Monday, November 2, 2009

Comfort Read

For one of the two book clubs I've joined, I read Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table. In keeping with the reading public's recent love affair with all things cooking (thank you, Julie Powell and Julia Child), this memoir is about how Reichl's life was shaped by food.

One part cookbook, one part travel guide, one part family drama, the book is entertaining on many fronts. Reichl's search for connection and community resonates with this reader, having found myself moving at a pretty steady clip for the past few years.

Reichl's love affair with food began not with an adoration over the one perfect dish, but from the concern for the well-being of anyone who came in contact with her mother's cooking. Apt to throw all things into the stew pot at once for dinner (including meat past it's safe-to-eat-by date), Reichl's mother is the foil against which Reichl's journey is set. Just as some children of Republicans rebel by becoming liberal Democrats, or children of sheltering teetotalers rebel by sneaking out of the house and binge drinking, Reichl rebelled against her mother's disastrous kitchen creations by developing a love affair with good food, food created with love and with history, not just tossed together from half-rotten ingredients as a backdrop for her manic-depression.

Good book. Entertaining, super fast read. I'm not sure it's one that will stick with me forever, but I'm finding more and more that memoir fascinates me; how someone picks the theme of their life and the moments that illustrate those themes is thrilling to me.

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