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“It’s all about Sex and Food!” Kathryn White and Jackie May Launch Anna Peters’ Year of Cooking Dangerously

Kathryn White

“It’s all about sex and food, sex and food!”

These were the opening words of Jackie May, Cape editor of The Times, at the launch of Anna Peters’ Year of Cooking Dangerously by Kathryn White, which took place at The Book Lounge earlier this month.

Kathryn White and Jackie MayAnna Peters' Year of Cooking DangerouslyIn 2011 White started keeping a food diary to see whether she could learn to cook. Some of the accounts were quite humorous, like the time she got barley seeds stuck in the pastry case which she’d rolled with a wine bottle, proceeding directly to drinking all the wine!

“While on holiday in Mexico, I got a terrible case of sunstroke. I was reading an Irish rom-com and Obama was getting elected. After I finished reading it I figured I could turn the food diary into a rom-com with a difference,” White said.

May asked White how much of her own life story went into the book. White, who took four years to write Anna Peters’ Year of Cooking Dangerously, described it as a highly articulated version of the copywriting she does for a living.

“I make jokes for other people, who then use them to sell cellphones or cars, and somebody makes a few million out of it. I kept wondering why I’m not doing this sort of thing for myself. It’s definitely me. The experiences are mostly made up. Some of them aren’t but …” she hesitated, “all those people know and have been contacted.” White laughed, saying, “It’s fine. Disclaimers all in place!”

White spends a lot of time in the traffic where she tells herself jokes – “and laughs at them too,” she confessed.

White reflected on the complex dynamics where intimate relationships and friends intersect. “People who’ve been having casual sex for a long time suddenly get engaged. This isn’t always a great idea. Then you find yourself sitting at the wedding listening to the story of how it all happened and you know … you just know … this isn’t how it happened.”

May gave a thumbnail synopsis describing how Anna Peters, at 31, seems “very young”. She has just broken up with her boyfriend but doesn’t quite achieve what she set out to do. Careful not to give away the ending, May said, “She wants to win him back by cooking her way back into his heart. It deteriorates from there – or does it? She’s a very liberated woman. She loves sex – as we all should!”

White was eager to point out that any recipes from the book should be followed at the Chef’s own peril. Cooking dangerously is inherent in the list of ingredients!

The last question of the night came with a backdoor exit option. May acknowledged that many authors are reluctant to talk about the next work in progress, lest they jinx it, but without missing a beat, White spoke gleefully about the Airbnb accommodation where she is currently staying – which regrettably precludes cooking as there are no pots and pans and no dating! This temporary arrangement, along with a couple of choice experiences from the vast sea of Tinder dates, features in her next novel.

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:



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