White Jacket Required - A Culinary Coming-Of-Age Story, is the debut book by blogger Jenna Weber. Published in September 2012, the book chronicles the author's journey from college-graduate with no idea what she should do with her life to a focused twenty-something food writer. Ms. Weber describes her time at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School and her time working in the business. Then, she very candidly describes a family tragedy that almost instantly changed the trajectory of her life and pushed her to follow her dreams of becoming a food writer.
Ms. Weber uses food as the vehicle to tell her story. And, at the end of each chapter, she includes one or two recipes related to the previous chapter. The recipes include everything from Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vanilla-Buttercream Frosting to Creamy Tomato Soup to Golden Granola. Her recipes are not all low-calorie, but some of the recipes are updated to use healthier ingredients such as her banana bread recipe made with whole-wheat flour.
While the recipes are not necessarily "healthy," Ms. Weber seems to have a generally healthy relationship with food. She does not appear to severely restrict her calories or eliminate entire groups of foods. Instead, she seems to realize that food is a part of every day. That it serves a vital purpose, but that it also can, and should, be enjoyed. Her meals are generally focused on whole, real foods. She eats when she is hungry, and, at least as described in the book, she does not fill up on junk food.
Probably due to her experience as a blog-writer, the author's writing has a very familiar feeling. You feel nervous right along with her as she describes her tests at Le Cordon Bleu. You sense the exhaustion she feels as she gets up insanely early for her job at the bakery. Tears well up in your eyes as she recounts the raw emotion she felt during the aftermath of her family's tragedy. And, as the healing begins, she leaves the reader with a sense of hope and also a feeling that maybe you can go after those unfulfilled dreams in your life.
Ms. Weber's memoir is an exceedingly easy read. It moves quickly and you could easily finish the 204-page book in the span of a weekend. Some might find the list price of $19.95 a little steep for a weekend read. But, this memoir has much more substance than your typical dime-store paperback and may just inspire you to follow your dreams.
I received a complimentary copy of the book to review.
Buy White Jacket Required from Amazon