May 27 2012

‘The Chef & I’ … mostly good reviews and a few ‘meh’ …

Posted by     39 Comments    Posted under: The Snug


I am totally overwhelmed at the response to both the book and our new column with The Sunday Times.

Over the past two weeks I have been inundated with the nicest emails and messages on FB from people all over the world.

Some of the messages are from people that have bought and read the book, and some are from people who are waiting for their book to arrive, and some are from people that have already started cooking the recipes from the book.

Down below I have included a few screen shots of messages I have received.

I think testimonials speak for themselves. You can see from reading the ones below that ‘The Chef & I‘ is worth your hard earned shekels.Our book makes for a nice summer read and after you have finished the narrative part you can move on to the nourishing part and start cooking up some of the recipes.

The book launch, fast approaching on Thursday, (May 31st 2012. 6:00pm at Cases Wine Warehouse) will keep us busy for the upcoming week and after it has come to pass I will be back to blogging. The Chef and I have a list as long as your arm of food prep ahead of us, starting today and finishing on Thursday around 5:00pm leaving us just enough time for a quick shower and change before heading in to Cases to meet the Mayor of the city of Galway for a few photos.

If you are coming out to support us on Thursday – do let us know…..even though we have been in the restaurant business for years and years and years ….  it is always nice to know how many people to expect!

First up – an email from a lovely lady named Caroline …


This made me cry …


An old friend from my high school days putting it to the test!


Someone already trying out the recipes and posting it on their FB page!



Then a newer friend all the way from Kentucky showing of his new purchase!


An email from a special friend and former customer of ours in Cincinnati ….

This one also made me cry …

Another loyal Facebook fan putting the recipes to the test!



You must try this recipe …..


And this one …. just because of how it made me feel …


This makes me happy …


And this one is pretty nice too ….

Words cannot express the pride I feel …


Now – before you go all thinking it is rosy in the garden … there have been a few ‘meh’ comments too. Keep in mind I am terribly thick-skinned and well able to handle the criticisms ….. and for my own reasons I am not going to highlight ‘the who and why’ these comments have come from but feel it is necessary to share them so you do not think I am delusional. I know this book is not for everyone.

It’s an easy read‘  . . . .

Yes. It is. I am a busy Mum and have very little time to plough through a heavy read. I was writing it for ‘myself’ first.

It sounds like it was written on a creative writing course‘ …

Bingo. It was written on a creative writing course. I still am not sure what this one means exactly – I think it means that maybe I did not really work hard enough at making it harder to read? I should have tried harder to incorporate bigger words and longer sentences perhaps?

Truth is, I worked very hard at keeping it ‘an easy read’ so that it would not bog the reader down.

I still have my traing wheels on guys. This is just my first book. I expect by the time I get to the fourth book – I will have gotten the hang of it and be only fabulous at the book writing.

Knowing someone has read it and enjoyed it makes my day …


Those are, to date, the ‘worst’ things I have heard about the book and to be honest neither of those comments, coming from two very important people in my life, made me cry. Most of all the other comments did.

Going to college to learn how to write is a tough game. You are judged by your peers in college, you are graded by your teachers and your teachers are judged by their peers based on what you produce.

The lesson that I have just learned, now that the book is out in the world, is that none of that matters. All that matters is that last September 5th 2011 I set out to write and publish a book and I did it. From start to finish. And now the people who really matter, YOU – the readers that have been ‘liking’ all my photos and ‘loving and commenting’ on all my stories over the last few years, are all loving our book..

Thank you, thank you, thank you ……..

