Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife

An offbeat gift for any occasion — from holidays to birthdays, from weddings to divorce — no wife will read this book without recognizing her life in these "recipes"! Married women today have it all: children to raise, a home to run, a boss to appease, and a husband to clean up after. What more could they want?

Flavored with frustration, simmering with rage, and iced with affection, SECRET RECIPES FOR THE MODERN WIFE: All the Dishes You’ll Need to Make from the Day You Say “I Do” Until Death (or Divorce) Do You Part (Fireside/Simon & Schuster; April 7, 2009; $12.00/Paperback; 1-4165-8084-0), by Nava Atlas, is the perfect companion for today’s busy, overextended, and occasionally conflicted wife. Enveloped in this funny faux 1950’s cookbook are the secrets — delicious, distressing, and everything in between — to help women through all the challenges of modern matrimony.

Whether a new bride or an old hand at wedded less-than-bliss, every wife (or ex-wife) will savor this scrumptiously sardonic portrait of contemporary marriage. Hilarious, thought-provoking, and cleverly designed, SECRET RECIPES FOR THE MODERN WIFE skewers today’s cultural norms with a collection of “recipes” that illustrate the subtle madness of matrimony. Divided into four stages of marriage, the book irreverently pokes fun at the often ridiculous expectations that accompany “I do.” The secret recipes include:

Recipes for Accommodation – Start your marriage right by pleasing your man, your kids, and everyone else with tantalizing treats including:
· Sweethearts’ Engagement Buffet
· Honeymooners’ Bountiful Brunch
· People-Pleasing Tossed Salad

Recipes for Trouble – Long after the glow of marital novelty has worn off, morsels like these are sure to hit the spot:
· Beans ‘n Weenies of Sexual Tension
· Mother-in-Law Fruitcake
· Old Boyfriend Buffet

Recipes for Disaster – If you’re on the road to Splitsville, feed your feelings of disappointment, anger, and betrayal with:
· Hypercritical Cinnamon Buns
· Soufflé of Fallen Expectations
· Grounds-for-Divorce Meat Loaves

Recipes for Reconciliation and (Gasp!) Romance – If your marriage has had more ups than downs, and you’re in it for the long haul, enjoy cozy dishes like these for well-earned pleasure and sustenance:
· Sometimes I Feel Like a Tart
· A Fairly Satisfactory Family Stew
· Happily-Ever-After Ambrosia

Filled with retro art that hearkens back to a bygone, blander age and conjuring outrageously parodied housewives from the heyday of the homemaker, SECRET RECIPES FOR THE MODERN WIFE grills societal norms with gleeful relish, but never loses sight of the rewards of a good marriage. The result is a feast of retro art, sly wit, and cultural commentary. No woman will be able to read this without immediately thinking of five friends who must have it.


Nava Atlas is an artist and author who is best known for her bestselling vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, including the classic Vegetariana, and her award-winning web site, In a Vegetarian Kitchen (vegkitchen.com). Her most recent “real” cookbooks include Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons and Vegan Express.

Nava is also a fine artist specializing in limited edition artists’ books and text-driven objects and installation. Her work is shown and collected by museums and universities across the U.S. You can see her work at navaatlas.com.

SECRET RECIPES FOR THE MODERN WIFE is a book that bridges Nava’s interests in food with her exploration of women’s issues. Her home is in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, where she lives with her husband and two sons.

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