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You probably knew Molly Ivins as an unabashed civil libertarian who used her rapier wit and good ole Texas horse sense to excoriate political figures she deemed unworthy of our trust and respect. But did you also know that Molly was one helluva cook? And we're not just talking chili and chicken-fried steak, either. Molly Ivins honed her culinary skills on visits to France— You probably knew Molly Ivins as an unabashed civil libertarian who used her rapier wit and good ole Texas horse sense to excoriate political figures she deemed unworthy of our trust and respect. But did you also know that Molly was one helluva cook? And we're not just talking chili and chicken-fried steak, either. Molly Ivins honed her culinary skills on visits to France—often returning with perfected techniques for saumon en papillote or delectable clafouti aux cerises. Friends who had the privilege of sharing Molly's table got not only a heaping helping of her insights into the political shenanigans of the day, but also a mouth-watering meal, prepared from scratch with the finest ingredients and assembled with the same meticulous attention to detail that Molly devoted to skewering a political recalcitrant. In Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins, her longtime friend, fellow reporter, and frequent sous-chef Ellen Sweets takes us into the kitchen with Molly and introduces us to the private woman behind the public figure. She serves up her own and others' favorite stories about Ivins as she recalls the fabulous meals they shared, complete with recipes for thirty-five of Molly's signature dishes. These stories reveal a woman who was even more fascinating and complex than the "professional Texan" she enjoyed playing in public. Friends who ate with Molly knew a cultured woman who was a fluent French speaker, voracious reader, rugged outdoors aficionado, music lover, loyal and loving friend, and surrogate mom to many of her friends' children, as well as to her super-spoiled poodle. They also came to revere the courageous woman who refused to let cancer stop her from doing what she wanted, when she wanted. This is the Molly you'll be delighted to meet in Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins.


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You probably knew Molly Ivins as an unabashed civil libertarian who used her rapier wit and good ole Texas horse sense to excoriate political figures she deemed unworthy of our trust and respect. But did you also know that Molly was one helluva cook? And we're not just talking chili and chicken-fried steak, either. Molly Ivins honed her culinary skills on visits to France— You probably knew Molly Ivins as an unabashed civil libertarian who used her rapier wit and good ole Texas horse sense to excoriate political figures she deemed unworthy of our trust and respect. But did you also know that Molly was one helluva cook? And we're not just talking chili and chicken-fried steak, either. Molly Ivins honed her culinary skills on visits to France—often returning with perfected techniques for saumon en papillote or delectable clafouti aux cerises. Friends who had the privilege of sharing Molly's table got not only a heaping helping of her insights into the political shenanigans of the day, but also a mouth-watering meal, prepared from scratch with the finest ingredients and assembled with the same meticulous attention to detail that Molly devoted to skewering a political recalcitrant. In Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins, her longtime friend, fellow reporter, and frequent sous-chef Ellen Sweets takes us into the kitchen with Molly and introduces us to the private woman behind the public figure. She serves up her own and others' favorite stories about Ivins as she recalls the fabulous meals they shared, complete with recipes for thirty-five of Molly's signature dishes. These stories reveal a woman who was even more fascinating and complex than the "professional Texan" she enjoyed playing in public. Friends who ate with Molly knew a cultured woman who was a fluent French speaker, voracious reader, rugged outdoors aficionado, music lover, loyal and loving friend, and surrogate mom to many of her friends' children, as well as to her super-spoiled poodle. They also came to revere the courageous woman who refused to let cancer stop her from doing what she wanted, when she wanted. This is the Molly you'll be delighted to meet in Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins.

30 review for Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins conforms with its subtitle “A Memoir with Recipes,” being mostly remembrances of journalist and foodie Ellen Sweets and of other friends of the late, great Molly Ivins. Usually these combo-books lean more heavily toward the recipes than the remembrances, but memoir constitutes 90 percent of Sweets’ book. The few recipes are decent, if not spectacular, and the reminisces are mostly run of the mill although a few — particularly one in which a prejudiced society matro Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins conforms with its subtitle “A Memoir with Recipes,” being mostly remembrances of journalist and foodie Ellen Sweets and of other friends of the late, great Molly Ivins. Usually these combo-books lean more heavily toward the recipes than the remembrances, but memoir constitutes 90 percent of Sweets’ book. The few recipes are decent, if not spectacular, and the reminisces are mostly run of the mill although a few — particularly one in which a prejudiced society matron mistakes the African-American Sweets, then a Dallas Morning News reporter, for the kitchen help — are quite enjoyable. What emerges is a picture of a most generous free spirit and relentless crusader for justice, but the accounts are pretty lifeless. Rabid Molly Ivins fans will want this book, but others will be best served with Ivins’ own books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Duff