This author has just emerged xx




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39 Comments + Add Comment

  • It is an easy read, and that’s why I am enjoying it so much. When you can almost “hear” the author telling the story, that to me is a good book. John & I are very much looking forward to being at your launch, xx

    • Aw – thanks Colette. We are really looking forward to seeing you and John this weekend too.
      And thanks for ‘hearing’ my voice :0)

  • Jeez, now the wait for my copy is even harder!!! And tomorrow’s a holiday, so no mail delivery. Sigh. Just to put my 2 cents in as someone who does life story work and has done lots of interviews and who has also played the academic game, I would say readable is good 🙂 I was in anthropology and women’s studies, not creative writing, so it was different, but part of why I left was so that I could reach people beyond the ivory tower and share ideas that would make people’s lives better. You can’t do that if you write in such a way that causes the reader to sink into a coma. Part of writing well is communicating well as far as I am concerned and if I go by what I have read on your blog, Facebook, etc, I would say that you have that skill already. I expect the book has been quite well-written, too. I think we have a lot to learn from one another through the sharing of our life stories–I have seen it over and over when I do interviews or facilitate workshops–we learn about others, about ourselves, and we gain a greater sense of possibility for what our lives can be when we listen to–or read–the stories of others, so the point is to share those stories clearly, not to play silly word games! Enjoy your Sunday, Wise People!

    • Hi Shari (and Bill),
      Thanks so much for this lovely comment and compliment.
      I think I have always had fairly good communication skills and
      do think that is the secret to having a successful marriage or business.
      Facebook and Twitter have taught me a LOT about the right and wrong way to communicate
      and I am loving that lesson in itself.
      Wishing for a faster postal service for you xx

  • We’ll be there on Thursday. Am I’m so looking forward to getting the book then! Have had nothing to read for weeks… and I’m in need of a good read!

    See you then.

    • Margaret,
      I would be lying if I did not say I was DYING to see you.
      We will surely have a wonderful evening and I just cannot wait.
      I am hopeful that once you get your book you will truly enjoy it xx

  • Hey, Mona! Glad you’re not letting those criticisms get to you. I know that when I was writing my thesis, we would have peer review sessions and people would always tell me I didn’t have a deep enough argument or that my thesis topic wasn’t ground breaking enough (not those words, smarter words, more ~*intellectual*~ words). But, really, who am I writing this undergraduate thesis for (a thesis NO ONE will read)? I’m writing it for myself, to discover something cool I can be excited about, and for people like my family, who find academic journal articles dense and inaccessible. So, if my topic and thesis are too shallow and lame, I don’t actually mind. A good attitude to have! 🙂

    (except I actually do mind… I’m really hoping I receive a higher honors degree than those people… I’m not the best sport ha ha)

    • Meh …. I have written out a whole bunch of ‘possible horrible reviews’
      that I might get over the next few weeks – as all the review copies are just gone out this week.
      But the thing is – the people that have actually bought the book are loving it.
      This makes me very very happy xx
      Hope all is well in Ohio. ’tis warm and sunny here :0)
      in a Bulmers kinda way!

  • Yes Mona, you did it. From start to finish, and what a brilliant job you did. By the way, you have taught me a few cooking lessons through your blog i.e. cooking peeper’s under a heavy skillet to burn of the skin on a flat-top electric stove. Thank you for that one…I do it all the time. Also I put cream cheese in my fried corn with red bell peppers…Thanks again. Cooked a recipe from your book that I liked from your blog: Bean and Bacon soup over penni pasta. Yumm…yumm. I have only read a few pages (on page 33) but I read up to three books at a time, but I always finish them. Good luck at your book launch Mrs. Wise, and smile, you have achieved what you set out to do.

    • That trick with the peppers is my favorite trick too – and the corn and bell peppers with cream cheese is very delicious x
      Thanks for all this Robert – you have been by my side through this journey and I cant wait to meet you in Kentucky
      when we come to visit x

  • If those were journos who said that about your book then I wouldn’t worry too much Mona. At best, most journos are frustrated writers at heart and criticize more severely when they think ‘I could’ve written that’ when, in reality, they never could or would’ve done it by now. Getting down to brass tacks though they are most probably just jealous of your achievement, your undeniable creativity, and your unwavering determination.

