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Biographies & Memoirs - Memoirs CLMP Publishers New Titles

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Simmering: A Kitchen Memoir

ISBN: 9798989233328
Binding: Paperback
Author: Rebecca Orchant
Pages: 200
Trim: 5 x 7.5 inches
Published: 05/28/2024

In this wry memoir - filled with searing insights, cutting commentary, and heated eroticism - restauranter and food writer Rebecca Orchant (Huffington Post, Saveur) takes readers behind the scenes of the personal and professional kitchens that have shaped her life and its hard-won lessons.

With Simmering: A Kitchen Memoir, Orchant revisits the places and people influencing her love of food and the role food plays in her love - for others and for herself. From childhood culinary intrigue in Albuquerque to a kitchen table marriage proposal in Brooklyn to a hearthside BDSM scene on Cape Cod, Orchant examines the full epicurean breadth of her life. She recalls first loves and lasting losses, favorite meals and failed friendships. And she unblinkingly looks at the complexities of her deeply meaningful polyamorous connections while also bravely rendering earlier sexual awakenings, betrayals, and assaults: as a curious child, a vulnerable teenager, and an adult pushing away a renowned celebrity chef.

Throughout, Orchant finds comfort and belonging in kitchens, the common spaces where so much comes together, often with joy, sometimes with pain, always with the spice of life. Across Simmering: A Kitchen Memoir, she sprinkles in memorable dinner parties, visits to standout restaurants, beloved shared cooking rituals, and a few reliable recipes. In the end, Rebecca Orchant proves that simmering itself is required to let the hardest moments of life blend together with the best ones to become something far richer than the raw ingredients one might have to work with.


Rebecca Orchant is the Co-Owner of Pop+Dutch, a sandwich shop and curiosities market in Provincetown, MA, where she has lived year-round with her husband Sean since 2014. Formerly a Food Editor at The Huffington Post, Orchant also performs burlesque as The Duchess of Sandwich, is currently the Vice Chair of the board of The Provincetown Commons, and contributes to The Provincetown Independent. She was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, and received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from The University of New Mexico, where she received a regional award, and was a national finalist for the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play from The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. She is probably thinking about cheese right now.


"In Simmering, Rebecca Orchant is your bestie at a queer dinner party — an irreverent, bisexual, snickering pal who talks about ass while pouring the wine. Every chapter feels like an anecdote shared over a drink (maybe her 'Aviation Cocktail,' described as a 'mouthful of flowers'). These vignettes about her life, food, sex, and pain are punctuated with truly tempting recipes, but the stories themselves are the real gems of this book, reminding readers of the strange alchemy between eating and remembering. A haunting prose poem about sexual assault and a devastating essay on death are tucked in with a recipe for preparing Cornish hens. The result is not a cookbook but an ode to cooking, a joyful and carnal ritual that bookends our best and worst days. Orchant zooms in on this ritual and gives it the personal examination it deserves." - Alexander Cheves

"Orchant's book has a scattered structure and often a light tone. However, an engaging seriousness underlies it all. Some moments are disturbing, such as an account of a sexual assault she experienced at a party. There are also many moving meditations about life in these pages throughout… Orchant will make readers appreciate food, family, and friends a bit more, and portrays life in general as a messy, sad, joyous, funny, and annoying mixture. A nourishing and easily digestible chronicle." - Kirkus Reviews