PERSONAL: Born in Australia; married Haralds Gaikis.
ADDRESSES: Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Agent—The Blumer Literary Agency, 350 7th Ave., Ste. 2003, New York, NY 10001.
CAREER: Food writer and food stylist; has worked as a chef in London, England, Paris, France, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Australia.
Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to cookbooks and to periodicals, including Gourmet and Fine Cooking.
SIDELIGHTS: A chef with over twenty-five years of experience in the kitchen, Jennifer McLagan has prepared some of the finest dishes of haute cuisine in Paris, London, and Toronto. One day, she noticed that dishes cooked on the bone, or using bone marrow or other parts of the bone, had become increasingly shunned and were infrequently prepared. A main reason for this was that some dishes, such as those using chicken feet, pig's feet or tails, and dishes prepared on the bone, had come to be considered food eaten by poor people. Another reason, too, is that these dishes are more time-consuming to prepare, a drawback in today's fast-paced world. As McLagan notes in her debut book, Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore, however, the tastiest meat and most flavor from beef, chicken, pork, and even fish, can be obtained on the bone. McLagan wrote the book in an attempt to make at least some of these dishes popular again and spur a revival in recipes using bones.
Bones, naturally, includes recipes and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare them. In addition, "McLagan's personable prose," added T. Susan Chang in her Boston Globe review, "is leavened with bone miscellanea and bone quotations. This debut volume is nearly everything a cookbook should be: wise, stylish, and delicious." Although a Publishers Weekly contributor admitted the book "won't appeal to the 20-minute chef," the reviewer concluded "it will be a welcome addition to the slow-food aficionado's library."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Boston Globe, January 4, 2006, T. Susan Chang, "Thrilling Meat Lovers to the Marrow."
Chicago Tribune, March 22, 2006, Bill Daley, "Becoming a Bone Vivant."
Library Journal, October 15, 2005, Courtney Greene, review of Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore, p. 76.
New York Times, October 26, 2005, Julia Moskin, "Closer to the Bone."
New York Times Book Review, December 4, 2005, Corby Kummer, review of Bones.
Publishers Weekly, September 19, 2005, Lynn Andriani, "No Bones about It," interview with Jennifer McLagan, p. 60; September 19, 2005, review of Bones, p. 61.
San Francisco Chronicle, February 1, 2006, Janet Fletcher, "Close to the Bone: Devotees Know That Bony Parts and Cuts Lend Dishes Depth, but They Can Be a Hard Sell to Everyone Else."
Jennifer McLagan Home Page, http://www.jennifermclagan.com (March 13, 2006).