MLA Gold Award Site

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time Summary and Reviews

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

My Adventures in Life and Food

by Moira Hodgson

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jan 2009
    336 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Moira Hodgson is British by birth and cosmopolitan by education. The daughter of a Foreign Service officer, she spent her childhood in many a strange and exotic land. She discovered American food in Vietnam, ate wild boar and snails in Berlin, and, when she returned to England as a teenager, learned how to prepare potatoes in every imaginable guise from her eccentric Irish grandmother.

She was seventeen when her father was posted to the United Nations, and in New York was introduced for the first time to oysters and cheesecake. Hodgson continued to pursue her passion for food and travel as a journalist.

Later she lived in Chiapas, Mexico, where she learned to make quesadillas on a charcoal brazier; in Lapland, she cooked on a Coleman stove in the back of a VW bus; and at the farmhouse near Marrakesh where she stayed in Morocco, she dined on a mechoui, a whole lamb that was baked for a day in a pit in the courtyard. Hodgson quickly earned a reputation as a discerning critic and entertaining writer.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time reflects Hodgson's talent for connecting her love of food with the people and places in her life. Like Ruth Reichl's bestselling memoirs, it is a glorious celebration of good food and good company.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Whether it's a plain peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a complex Moroccan stew made with intriguing spices, Hodgson enjoys food that's good. She likes 'simplicity: ingredients that aren't gussied up but allowed to speak for themselves.' Speaking for herself, she's given anyone who loves reading about food a delectable treat." - Library Journal's Editor's Fall Picks, Ann Burns.

"A highly charming raconteur, Hodgson's combination of sparkling anecdotes and tempting recipes is likely to win over foodies." - Publishers Weekly.

"A jolly good memoir, served with savoir-faire." - Kirkus Reviews.

The information about It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Marge

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: My Adventures in Life and Food
What captured my interest was the title. How could I not want to read this book--I quite enjoy good ideas, life, and food! This book isn't just about food; it starts out with the author, Moira Hodgson, traveling with her parents to different countries and the cuisine she and her family experience in each. An interesting aspect of this book is that it is not a cookbook but there are recipes throughout. They are not hard to follow. The stories in the book are not hard to follow either and if one likes learning and reading about different cultures, social classes, and their cuisines from a participating observer (as Ms. Hodgson is), then this book is for you.

Penny

This memoir covers epicurian delights...
Along with travel and other escapades of life. The author rehashes her life in a way that makes the reader hungry for more. The memories are wonderful. Next thing you're trying to guess what's coming up on the menu or what the next recipe is. Stories served up from Great Britain, the Middle East, boarding school and Vietnam are only hints of this banquet of living. At times wordy the reader will still crave more.

Joan

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
Food enthusiasts and New Yorkers familiar with columnist Moira Hodgson will enjoy this biography. She lived in many exotic places and has interesting vignettes. The recipes are as unusual as her travels and include Lamb Tajine with Green Olives and John Cage's Homemade Bread -- no yeast or soda for leavening, perhaps a brick flavored with pureed veggies is the result. If you love travel, biographies and food adventures, search no further.

Sarah

Wine, Dine, and Time
I quickly became hooked by Hodgson's memoir, which is fast-paced, mouth-watering, and intensely personal. The recipes that dive into each chapter look simple to make and delicious, but it's Hodgson's nostalgic prose that I like best. The author focuses both on her journey to enjoy food and on the mysteries of the kitchen, while sharing details about her family and her own life. Her travels around the world during childhood and later on as an adult went by a little too quickly to me, but I still enjoyed following her from England to America and every place in between.

Laura

A Pretty Good Idea
Part travelogue and part food commentary, this memoir by New York Observer restaurant critic Moira Hodgson brings to mind the work of Ruth Reichl but is not quite as satisfying. Hodgson exemplifies her memories with recipes, sometimes easy to follow and sometimes not. She name-drops relentlessly, particularly in the latter sections of the book, without telling us much about the names she is dropping - I guess we are supposed to know! The writing is entertaining; Hodgson's life as the well-traveled daughter of a British Foreign Service officer, and as a gadabout adult searching for a writing career is interesting and she tells it well. If you are looking for a "foodie" book, though, Reichl is a better bet.

Anne

An interesting life
I liked this book very much. Possibly because many of the author's experiences paralleled my own. She has a knack for bringing places and times vividly alive in her writing. However, I doubt this book will appeal to a large audience because of the time period. Set in somewhat "mainstream" 50s, 60s, and 70s, the author had an interesting life, but not a fascinating one. I imagine women of a "certain age" would like this book, as I did.

...10 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biographies & memoirs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Lost Child
    by Caryl Phillips
    The Lost Child is a modern novel constructed within a historical frame, invoking one of the most ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket
    Bad Country
    by CB McKenzie
    If author CB McKenzie's decidedly noir debut novel Bad Country were chocolate, it would be at ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Charmers

The Charmers by Elizabeth Adler

"This tale of romantic suspense makes the perfect beach read."
—Library Journal

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

C To T Q

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.