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READER’S GUIDE

In Alyssa Shelasky’s feisty, funny, and heartfelt memoir, she describes her transformation from ultra-
cool kitchen phobe to unabashed, unapologetic food lover—and the lessons she learned about life, and
love, along the way. The questions below are intended to shape your book group’s discussion of Apron
Anxiety. To enhance your conversation about this rollicking read, prepare and serve some of the
author’s recipes when you meet!

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. Apron Anxiety opens with the following from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain: “I would be
displeased and scared shitless if my little girl started talking about wanting to be a chef. I guess
it could be worse. She could talk about wanting to go OUT with a chef.” When you first read
this quote, what did you think Apron Anxiety was going to be like? Having read it, what do you
think of Bourdain’s thoughts?

2. In chapter 1, Alyssa recounts her family’s eating habits and how those early years shaped her
adult tastes. What are your first memories of food? How did your own attitude toward food
develop?

3. Talk about the prevalence of food culture these days. What does the word foodie mean to you?
Does Alyssa consider herself a foodie?

4. Do you know anyone who’s worked in the restaurant business? What are your impressions of
it, having read Apron Anxiety? If you were able to date a chef, would you? Conversely, if you
were a chef would you date a “civilian”?

5. When Alyssa first begins to cook on her own, she’s surprised at how much delight Chef takes
in her attempts to share what she thought was his passion alone. Do you think that relationships
work best when they are centered on a mutual interest, or when each partner has his or her own
thing?
6. In Apron Anxiety, cooking for Alyssa is often therapeutic. Think of your own relationship with
food and cooking. Are there particular meals that bring up memories or elicit strong emotions?

7. Alyssa describes the singular experiences that changed the way she thought about food: “the
Pasta” of her teenage years, her first tastes of Indian cuisine, exploring the Greek cooking of
her boyfriend’s heritage, the many special dishes Chef made for her. What is your most
memorable food experience? What made it special?

8. “Every morning of my life, my mother has eaten a packaged Devil Dog for breakfast.” Talk
about how eating and food play an important part of a person’s routine. Do you have a daily
food ritual?

9. At the book’s end, Alyssa writes that, contrary to what one may tell oneself, “happiness is
yours to find.” Do you agree with this sentiment? Why did it take Alyssa so long to realize this
about herself?

10. Think about what it might be like to write your own memoir. Could you be as candid as Alyssa
is in Apron Anxiety? Would you be concerned about the reactions of your family and friends
once they read your book?

11. “Just because you’re an extraordinary person who deserves extraordinary love, it can’t come at
the expense of everything else that makes you whole.” Consider this quote of Alyssa’s as you
think about how she’s detailed her romantic life in Apron Anxiety. In her relationship with
Chef, what was Alyssa missing in her own life?

12. How do you think Alyssa would arrange the following words, in order of importance: friends,
family, work, food, love? How would you order them?

13. Famed restaurant and food critic Gael Greene says of Apron Anxiety: “There’s a racy plot and a
surprising moral in this intimate and delicious book.” Do you agree? If you could offer a blurb
about this book, what would it say?