Spoon Fed

Spoon Fed

How Eight Cooks Saved My Life

Book - 2010
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From the prominent New York Times food writer, a memoir recounting the tough life lessons she learned from a generation of female cooks-including Marion Cunningham, Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Rachael Ray, and Marcella Hazan.

Somewhere between the lessons her mother taught her as a child and the ones she is now trying to teach her own daughter, Kim Severson stumbled. She lost sight of what mattered, of who she was and who she wanted to be, and of how she wanted to live her life. It took a series of women cooks to reteach her the life lessons she forgot-and some she had never learned in the first place. Some as small as a spoonful, and others so big they saved her life, the best lessons she found were delivered in the kitchen.

Told in Severson's frank, often funny, always perceptive style, Spoon Fed weaves together the stories of eight important cooks with the lessons they taught her-lessons that seemed to come right when she needed them most. We follow Kim's journey from an awkward adolescent to an adult who channeled her passions into failing relationships, alcohol, and professional ambition, almost losing herself in the process. Finally as Severson finds sobriety and starts a family of her own, we see her mature into a strong, successful woman, as we learn alongside her.

An emotionally rich, multilayered memoir and an inspirational, illuminating series of profiles of the most influential women in the world of food, Spoon Fed is Severson's story and the story of the women who came before her-and ultimately, a testament to the wisdom that can be found in the kitchen.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2010.
ISBN: 9781594487576
Characteristics: 242 p. ;,22 cm.


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Feb 23, 2019

This was the perfect book for getting outside my own head, my own life, my own little worries, and living through a life that sounds kind of fun, different, odd, lucky, positive, driven, busy-busy-busy, and ultimately enviable. The voice is most important to me in a memoir and the voice of this author is so warm and personal that she's like your best friend, telling you the most interesting things about her life, stringing them together to make you feel like life has a point and that if you just keep going, you will get there.

She writes with such a positive attitude that even her drinking and overspending seem surmountable, as they eventually are. In fact, not going into dramatic details about her drinking and overspending is what I really enjoyed about this book. Well, that and all the cooks who saved her life. It felt like I was meeting these cooks, like I was learning lessons in life through their eyes and perspective, and like I was sailing through a cloud of good fortune made from a ship of can-do attitude and taking advantage of every opportunity, along with some good midwestern (and southern, and western, and northern, and ultimately eastern) grit.

After finishing this book, in about a day and half because I just wanted to be her for a while, I thought maybe the end was kind of a letdown. All the stories lead to resolution with mom and dad, and they resolve in a gentle, sweet, comforting way, yet not with Marcella Hazan. At first I was kind of annoyed. Upon reflection, I think I like this plot line better as you learn a lot from people who are not warm and welcoming - sometimes you learn more, actually. And by reading someone else's experience, you don't have to endure the nasty bits.

What a warm, tender, just plain old good writer to make me feel this good about my own life, once I returned to my own head. Yes, you can! Life is okay. You get good days even when you screw up and have too many bad days. And at the end, well is there ever an end? When you're dead, you're dead so you don't care. Before that, when you reflect, you learn how you were shaped by all your experiences, all the people in your life, and all the lessons along the way. If you are open to them, that is.

Kirbs Oct 18, 2011

This book was a "cold pull" off the shelf - and so grateful I did. Prize-winning food critic Kim Severson shares personal stories of how the kitchen and eight [rather famous] cooks shaped/saved her life. "The only ruler that matters is the one I pull out at the end of the day. Did I do my best? Did I tell the truth? Was I helpful to my fellows?

And, did I make something good to eat?"

Jan 01, 2011

I appreciated the writer's honesty, and it truly gave me a picture of how positive change can happen. And, how important good food is...

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