I have never been moved to tears by a cookbook before. After reading Ceyenne Doroshow's personal foreword in the beginning of her cookbook, I felt like I personally knew her and felt empathetic for her life's tribulations.
Ms. Doroshow learned to cook from her grandfather, a head chef at Copacabana restaurant in New York, and from watching Julia Child on TV. She also cooked on her own during adolescence and later while working at a bar for older LGBT folks. She even improved the food while living in a homeless shelter and later in prison. Cooking became a form of creation, rebellion, survival, and escape, as well as a way to care for others. Much like in life, Ceyenne can create something wonderful with limited resources. "And there was not much to work with, but I knew I could turn small things into miracles," she writes.
In her cookbook, Ceyenne shares both personal and culinary experiences with the world. Ms. Doroshow is a survivor and an inspiration whose voice shines through the pages. Though I have read through a large number of cookbooks, I have never come across one as honest and dynamic as this.
Cooking In Heels offers everything from appetizers to desserts. Ceyenne's recipes involve an impressively wide array of culinary influences, including vegetable tempura, goulash, stromboli, deviled eggs, and paella. While most cooks only stick to one or two culinary categories, Ceyenne seems to deftly pick from all parts of the globe, creating meals with skillful, varied methods of preparation. This cookbook cannot be classified as any one category of cuisine, though most of the recipes run on the savory or spicy side, with exclusion for the sweets listed in the Desserts section.
Ceyenne includes short, personal stories along with some of the recipes, especially those recipes honorably named after her friends and loved ones. For those of us who truly love to cook, we know that this is the real heart of what we do: nourishing ourselves and the ones we love.
Judging from her recipes, I can tell that Ceyenne clearly knows how to prepare food. She does not shy away from using a wide range of meat (ribs, chicken, bacon, pork chops, pig tails, mussels, crabs, crawfish...) and the correct amounts of strong spices. A cook does not need to play it safe when she knows what she's doing.
Regardless of the reader's personal palette, I'm confident that this cookbook will have something for everyone. It is difficult to not be inspired and touched by Ms. Doroshow's creativity in the kitchen, cooking and sharing with her loved ones.