The Rebel Cook: Entertaining Advice for the Clueless
by Linda Kupecek

Altitude Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1-55153-938-1.
Reviewed by Doris Anne Roop-Benner
Posted on 01/16/2008

Nonfiction: Food/Cooking/Kitchen

Linda Kupecek loves to entertain. I don't think I've ever come across anyone so obsessed with giving dinner parties. Unfortunately, as she readily admits, she is a person with two left spoons. Her mother told her, "Darling, with all your brains and talent, don't waste your precious energy in the kitchen." But Kupecek continues to wander around the kitchen, struggling with recipes that never turn out as they should, and is unapologetic because she is The Rebel Cook.

Kupecek's great sense of humor delights us with the tales of how she (and we, too) can deviously, carefully, and cleverly invite people for dinner and show them a good time without any skills whatsoever in the kitchen. She shares her secrets to improve the world. To begin with, you must prepare the guest list, realizing that the most important component is the right mix of people. The author even supplies guidelines and advises you to only invite people you genuinely like and want to celebrate with, and who will forgive any and all faux pas. Next is the menu. You can stick to the basics or experiment and be creative. Think of a recipe like homework... If you get lucky and get a passing grade, it will encourage you to try harder next time.

The author also advises her readers to create a good first impression of their homes and themselves. A clean house keeps guests from forming a poor opinion of what lies ahead. Hopefully, your guests will not look in the cupboards or count the dust bunnies. She tells us to dazzle them with décor and then confound them with clutter. You want to reassure them, not frighten them. And, of course, appropriate garb is a must for the event. Remember, no matter what else you wear, put an apron over it. That makes the statement, "I am actually cooking something."

And then the doorbell rings. The evening has begun. Strap your apron to your loins, down a glass of something strong, and open that door. The Rebel Cook is ready for the performance because it's "show time!"

This book is a fun way to pass the afternoon. It makes me want to throw caution to the wind and at least think about giving a dinner party. Or not.

Linda Kupecek is a terrible cook, but some people think she is a wonderful hostess. She has written about food, entertaining, lifestyle, antiques and collectibles, and film for magazines such as City Palate, TV Guide, The Hollywood Reporter, Flare, and Country Collectibles. Her first book, Rebel Women: Achievements Beyond the Ordinary, also from Altitude Publishing, is much more serious than The Rebel Cook and has sold enough copies to be termed a Canadian bestseller. Linda also works as an actor, television host, and screenwriter when not weeping and carrying on in the kitchen.

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