    I also have to say that if that’s the worst bit of criticism you’ve had then you are doing splendid so far so sit back, bask in your success, and let all the negativity pass over your head. Of course there will always be people who will not rate your work and slate it no matter how good it is. Even the best writers have to cope with that, It’s all part of the process and part and parcel of putting your neck on the chopping block (no pun intended!). Personally, I look forward to Thursday and finally reading it for myself. Hope you’re enjoying the great weather here in Galway and good luck with all your preparations lady!

    • Wow – Tim. That is a little ‘novella’ of an answer ….
      Thank you for this. I am honestly very proud of my little book.
      I know I have A LOT of learning to do … I do plan on getting better with age – kinda like the wine ya know!
      And I am excited about seeing everyone on Thursday too!

  • I would have put ‘easy read’ as a compliment – no one needs jargon to enjoy a book 😉

    Can’t wait till the launch and get my hands on my own copy. About to draw the winner shortly btw – will announce it in the morning xx

    Wow, busy week ahead and it is going to be amazing xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Crazy busy here Lorna!! And you are totally right of course – I do think ‘easy read’ is a compliment.
      There is nothing wrong with it at all . . . I am actually loving all the feedback and know I will learn so much from it all.
      Cant wait to see you and your brood on Thursday too!

  • We can’t please everyone, can we? Our expectations build and they are either met or dashed to the ground or even somewhere, something in between. I for one have heard bits and bobs of the story in your own voice and it moved me. And you do tell the story so beautifully and so emotionally – from the heart – and that is what makes the story so easy (!!!) for each of us to understand and relate to. Keep the “meh” comments for thought…. as any writer should. xoxo

    • Jamie,
      You know all too well that I will take all the criticisms on board and learn from it,
      even if it is doodled on a post-it-note.
      I think everyone thinks that writing the book is the hard part but that is so personal and privat and ‘alone’ …I think the real test to making it as a writer is being able to take the criticisms as they come
      and just do better next time around…..
      Thanks for the ‘spam’ alert…I fished it right out of there!

  • Those ‘criticisms’ made me smile, because really and truly neither of them are proper criticisms. I don’t see how making a book easy to read can be a bad thing. And as for being written during a Creative Writing course – hey, someone took the time to read your biography ;)!

    Good luck with the review copies and with the launch! And keep remembering that everyone (including me) who bought the book LOVES it. And what is the customer only always right? 🙂

    P.S. You may have been doing a bit of time travelling if you set out to write your book in September 2012. Can I have a go of your machine? 😛 xxx

    • HA ha ha!! I am the queen of time travel and have just fixed my ‘error’ … many thanks for spotting it Becks :0)
      You are right of course dear – the customer is always right!
      I do wish you were going to be here for the launch instead of sunning yourself is Spain – rough job, someones gotta do it right?
      Tune in to Twitter on Thursday evening to follow the launch – there will be some photos methinks x

  • I love your honesty in sharing the good and meh reviews..though to be honest, the meh is only slightly meh and I’d be delighted if this was the worst any book of mine received 😉 I am in awe of all you have accomplished Mona and I am really, really enjoying your Sunday Times column. Good luck with the launch this Thursday – it will be a lovely occasion x

    • Thanks Marie..I am sure when the rest of the reviews come in I will share them all…
      Good and bad. No sense in sticking my head in the sand at this stage is there?
      I am loving the Sunday Times column myself xx zyhanks for buying it and reading it!
      Looking forward to see you guys on Thursday!

  • Mona,

    The honesty in your writing has always been the reason I stopped here, that and of course the recipes and those cute kids. You are a born storyteller and who doesn’t like a good story. The meh..ones are not so bad really, pay no notice. I wish you the best of luck on Thursday night, enjoy every minute and if I were in Galway I’m sure I would be there with you. I have had so much going on lately with the move that I have not yet ordered a copy. Can you remind me of how I go about this ? I am dying to read all about it !

    • Thank you Brenda xx
      I wish you were here too for tomorrow! But next time you are home we will make up for it x
      I am very happy with the review on the book so far and love that people are already trying out all the recipes ;0) stay tuned on Twitter!