    Some fine moments about Molly, but the bulk of the book is about the people who remembered her. Most of the names were unknown to me and seemed really peripheral. Other reviewers thought it was well written. I suppose that could be the case, but it was not well edited. Again and again I scratched my head to see why an editor would let an irrelevant section remain. I think I would have loved this had the author simply chronicled her experiences with Molly and left out much of the rambling around Some fine moments about Molly, but the bulk of the book is about the people who remembered her. Most of the names were unknown to me and seemed really peripheral. Other reviewers thought it was well written. I suppose that could be the case, but it was not well edited. Again and again I scratched my head to see why an editor would let an irrelevant section remain. I think I would have loved this had the author simply chronicled her experiences with Molly and left out much of the rambling around with other folks. Sad that I did not like it much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Elrick

    The book is a report on the reporter at a time when she was still both terribly social and pulling away from health. The book includes great recipes that the author shared with Ivins at that time, another means of communication through the love of food.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin Leary

    clunky writing, some great recipes

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kevintipple

    For years Molly Ivins was a force to be reckoned with as a columnist for various publications including The Dallas Morning News. She was often interviewed by the print and television media in herself described role of “professional Texan.” You never knew what she would say but you knew that it would often be caustically funny. Sadly, cancer did what political power brokers and other could do and silenced the legendary Molly Ivins. Many did not know the other non-public side of Molly Ivins. For he For years Molly Ivins was a force to be reckoned with as a columnist for various publications including The Dallas Morning News. She was often interviewed by the print and television media in herself described role of “professional Texan.” You never knew what she would say but you knew that it would often be caustically funny. Sadly, cancer did what political power brokers and other could do and silenced the legendary Molly Ivins. Many did not know the other non-public side of Molly Ivins. For her lucky friends who spent time with her in unguarded moments away the media stage there was a lot more to Molly Ivins than the rest of us saw on our television screens or in her many columns. One of those things that escaped public scrutiny was her deep interested in the culinary arts. Her interest ranged from the most basic to the most advanced and complex dishes. Thanks to her friends and fellow cook Ellen Sweets, readers now have via Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes some idea of that interest. Often funny, occasionally sad, the book is a fun 272 pages (including index) read containing numerous recipes, photographs, and hundreds of memories. Simply put it chronicles a life well lived. Published by the University of Texas Press the book is broken into chapters detailing the various events in Molly Ivins life as well as the life of her friend Ellen Sweets. Black and white pictures abound in the book as do the recipes for items such as “Melba’s Baked Pork Chops” (page 85) and “Ouefs Brouille” (page 115) and “Smothered Chicken in Onion Gravy” (page 144) among other dishes. Nutritional information is not present nor are there pictures of the finished dishes. Not so much a cookbook but a book of love regarding a dear and cherished friend. The book is filled with memories and reminisces that often result in laugh out loud moments and the occasional sigh of pain. The book wonderfully tells another side to Molly Ivins that most of us never saw or even had a glimpse of over the years. If you thought you knew all about her based on her public personae, take a look at this book and be pleasantly surprised. Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joshunda Sanders

