Cooking shows have long been my favorite television programs and memoir is my favorite genre of book, so I was beyond excited to pick up an advanced reader copy of Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef’s Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness at last year’s American Library Association annual conference. I read the book on the plane back from San Francisco, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Cat Cora is known for being the first female Iron Chef, but this memoir (written with Karen Karbo) offers a heartfelt and compelling account of her whole life and the hardships she faced on her path to Michelin-starred success and culinary fame. Cora developed a love of cooking Greek and Southern food growing up in Mississippi. Her passion for cooking is a central theme of the book: cooking and the hard work it entails help Cora as she heals from childhood sexual abuse, comes of age as a lesbian in the deep South, grapples with alcohol abuse, and eventually finds her focus as a chef, a wife, and a mom.
Readers familiar with Cora’s work will appreciate this inside look at her life, but her frank and conversational style of narration makes this an engaging and moving read for any audience.