“Kay Nelson’s memoir teaches us that food is a key to unlocking and understanding cultures other than our own. I know exactly what Julia Child of the OSS would say after reading Kay’s book: ‘Bon appétit!’”
—Charles Pinck, OSS Society president
“This delightful gastro-biographic guidebook starts off by sending abroad a wide-eyed CIA novice who returns an epicurean globe-trotting and seasoned intelligence officer, author, and down-to-earth sophisticate. Like a complex, silky-smooth digestíf, it finishes so quickly with such a pleasant buzz, you’ll want to signal the waiter for a second round.”
—Elizabeth Bancroft, executive director, Association of Former Intelligence Officers
Upon graduating from college in 1948, Kay Shaw Nelson, a bright young woman with a yen for international travel, joined the newly founded Central Intelligence Agency. Within months, she received her security clearance, learned the difficulties associated with the life of a spy, fell in love, and set about traveling the world on assignment with her husband. At times under the cover of a cookbook writer, Nelson sailed from one exotic locale to another, each more incredible than the last. From Washington to Turkey and Cyprus, to Syria, Libya, France, Greece, and the Netherlands, among many other ports, the Nelsons traversed the globe as Kay discovered her passion for food, developed her journalistic abilities, and honed her exceptional palate.
With humor and panache, Nelson tells of her exploits gleaning intelligence while gathering recipes and sampling the local cuisine. Kebabs in Turkey, kimchi in Korea, spargel in Germany, eels in Spain, and Rumbledethumps in Scotland were among the delightful gastronomic surprises she encountered. Dozens of unusual recipes with memorable histories pepper this irresistible memoir of fascinating events, extraordinary corners of the globe, and clandestine culinary pursuits.