The ballad of Typhoid Mary

Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical” by Anthony Bourdain is the 14th book I’ve finished this year.

Bourdain truly was a gifted writer and fascinating storyteller, and this is a moving account of how a hardworking Irish immigrant and excellent cook named Mary Mallon ended up becoming infamous in history as Typhoid Mary.

“I’m a chef, and what interests me is the story of a proud cook – a reasonably capable one by all accounts – who at the outset, at least, found herself utterly screwed by forces she neither understood nor had the ability to control. I’m interested in a tormented loner, a woman in a male world, in hostile territory, frequently on the run. And I’m interested in denial – the ways that Mary, and many of us, find to avoid the obvious, the lies we tell ourselves to get through the day, the things we do and say so that we can go on, drag our aching carcasses out of bed each day, climb into our clothes and once again set out for work, often in kitchens where the smell, the surroundings, the ruling regime oppress us.”

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