Aleksandra Mir

The How Not to Cookbook by Aleksandra Mir

By Sara Bir, Portland, January 2011

This charming volume is not a cookbook, but a compilation of the 1,000 responses Sicily-based artist Aleksandra Mir got when she elicited cooking disaster stories from people all over the world. Mir divided the un-tips into sections both obvious and unlikely: "Drugs," "Gadgets," "Lasagna," "Orientalism," "Worms." It's a browser's heaven. The disparate contributors are now linked through cultures and continents via admissions of stupidity, a splendid reminder that almost any semi-capable person who eats also cooks, and every cook learns by making mistakes. To wit: my own brief entry in the book, involving beets and a blender.