Picks and Pans Review: Mostly True

updated 05/29/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Molly O'Neill

REVIEWED BY ANDREW ABRAHAMS

MEMOIR

It had to be more than kismet that O'Neill, formerly the esteemed food columnist for The New York Times Magazine, and her youngest brother, Paul, star right fielder for the New York Yankees, would both occupy center stage in Gotham in the late '90s. But this is no bitter tale of sibling rivalry fueled by dueling fame—it's one of the funniest, most heartwarming memoirs in years. O'Neill recounts the rapid growth of Chick and Boots O'Neill's brood (five boys plus Molly), and details Chick's steadfast but loving desire to breed future major leaguers out of Columbus, Ohio. "Baseball saved my brothers but cooking saved me," O'Neill writes of the passion that distinguished her from her competitive sibs. She moved from Mom's sous-chef to feminist restaurateur (the Ain't I a Wommon Club in Northampton, Mass., serving "nonviolent cuisine") to Julia Child protégée. But the story always comes back to O'Neill's brothers, especially the gifted but self-doubting Paul, who won five championships before retiring in 2001. Foodies and baseball fans alike will cheer for the remarkable O'Neills.
[4 stars]

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