Pat Conroy tops a bevy of celebrity chefs
'Tis the season for cookbook memoirs by well-known authorsMaya Angelou, Jan Karon and Adriana Trigiani among them. For me, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life outshines them all. A "passionate amateur cook," Conroy sees cooking as a "portable, moving pleasure" that goes with him wherever he goes. He calls this his "autobiography in food and meals and restaurants and countries near and far." Conroy is a natural writer and a superb storyteller, so this is a cookbook you should read through, not just dip into for a special recipe. That said, I'm as entranced with the 100 very special recipes as I am with the writing. From the spicy Cocktail Pecans, Peach Pie and Pan-Fried Flounder of Conroy's South- ern youth; to the Leg of Lamb with Roasted Fennel he marveled over on his first trip to Europe; to the succulent Umbrian Papparadelle with Pork and Rosemary Ragu; to the Marseille Soupe de Poisson he says was "good beyond my powers to dream," Conroy's book is full of dishes to savor.