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

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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.

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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.

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Reader Reviews

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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

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