Six Degrees of Separation – from The Naked Chef to The Recovering

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up.

This month we begin with Jamie Oliver’s breakout cookbook, The Naked Chef. Back in the nineties, I loved his television show and his cookbooks are an auto-buy for me.

Also on auto-buy are those by Hetty McKinnon. Her first cookbook, Community, is sensational (and the recipe for beetroot, turnip, edamame and radish salad is a family favourite).

So for a tenuous link… when I think ‘community’, my mind goes to another book that made a big impression on me in my younger years – Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putman – it examines the loss of social structures that give a sense of community.

Based on title alone, my next link is to Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken.

I’ve only read one book by McCracken, her heartbreaking memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.

Exact Replica was lent to me by a friend. She gave me two books on the same day, and the other was Leslie Jamison’s The Gin Closet.

The Gin Closet is a fictional account of alcoholism. Jamison’s memoir, The Recovering, describes her personal struggle with alcohol.

Cooking, community and alcohol! Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (December 3, 2022), we’ll start with The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

29 responses

  1. Pingback: 6 Degrees of Separation: From The Naked Chef to Kids’ Cooking | Treefall Writing

    • I haven’t read The Snow Child either (had it for years!) but it seemed appropriately Christmasy (for people who enjoy a white Christmas) plus it’s a fairytale which I’ve found participants enjoy as a starting point.

    • I read it when I was working in community education and policy for the State Government. It made a big impression (and the key points are just as relevant for Australia as they are for America). In fact, the central ideas are things I’ve come back to over and over (including a memorable argument I had with our last Aus treasurer over community kindergartens – that was back in the days when he actually spent time in his electorate!).

      • I think it was referred to in that book I read last year, The Lonely Century, which linked Trumpism to the way he makes people feel they belong. You know, the uniform (red hats), community singalongs of their ‘anthems’ and so on.

  2. I was just telling someone about Bowling Alone!! I think about the community activities that have disappeared in my area since COVID, especially community theater, which at one time in my life was my passion.

  3. What an interesting chain, I absolutely love the idea. Mine has to do with the pictures on the covers this time.

    My Six Degrees of Separation took me from The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver to Lisa and Lottie by Erich Kästner.

    And I love the suggestion for next month. That book has been forever on my wishlist and I finally read it last month. So looking forward to finding an interesting chain. Thanks.

  4. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation: From The Naked Chef to Like Water for Chocolate – What I Think About When I Think About Reading

    • I have a friend who makes fabulous salads and always acts as if she ‘just threw it together’. I realised when I bought McKinnon’s Community that exceptional salads take a bit of work but they are well worth the effort.

  5. Apart from Jamie Oliver’s books these are all new to me. I have read one of Elizabeth McCracken’s books, The Giant’s House which I thought was very good, and I’d meant to read more by her. Her memoir sounds heart breaking.

  6. Community sounds very appealing although I prefer salads that magically appear on my plate. Sometimes the ingredients just stay sullenly in the refrigerator. I am a big McCracken fan and worked on her first (I think) book The Giant’s House when I was in publishing. The Snow Child has been on my TBR since it first came out – maybe I can read it this month.

    Happy Guy Fawkes Day everyone! If I had remembered before this instant, I would have worked him into my chain:


  7. I hadn’t heard of the book Bowling Alone, but as an anthropologist am obviously very interested in books about the loss of community (and its replacement by the online community?). I’ve had some computer problems this weekend, so my contribution will be later than usual, appearing tomorrow Monday.

  8. Pingback: #6Degrees of Separation November 2022 – findingtimetowrite

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