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From the Inside Flap
It was 1948 and fresh out of college, the ambitious and gifted Kay Shaw wanted to travel. More specifically, she wanted
to work for the government on overseas assignments and accomplish something extraordinary. The United States Central
Intelligence Agency had only just been established, the Cold War was intensifying, and the CIA was recruiting.
After jumping through a series of high-security hoops, Kay signed on as an intelligence officer with the clandestine
agency and before long was inducted into the secret world of the CIA. During this period of initiation, two
life-changing events unfolded: she discovered the pleasure of cooking and dining, and she fell in love. In 1950, Kay
married, and by 1951, she and her husband were stationed in Istanbul, Turkey, for their first of many overseas
Greece, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, France, Libya, and Germany represent only a handful of the countries on the spy couple's
itinerary. Yet the life of a CIA operative requires secrecy at all times, leaving little room for creating friendships
or sharing interesting conversation. However, Kay quickly realized that food made for appealing and harmless
conversational fodder and began to refine her interest in the culinary arts as a cover for her role in the intelligence
world-a cover that would lead to her profession as a cookbook writer.
A combination of fascinating personal memories, engaging travel narratives, and irresistible food writing, Kay shares
her story about a life of traveling the globe, gathering recipes, and amassing confidential intelligence. With humor,
sparkle, and a lot of good taste, Kay opens up about her life with the CIA and how she found her voice as a writer,
fulfilled her place as a mother, and satisfied her yen for travel.
From the Back Cover
"Kay Nelson's delightful memoir provides a unique insight into the real life of a CIA intelligence officer. Allen Dulles
said that OSS founder William Donovan 'knew the world, having traveled widely and understood people . . . in short, he
had the qualities to be desired in an intelligence officer.' So, too, does Kay Nelson. Perhaps the most important
ability of any intelligence officer is to earn the trust of foreigners willing to take great risks on behalf of the
United States. 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 appï¿½tit!'"
--Charles Pinck, president, Office of Strategic Services Society
"In all the years I have known Kay, I had never realized she was former CIA, and not the culinary version. Clearly, she
knows how to keep a secret! But no longer. This caring memoir gives us a clear picture of how far American cuisine has
come since the 1950s as a result of the far flung travels and compelling stories by food writers such as Kay. It does so
with a dash of Cold War insight, too. Her many culinary articles in American periodicals on Korean kimchi, Turkish
Delights, and other foods foreign to the American palate, at the time, gave Kay her cover during her twenty years
obtaining intelligence for the Agency. And, she took her avocation seriously."
--Katherine Newell Smith, past president, Les Dames d'Escoffier International; president, Les Dames
d'Escoffier-Washington, D.C. Chapter; and president, KNS Promotion Inc.
"From mysterious fizzy spirits (liquid and human) to live food selected from trapdoors under restaurant tables to
sacrificial lambs (at the office and in the market square outside her window), 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 digestif, 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 (AFIO)
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