary education and career as well as behind-the-scenes at “Iron Chef” provide a lot of interest for foodies as well as fans, who will also enjoy reading her honest account of her own personal journey. In a work of such candor, I expected more details of the sort that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, details that only I might consider sins of omission, such as what the “white table restaurant near the Old Capitol” was, or the name of the dyke bar near the New Capitol, though such sins of omissions are petty. I also wanted to know more about her take on the Greek community here, more specifically the restaurant families, but again that’s a matter of personal interest, and Cat gives me enough to go on. Mississippians, Cat is our daughter, our sister, and we should embrace and celebrate her, but no matter who you are, you’ll find her book great fun and an informative read.

 

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