    Well, I got to Texas too late to know about the legendary Molly Ivins and her legacy here. But thankfully, I have good friends, and one who is now in the East connected me with Ellen Sweets, a neighbor I idolize for her amazing cooking, and her lovely daughter, Hannah, also a rock star in her own right. I met Sweets not long before the publication of this book, and it's only a somber coincidence that I've finished it on the eve of the anniversary of Ivins' death in 2007. As I told Sweets, this b Well, I got to Texas too late to know about the legendary Molly Ivins and her legacy here. But thankfully, I have good friends, and one who is now in the East connected me with Ellen Sweets, a neighbor I idolize for her amazing cooking, and her lovely daughter, Hannah, also a rock star in her own right. I met Sweets not long before the publication of this book, and it's only a somber coincidence that I've finished it on the eve of the anniversary of Ivins' death in 2007. As I told Sweets, this book does what the best books do - it made me laugh, snort and cry. Ivins is hilarious, but the adventures she shares with Sweets in the kitchen and at the grocery store, are priceless and heartwarming. There is the palpable sadness, too, of losing a friend. There is all of the guffawing and crazy Texas talk in between. I loved the book, the pictures and the recipes. Stirring it Up is definitely a treasure.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    ...and yet Dick Cheney still lives! Ellen Sweets wrote this book with with love and affection for her dear friend Molly Ivins. There are some excellent Molly stories interspersed with kick-ass recipes. I for one did not know Molly's French connection and her facility with that cuisine. But, honey, I do so wish our Molly were still here to write this book her-own-self! You don't have to be a yellow-dog Democrat to enjoy this book, just a fan of this whip-smart, larger-than-life gal who, in the la ...and yet Dick Cheney still lives! Ellen Sweets wrote this book with with love and affection for her dear friend Molly Ivins. There are some excellent Molly stories interspersed with kick-ass recipes. I for one did not know Molly's French connection and her facility with that cuisine. But, honey, I do so wish our Molly were still here to write this book her-own-self! You don't have to be a yellow-dog Democrat to enjoy this book, just a fan of this whip-smart, larger-than-life gal who, in the last year of her life, argued that it was a fine time to raft the Colorado River: "What's it gonna do, kill me?"

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yoonmee

    If you're a big Molly Ivins fan, you'll probably love this book. Unfortunately, I'm not too terribly familiar with Ivins, so many of the stories, anecdotes, and many of the other politicians, writers, etc. in the book went over my head. That said, the book made me appreciate and like Ivins even more than I did before. She was an awesome woman (and a fellow Smithie!). I haven't tried any of the recipes, but many of them sure sounded delicious! If you're a big Molly Ivins fan, you'll probably love this book. Unfortunately, I'm not too terribly familiar with Ivins, so many of the stories, anecdotes, and many of the other politicians, writers, etc. in the book went over my head. That said, the book made me appreciate and like Ivins even more than I did before. She was an awesome woman (and a fellow Smithie!). I haven't tried any of the recipes, but many of them sure sounded delicious!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margarete

    A wonderful book about Molly Ivins by her good friend Ellen Sweets. Very well written! Many stories, anecdotes and recipes. A real tear jerker at the end. I felt that I really knew Molly by reading this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    The stories about Molly are invaluable. The recipes are mostly OK. The book was better when the author didn't focus on herself but rather on her memories of Molly. She tended to repeat herself too. Maybe a better editor? The stories about Molly are invaluable. The recipes are mostly OK. The book was better when the author didn't focus on herself but rather on her memories of Molly. She tended to repeat herself too. Maybe a better editor?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tejas Janet

    There are some good stories here about Molly Ivins and some good recipes, but I found the presentation disjointed, perhaps unavoidably so given the cookbook format. I'd prefer reading the biographical material in a different format so it wasn't constrained by having to be organized around recipes. There are some good stories here about Molly Ivins and some good recipes, but I found the presentation disjointed, perhaps unavoidably so given the cookbook format. I'd prefer reading the biographical material in a different format so it wasn't constrained by having to be organized around recipes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I was reading it in preparation to seeing Red Hot Patriot. It was fun to learn this gustatory side of Molly, but I was hoping for more of her biography and history. this smacked more of Ellen Sweets experiences with Molly. I did have a child attend UT in Austin and will refer the book to her.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    These stories are really sweet. I didn't know who Molly Ivins was before I randomly caught Sweets' reading at a book store, but these stories feel familiar. Retelling a person's life from the perspective of a dinner table is really touching. These stories are really sweet. I didn't know who Molly Ivins was before I randomly caught Sweets' reading at a book store, but these stories feel familiar. Retelling a person's life from the perspective of a dinner table is really touching.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    I would give this book 4.5 stars. A really special book on the love of friends, writing and the bond in the kitchen.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gina

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mona

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline McRath

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kyndall Ostermann

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Frances Black

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  26. 4 out of 5

    damon young

  27. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Shah

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

  29. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elana

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