Review: Table of Contents by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Title: Table of Contents

Author: Judy Gelman & Vicki Levy Krupp

Genre/Pages: Cookbook/304

Publisher: Adams Media

Release Date: November 30, 2010

Source: Publisher

Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis: From the women who created comes a cookbook chock full of recipes and chatty anecdotes from best-selling authors.

Though I profess to being generally inept in the culinary department, I can follow a recipe and produce a reasonable facsimile of many meals or desserts that I attempt.  My younger sister would handily win a ”who owns the most cookbooks’ contest–Jess: 56; Nat: 12–but I’m the only one of us who can claim ownership of a book lover’s cookbook.

I received a copy of Table of Contents: From Breakfast with Anita Diamant to Dessert with James Patterson–a Generous Helping of Recipes, Writings, and Insights from Today’s Bestselling Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp and jumped right in.

Part cookbook, part anecdotal anthology, this cookbook offers recipes, author Q&A, and insight into the stories behind recipes found in some of my favorite novels.  The format is a bit unorthodox as far as cookbooks go, but I enjoyed reading about each author, his or her inspiration or short narrative, and the accompanying recipe (or recipes!).

photo credit:

Table of Contents covers every course–from drinks to desserts–and the step-by-step recipes are clear and easy to follow.

A few of the authors, some of their literary works, and the recipes submitted:

  • Jill Ciment (The Tattoo Artist): Blue Sky Bakery’s Bran Muffins
  • Chris Cleave (Little Bee): Post Colonial Pie
  • Lisa Genova (Still Alice) Alice’s White Chocolate Challah Pudding
  • Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) Merran Neville’s Pavlova*
  • Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun) Frances Mayes’ Summer Shrimp Salad
  • Jacquelyn Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean) Next Day Rice Pudding
  • Lisa See (Shanghai Girls) Lisa See’s Won Tons
  • Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain) Enzo’s Pancakes
  • Tom Perrotta (The Absinence Teacher) Nina’s Minestrone

My only gripe is that I prefer my cookbooks to have glossy (wipe-able!) pages with brilliant photos of the process and finished product.  While there are photos of the authors, there aren’t any food photos.  Since this isn’t a traditional cookbook, I’m more apt to let this slide and understand that a photo-driven book might also be more costly to publish.  That said, this book would still be a great gift for any book lover who dabbles in the kitchen!

*This weekend, I’m going to undertake Sara Gruen’s dessert recipe and, if all goes well, share photos as a part of Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking Challenge!


  • At 2011.03.04 12:30, Mary (Bookfan) said:

    I love your review – it answered a few of my questions. This book has been on my radar for a while – I’ll watch for your recipe on Weekend Cooking 🙂
    Mary (Bookfan)´s last blog post ..The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

    • At 2011.03.04 12:44, Natalie said:

      glad to hear it, mary! as for my culinary adventure, it promises to be fraught with peril, but i’ll have the fire extinguisher at the ready. 🙂

    • At 2011.03.04 14:10, Dishy said:

      YUM!! Can’t WAIT to see the photos Nat, sounds so good. I love books like this. I think of them as cookbooks-PLUS. Two others I’ve seen lately are Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin and a neat one John recently brought home called Cooking for Geeks. Both of them contain recipes, but so much more, and would make great reads for anyone who loves the cookbooks-plus genre.

      Have fun cooking it up this weekend!! XO
      Dishy´s last blog post ..French Onion Soup

      • At 2011.03.04 14:15, Kathleen said:

        I’m definitely a dabbler in the kitchen so this one could work for me. I’d miss the pictures though. I like knowing what the dish is going to look like.
        Kathleen´s last blog post ..Commentary- Devotion by Dani Shapiro

        • At 2011.03.04 16:10, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

          I love photos of food in my cookbooks, too, but I still loved this one. The author interviews made up for it for me.

          • At 2011.03.04 21:08, Lisa said:

            I’ve been reading this one a bit at a time and some of the recipes to sound great. I’m with you; I’d like to have pictures of the finished product at least.
            Lisa´s last blog post ..Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

            • At 2011.03.04 22:07, Jenners said:

              I’m not a big cook or cookbook fan myself but this has some attraction. In other words, this is my kind of cookbook.
              Jenners´s last blog post ..Reviews- Complications- Strangers At The Feast and Backseat Saints

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