BookView review: The Kitchen and the Studio: A Memoir of Food and Art by Author’s Name: Mallory M. O’Connor, John A. O’Connor

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Publication Date: March 14, 2023

Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir / Art / Cooking

ISBN: Hardcover: 978-1-63988-776-7 / Paperback: 978-1-63988-796-5

List Price: $56.95 hardcover / $45.95 paperback

Page Count: 296

Mallory M. O’Connor and John A. O’Connor, the husband-and-wife author team, blends memoir, art, and food in an elegant, beautifully illustrated meditation on love, creativity, and artistic life. The book’s introductory sections cover Mallory’s early life in the late forties on a small ranch in the hamlet of Carmichael, a village on the American River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Range, which her father bought after securing a position with the Army Corps of Engineers in California. By that time, Mallory was already in love with reading and writing. She met John O’Connor at UC Davis in 1962 and they soon got married, beginning their journey of living artists’ lives which took them across the globe. The book’s recipes tour begins with “first-date-Dinner,” (John’s still-famous “Crab Louie”) and moves on to their other memorable dining experiences throughout the years. The accompanying black and white and color photographs compliment the narrative, while the artwork, which varies from abstracts to semi-abstracts in vibrant color palettes, add to electric appeal. The authors are skilled at writing, capable of translating ordinary topics into entertaining anecdotes. Their prose is thoughtful and meditative throughout, and their portraits of their life together as lovers of good food, books, and art are rendered deftly. Inviting and accessible to even those with just a passing interest in food, art, or biographies, the book makes for a splendid read.


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