ISBN: 0-9817843-8-0
The first title was The Read My Lips Cookbook: A Culinary Journey of Memorable Meals. With an
added chapter it became The Joy of Life Cookbook, which finally became Recipes for Joy in Life.



xxx Thomas Fortenberry - Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI) - August 2003
"A very highly recommended addition to any kitchen cookbook collection."

Robert Swiatek has managed to cook up a memorable collection of anecdotes and recipes. The Read My Lips Cookbook is personable, humorous, and easy-to-use. This is not your average cookbook, however. The book is many things at once: cookbook, travelogue, and biography. Swiatek provides 56 separate main menus, complete with main course and desert recipes, alongside party menus and other cooking trivia, while recounting his travels around the country over the years bumbling through the haves and have-nots of life. His personal stories are often very funny, intriguing, sometimes aww, but always memorable and really liven up what could have been yet another mind-numbing collection of recipes without a point. His subtitle (which is far better than his title, to be honest) hits the nail on the head: A Culinary Journey of Memorable Meals. The memorable part is two-fold. Yes, the recipes are for great food which will be memorable to us once cooked and eaten; but the real joy is reading his stories about how, where, and when he discovered these dishes. There are real gems inside this book.

The Read My Lips Cookbook places fast, inexpensive, yet healthy meals at your fingertips. But you may find you linger over the tales or the memories they invoke in you. I am from the South and found myself smiling at Swiatek's recounting of his first trips into the South. A native of New York, he traveled to Florida. Growing up in Mississippi near New Orleans, I can only imagine what it must be like to experience Southern cooking for the first time. When I lived in Baltimore the tastes were completely different, much more bland in every way (excluding their very wonderful Old Bay seasoning on crabs), even though Baltimore is sometimes still considered a "Southern" city. So I can only imagine how the South must shock a non-native with its rich foods and heavy spices. Swiatek is also very honest. He says what he likes and dislikes, what works and what doesn't. In one part he recounts how he made a beef curry that he really didn't like, even though his guests did, and so has never made one since. He likes his chicken curry, but not the beef. That takes guts to say in a cookbook. But the honesty is much appreciated and makes you realize he believes in his meals. These aren't page fillers or standardized junk that he doesn't care about. It is all personal.

If I have a complaint about the book it is that it isn't beefy enough (couldn't pass up the curry pun). Yes, I realize it is 200 pages and shouldn't become a massive tome. But the little tastes of tales I read really were enjoyable and mere snacks. They make me want much more and I wish he would have elaborated on a lot of the stories. But that might overbalance the book away from cookbook too heavily into travelogue and biography, so the balance is probably best as is. Besides, like any good cook knows, you give them a taste and not a feast to keep them coming back for more.



xx Kevin Tipple - Blue Iris Journal (Planoe, TX) - 11/10/03
"Good and realistic and far different from the normal cookbook."

As a stay at home Dad and all that entails, I am also the chief cook and bottle washer. One of the things I try to do is give the family some variety, as much
as my skills will allow as well as taking into account everyone's particular preferences. Most cookbooks have recipes that are either way beyond my
culinary skills or contain food that no one in this family will eat. This book was a pleasant change from the norm and one that I could actually use.


With a lot of humor in mind, this cookbook is designed to help the reader create good food that everyone will eat with a minimum of preparation
time or cost. The author weaves in numerous anecdotes about his life and cooking experiences since he left home more than thirty years ago.
Often amusing, these stories do not detract at all from the most important part of any cookbook-the recipes.


There are fifty-six suggested meals that run the gamut from the very simple (how to pan fry a steak) to something more complicated like Bulghur Pilaf.
While I am not going to detail each one, each menu is of real food with real portions as opposed to something incredibly complicated as shown on
the Food Network that can be finished in two bites. Throughout the menus, variety, healthy additions, and other general tips are stressed.


Cooking should be fun and the author heartily embraces the concept while imparting a lot of experience. This is a very good and
realistic cookbook and is far different from the normal cookbook. It is well worth owning and would be perfect as a gift for the
young adult moving away from home or for the chief cook and bottle washer in your home.