New Year, New Schmeer: Back of the House

Scallion cream cheese smeared on a poppy seed bagel with belly lox on one half and pastrami cured salmon on the other.  Nearly enough to get me to forget the twenty degree weather that hugs me like The Grim Reaper on each walk with the dogs.

But not quite enough.

It’s been an inauspicious start to the new year, but I have hopes.  Why not?  Why not have hopes?  Is there any harm in that?

More to the point, Kirkus Review had a review of “Back of the House,” out on 12/26/12 that the publicist sent to me today.  Let’s see what I can cull from it:

“A psychologist and food writer takes a close look at what motivates and defines one of today’s most celebrated chefs.

Haas (Are We There Yet?, 2004) lives close to chef-owner Tony Maws’ famous Boston restaurant, Craigie on Main. Though the author wouldn’t deign to be a “foodie” by today’s terms—most restaurant experiences are, to him, “a colossal waste of time and money”—but a dinner at Craigie one night launched him into an intensive, behind-the-scenes field study of life in the Craigie kitchen. Haas is painstakingly meticulous in his report, observing every member of the kitchen in turn, working alongside many of them and even interviewing Maws’ parents for the chef’s complete family history. The author is most focused on the emotional and psychological inner workings of the kitchen dynamics. As he analyzes the inherent tensions in chef–cook relationships, he muses on the cause and effects of Maws’ hot-tempered personality with the distance and interest of a biologist observing a lion taking out a pack of hyenas…most of the text reads like a court reporter’s transcript of conversations between the author and Craigie employees…”





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