  • Bravo, Móna! So many people have a book in them, or so they say, but very few have your drive to write it out and get it published. It’s an absolutely splendid achievement, a brave and personal exposure of an energetic and determined self. Sit back now and take pleasure in your success.

    • Thanks Mise,
      It is hard enough to actually get the book ‘out’ there. I was fierce tempted to
      hang on tight and keep it in the drawer …. But am glad to have it out in the world.
      Hope to see you tomorrow x

  • Móna,

    ever since you told us you’ll write a book and share it with us I knew I wanted to read it. I was sure it would be wonderful as I was so lucky to get to meet you in person last year and learned about your blog (I really really love to read your blog). Your writing is wonderful, heartfelt and honest. That’s what I appreciate most.
    Your book is an easy read but that I what I like about it too, because I can grab it after a “meh” day at work and read through a few sentences and feel how my mood improves, how your words put a smile on my face. I makes me giggle, snort and sometimes it even puts a tear into my eyes but i do not mind at all.

    Oh and let me add that the guys at Kennys were so great and helpful and made sure I got my copy in no time 🙂 I think I need to make sure that we visit this shop on our next trip to Ireland.

    You worked so hard to achieve your goal, now enjoy that people like it and have fun ;o) – meh comments will come and go but I am sore there will always be more yay comments too!


    • Thank you Astrid!
      You are so right…there will always be a few ‘meh’ comments and from all
      of them I will learn!
      Hope all is well with you and your family ;0)

  • Mona and Ron – Sharing in spirit your family’s special day today! Can’t wait to receive the book. I am very happy for your success.

    Ted, Marlene, and Natalie

    • Thanks so very much Marlene. We are very happy and excited about it too.
      I hope you enjoy the stories and recipes xx

  • Hi Mona, hope you have a hugely successful launch and sell out with a waiting list! The books looks gorgeous. It’s on my list to buy soon.

    • Thank you so much Marian,
      The eBook will be available sometime next week too!

  • As expected; mostly positive comment for your wonderful book Mona. The funny thing for me is that when I’m reading the book I can actually hear you talking. The book sometimes even gets an Irish accent in my head. It’s all you and if people think that it sounds as if it is written on a creative writing course, well, whatever is wrong with that anyway?
    I’m loving it and wish I had a little more time to read it at the moment as I want to know what happens next! I read a bit every day before going to sleep so moving along nicely.
    And o, can’t wait to start cooking from it too. In fact; I might make something this weekend! And the launch is today!! I’m sure it’s gonna be a blast and I wish I could have been there too!

    • Thank you so much Simone!
      The launch was great. We had a lot of friends that came to stay with us and
      we had a very late night but all good xx
      One of my favourite quotes from the night was someone said that they
      Just let me ‘read the story’ to them because they heard my voice so well xx
      Hope you are already enjoying the weekend xxx

  • That’s it – I’m ordering today and it will be waiting for me when I get back from London. I can’t wait to read it! Lisa

    • Thank you very much Lisa x
      I am sure you will enjoy it. It has so much of our American life represented that I know you will connect with it
      heart and soul . . . and there are a few nice recipes too x

  • The criticisms are hardly even that; some of us might find an ‘easy read’ as one of the huge benefits! The nature of some folks in this world is they HAVE to find fault so it will come and you are ‘wise’ to know where to place those; you simply can’t please everyone, every time. Seems the cacophony of praise is loud enough to drown the noise of critics. You have every right to be proud of what you have done (and self publishing itself is no easy feat); know that your friends are equally proud of you.

    • Hey Barb,

      I am actually very proud of the book and the whole school year. I enjoyed the learning process very much
      and it seems like the fun has just begun! And thank you for this lovely comment. xx

  • […] … and are not quite sure if you want to splash out and purchase the hardback then why not have a read of the reviews we have received from people who have bought the book with their hard earned cash. If you are still unconvinced then […]

  • […] You will be a reading machine! Now – aren’t you all out of excuses? Oh yeah … here is what our readers are saying about the book. In my opinion, their reviews matter the most because they have already shelled out their hard […]

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
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Ron Wise About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.

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