Category Archives: Books

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Thanks to the glorious Maria Yagoda for her story “8 Things Someone with Anxiety Wants You to Know” on

Like millions of Americans, writer and Extra Crispy editor Kat Kinsman suffers from anxiety. In the first chapter of her new book, Hi Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of the Nerves, Kinsman recounts the moments in kindergarten when she first realized she was … “nervous.” When asked to read a passage in front of the class, she froze, biting her lips and losing control of her hands, which trembled against her will. For the rest of her life, Kinsman would be grappled with panic attacks, self-doubt, depression and the not-so-basic facets of being a human: Leaving the house. Maintaining relationships. Getting through crowds. Surviving the holidays.

Kinsman spoke with PEOPLE about what she wants people to know about anxiety, and the reality of living with it.

1. You can’t always ‘see’ it.

“You won’t necessarily see it in somebody. It’s not just like somebody sitting there acting nervous and biting their fingernails. If you’ve suffered from this your whole life, you know how to mask it. You can have somebody standing in front of you having a panic attack, and you might not know it. People wouldn’t necessarily ever think I was an anxious person until I told them. I was like, ‘No, I actually had a panic attack that lasted several hours yesterday.’”

Read the rest at

Sometimes I get reviewed

Reviews of Hi, Anxiety:

“Meet Kinsman, who calls herself nervous. Labeled a “Nervous Nelly” since childhood due to a crippling case of anxiety, Kinsman is also the senior food and drinks editor of Extra Crispy, a wife, a daughter, and now, an author. In her first book, she lists her fears like groceries, providing the reader with a valuable understanding of what it’s like being terrified of, well, just about anything: talking on the phone; getting her hair cut (she actually trims her own at home); and going to the doctor, to name but a few. Kinsman opens up to the reader like a friend, explaining how talking about her illness was the only thing that helped her move forward, “even though it often felt like scraping off my skin with a butter knife.” With witty humor and an enduring boldness, Kinsman’s insightful read will have readers cringing at times, like when her nerves keep her from picking up a pair of designer shoes at the repair shop, but never fails to showcase her inner strength all the same.”—Carissa Chesanek, Booklist

“Kinsman, senior food and drinks editor for the Time, Inc. website Extra Crispy and founder of the mental-health awareness website Chefs with Issues, here chronicles a lifetime of worry and fear. She writes about her childhood and the crippling anxiety she felt but didn’t understand. Kinsman presents the various methods she tried to control her anxiety, including medications, meditation, supplements, etc., but never found a solution. The author comes to the realization that there is no one method that works for everyone, and many can’t manage the fear well, but that these emotions come from an illness and shouldn’t be a source of shame. Kinsman encourages those suffering from the malady to acknowledge what is happening so that they can get the support they deserve. VERDICT An insightful look at an often misunderstood disorder that doesn’t have an immediate cure, this book should appeal to anyone who has struggled with anxiety or loves someone who has.”—Terry Lamperski, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh, PA

Sometimes I get a book deal

From Publishers Marketplace:

“CNN Eatocracy managing editor Kat Kinsman’s HI, ANXIETY, about how and why anxiety has come to be one of the principle defining aspects of contemporary women’s daily lives, partly arising from her recent autobiographical writings and television segments, to Carrie Thornton at Dey Street Books, by Scott Mendel at the Mendel Media Group (NA).”

So that’s happening. Here’s the Facebook community I started so people dealing with anxiety can feel a little bit less alone: “Hi, Anxiety” on Facebook

Slashfood Archives: ‘Top Chef – The Quickfire Cookbook’

‘Top Chef – The Quickfire Cookbook’
by Emily Miller with foreword by Padma Lakshmi
Chronicle Books — 2009

It’s Padma’s world. The rest of us just cook in it — just mostly without a gigantic LED countdown clock, a dozen cleaver-wielding competitors jockeying for prep space and a mandate to make haute nibbles from the contents of a 7-Eleven’s snack aisle. But if that’s what cremes your brulee and you haven’t the tats, ‘tude and temerity to audition for competitive reality TV, you can live vicariously through this book.

Or you can just go online and save the $29.95.
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Slashfood Archives: ‘My New Orleans’ – Cookbook Spotlight

‘My New Orleans – The Cookbook: 200 of My Favorite Recipes from My Hometown’
By John Besh
Photographs by Ditte Isager
Andrews McMeel — 2009

Chef John Besh’s magnum opus on the food of his hometown could easily be mistaken for a coffee table-style photography book edited by someone with one heck of a food fetish. That’d be only partially correct.

Besh celebrates and contextualizes New Orleans cuisine within a reverent, passionate travelogue and memoir based around the ingredients and food rituals of a full year in the Big Easy. In this 374-page volume, the chef, restaurateur (including August, Lüke, Besh Steak, Domenica, La Provence and the upcoming the American Sector at the National WWII Museum), “Next Iron Chef” contender, former Marine and father of four weaves an intimate, illustrated narrative of a life lived deliciously in one of the world’s most important food cities.
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Slashfood Archives: ‘Putting Up: A Seasonal Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition’

‘Putting Up: A Seasonal Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition’
by Stephen Palmer Dowdney
Gibbs Smith — 2008

You know how your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend’s grandma, like, totally killed a neighbor by innocently giving her a batch of her home-canned beans that oops, turned out to have a touch of the botulism? That’s never going to happen to you. Not on Steve Dowdney’s watch.

This can-vangelist has culled years of his own know-how, as well as the collective wisdom of generations of Southern cooks, into a rigorous, nigh-on religious canning primer. The recipes are solid — almost a shade clinical — but the opening chapter, packed with equipment tips, altitude and pH charts, preparation terms and step-by-step best practices, could be a stand-alone manual, not to mention the only one you’d ever need to buy.
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Stained Cookbooks

I’m not gonna lie — I’m rough on my books. There’s a school of thought treating the physical manifestation of the written word as a sacred object, and I fully respect that. However I, for one, shove an old copy of “How to Cook a Wolf” into the bottom of my bag with the notion that at some point it’ll sustain me on an overextended subway ride. I read “The Devil in the Kitchen” in the bathtub, A.J. Liebling over a lunchtime reuben, and good gosh a-mighty are my cookbooks covered in shmutz.

lard stainsBut hey, it’s thematic goo; “Molto Italiano” is spattered in tomato sauce, “Pie” — seen here — is all a-smear in lard, “Charleston Receipts” in Otranto Club Punch and “Staff Meals from Chanterelle” slicked with a fine mist of rendered rind bacon. To my mind, these books are being honored, used, proven. Should these books at some point have a subsequent owner, they’ll know what’s been tested, made and made again.

Still, am I dishonoring the object or the authors when I’m getting the books all mucky? I posed the question to Matthew Lee (whose book “The Lee Bros. Southern Cooking” I’ve doused in all manner of pickling brine), and he noted that he and his co-author, his brother Ted have debated pre-mucking-up copies of their book to nix the blank canvas factor. The recipes therein are warm of heart and humble of origin, so it’s not out of character, but would, say, a gellan-gumming of Grant Achatz’s “Alinea” be a crime against the rather expensive and exceptionally lovely object?

Do you keep your cookbooks in pristine condition, or do you just accept page stains as collateral damage?

Originally published on Slashfood