Sweet, Sentimental Stories of Life Beyond Expectations

Review: Life Without a Recipe, by Diana Abu-Jaber (Amazon / Book Depository) If the world is water, the table is a raft; place your hands on it and hold on. In her second memoir, Jordanian-American author Diana Abu-Jaber explores the role that motherhood took in her life during her forties, and the wracking losses of two strong, beloved figures who often opposed each other; her … Continue reading Sweet, Sentimental Stories of Life Beyond Expectations

The Road Will Always Open Before You: Business and Life Lessons from Nobu’s Heart

Book review: Nobu, by Nobu Matsuhisa Along the way, I have faced some major stumbling blocks. But each time, I have managed to overcome them. Whenever I hit an obstacle, I search for a solution and carry on. Gradually, the hurdles that appear before me have become smaller. I find that if I plow ahead, no matter how impossible that may seem, and just do … Continue reading The Road Will Always Open Before You: Business and Life Lessons from Nobu’s Heart

The Healing Powers of Comfort Food

Book review: The Comfort Food Diaries, by Emily Nunn (Amazon / Book Depository) What’s comfort food to you? What do you make or seek out when you’re blue, or need soothing? Is it what your family made when you were small, or something far away from those memories? I thought a lot about my preferred comfort foods while reading this. I found them hard to … Continue reading The Healing Powers of Comfort Food

Culinary Biographies of Six Surprising Women

Book review: What She Ate, by Laura Shapiro (Amazon / Book Depository) Culinary historian and longtime Newsweek writer Laura Shapiro examines the lives of six very different women through the lens of their relationships to food, cooking, and culinary culture in this lively, readable group biography. “Tell me what you eat,” wrote the philosopher-gourmand Brillat-Savarin, “and I shall tell you what you are.’ It’s one of the most famous aphorisms in … Continue reading Culinary Biographies of Six Surprising Women

Kitchens of Manhattan, Kitchens of Minnesota

Book review: Give a Girl a Knife, by Amy Thielen Amy Thielen, host of the Food Network’s Heartland Table, is a girl of two worlds – the ultra-high-end, gourmet restaurant kitchens of New York City, one of the most competitive restaurant environments ever; and her folksy home of rural Minnesota, where she honed her cooking skills and “taste memories” drawing on her parents’ French-Canadian, German, and Eastern European immigration backgrounds and … Continue reading Kitchens of Manhattan, Kitchens of Minnesota

Food As Love in Any Language

Book review: The Language of Baklava, by Diana Abu-Jaber (Amazon / Book Depository) I’m falling in love with “foodoirs” lately. Those are food-themed memoirs, in case you’re late to the genre, like I was. This one moved me more than I unexpected. Novelist Diana Abu-Jaber was born in America to a Jordanian immigrant father and an American mother. Her family, including two younger sisters, lived in … Continue reading Food As Love in Any Language

Iran’s Culinary Culture and the Appeal of the Temporary Marriage

Book review: The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Food and Love in Iran (Amazon / Book Depository) Published in 2014 in the UK, Australian, and New Zealand markets, Jennifer Klinec’s Iranian food and romance memoir The Temporary Bride will be published on Valentine’s Day in the U.S. Klinec abandons a financially secure career in London to open a cooking school out of her apartment. In search of new recipes, … Continue reading Iran’s Culinary Culture and the Appeal of the Temporary Marriage

Touring and Celebrating America’s History of Immigration, Spice by Spice

Book Review: Eight Flavors, by Sarah Lohman (Amazon / Book Depository) For a crash course in American trade and immigration, read this book. Sarah Lohman is a gastronomist with a deep interest in the flavors and recipes that shaped American cuisine. According to her website, she “recreates historic recipes as a way to make a personal connection with the past.” She begins the book by showing … Continue reading Touring and Celebrating America’s History of Immigration, Spice by Spice

Let’s Buy a House in Aquitaine

  Book review: Beginning French, by les Américains (Amazon) This book is adorable. I started reading having given myself permission to bail if it got obnoxious, self-important, or eye-rollingly insufferable (like rich people soul-searching and eating things abroad while gawking at local customs). I’ve started without finishing countless memoirs about the expat experience for these reasons, so I set my expectations low. Unnecessarily, as it turns … Continue reading Let’s Buy a House in Aquitaine