Books: In the lists

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The Independent Culture
'I grew up eating well,' confesses Oprah Winfrey. 'Cheese grits, homemade biscuits smothered in butter, home-cured ham, red-eyed gravy - and that was just breakfast.' The queen of American television's complicated relationship with food has long fascinated her public. In 1988, the huge star shrank by an alleged 120 lb, only to blow out again. But these days Oprah's girth is truly reformed - or so she and Rosie Daley claim, in In the Kitchen with Rosie. Rosie, you see, is Oprah's personal chef and architect of her new physique. Oprah discovered her at a California health farm and fell in love with her cuisine: Southern fare denuded of its legendary calories. This rather slight book treats us to 'Oprah's Favorite Recipes'. Some are conventionally healthy (pasta with vegetables), and some aren't: with the aid of 'oil spray', Rosie knocks up 'Un-fried Chicken', 'Un-fried Catfish' and, the ultimate oxymoron, 'Un-fried Fries'. In the US the book is breaking records like Greek restaurants smash plates: after just 16 weeks it is into its third edition and, with sales hovering around 5 million, it looks set to eclipse the 1931 classic The Joy of Cooking. Here, though, homegrown TV chefs still have the edge.

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