Fans of Conroy's novels will snap up copies of their idol's cookbook for more than just its recipes. Although Conroy offers a few recipes for dishes that he has loved since childhood, he comes to admire more sophisticated fare when celebrity gives him access to whatever his tastes may desire. Conroy's earliest introduction to cooking came from the pages of Escoffier, the rigorous French chef who based his cuisine on stocks, and his example influenced Conroy's cookery forever. A stay in Rome gave Conroy nearly equal appreciation for Italian cooking. The true savor of the book rests in Conroy's ability to tell absorbing tales of how divergent dishes and exceptional ingredients came to be important to him. Thus, one of the book's vivid moments comes in a discussion of Vidalia onions with Conroy relating a hilarious story involving football, Wild Turkey, and a tart-tongued septuagenarian southern belle. Literary historians will particularly relish Conroy's account of how he came to write the ending of The Great Santini (1976).