Barr, Nancy Verde 1944-
Barr, Nancy Verde 1944-
Born March 12, 1944, in Providence, RI; daughter of Charles C. and Katherine Wilhelmina Verde; married Philip Duane Barr, July 26, 1969; children: Philip Bradford, Andrew Gilmore. Education: University of Rhode Island, B.A., 1967. Religion: Episcopalian. Hobbies and other interests: Skiing, tennis.
Julia Child Productions, Boston, MA, executive chef, 1980-88; executive chef for Julia Child's Parade Magazine, 1980-85; Good Morning America, American Broadcasting Co. (ABC), New York, NY, food consultant, 1981-87; ABC Hearts and "Look" TV, Boston, food consultant, 1983; producer for the Food Network, beginning 1993; producer for Baking with Julia, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Food chair for International Institute, Providence, RI, 1988, and for Providence Preservation Society Ball, 1991. Has also worked as a culinary teacher for Boston University, Brown University, and Sakonnet Vineyards.
International Association of Culinary Professionals (chair of board of directors for IACP Foundation, 1994), American Institute of Wine and Food, Boston Women's Culinary Guild, Sakonnet Country Club.
We Called It Macaroni: An American Heritage of Southern Italian Cooking, illustrated by Kathe Helander, Knopf (New York, NY), 1990.
(With Julia Child) In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, photographs by Michael McLaughlin, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.
Make It Italian: The Taste and Technique of Italian Home Cooking, Knopf (New York, NY), 2002.
Last Bite: A Novel of Culinary Romance, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Food and Wine, Fine Cooking, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Cook's Magazine, and New England Living.
A chef who worked for many years with culinary legend Julia Child and who has been a food consultant and producer of television programs about cooking, Nancy Verde Barr is the author of several acclaimed cookbooks. With Last Bite: A Novel of Culinary Romance, she also branched out into fiction writing.
Her debut cookbook, We Called It Macaroni: An American Heritage of Southern Italian Cooking, is about the recipes of Italian American immigrants, and Barr states that much of what Americans think of as Italian cooking was passed down from the culture of southern Italy. "Refreshingly non-doctrinaire," according to Molly McQuade in Publishers Weekly, the recipes the book includes are "all standouts, all lucidly explained." With Make It Italian: The Taste and Technique of Italian Home Cooking, Barr demonstrates the same willingness to experiment with recipes as her mentor, Julia Child. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised "her unique approach to the recipes," offering readers several variations on each recipe that give cooks a choice. "Filled with delicious recipes and important information, Make It Italian is an essential purchase," asserted Judith Sutton in Library Journal. Drawing on her experiences in cooking and television, Barr completed a mystery novel in 2006 titled Last Bite. Casey Costello is a character similar to the author. She works for master chef Sally Woods, who takes the place of Julia Child. Casey works on a morning television show, and, after breaking up with her boyfriend, is somewhat reluctant to start a relationship with talented restaurateur Danny O'Shea, a guest on the show to whom she is attracted. Along with this blossoming romance, which heats up when Casey travels to Italy and meets Danny again, is a mystery involving a blackmail threat against Woods and secrets involving Woods's late husband, a nuclear physicist. Despite the mystery plot, critics were more interested in the culinary aspects of the novel. "The expertly handled cooking passages add flavor to the standard boy-meets-girl story," reported a Kirkus Reviews contributor, while Library Journal writer John Charles appreciated how the author "deftly seasons the writing with a touch of tart wit."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 2006, Mark Knoblauch, review of Last Bite: A Novel of Culinary Romance, p. 16.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2006, review of Last Bite, p. 195.
Library Journal, October 15, 2002, Judith Sutton, review of Make It Italian: The Taste and Technique of Italian Home Cooking, p. 89; May 1, 2006, John Charles, review of Last Bite, p. 76.
Publishers Weekly, October 19, 1990, Molly Mc- Quade, review of We Called It Macaroni: An American Heritage of Southern Italian Cooking, p. 56; September 9, 2002, review of Make It Italian, p. 59.
Algonquin Books Web site,http://www.algonquin.com/ (November 1, 2006), "Author Spotlight: Nancy Verde Barr."
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (November 1, 2006), "Nonna in the Kitchen," review of Make It Italian.