I’m reading Jacques Pepin’s autobiography The Apprentice: my life in the kitchen with delight. I think anyone, even if not a foodie, would enjoy it. And it’s a break from the brilliant but emotionally exhausting Elena Ferrante Neapolitan Novels, from which I’m taking a breather before plunging into the final volume.
Maybe the most enjoyable part of the Pepin book is the story of his impoverished beginnings in rural France during WW2. His mother, a waitress who later opened a series of small-town restaurants, was a dynamo. The examples of her somehow producing good food among the shortages and bombing raids are more exciting to me than her son’s later rise to celebrity. But it’s all told with style and sympathy.