You’ve doubtless heard the expression “Food is love” — but it’s rarely so literally expressed as in Kim Sun‚e’s memoir. Abandoned by her mother in a Korean marketplace at age three, Sun‚e was adopted, along with another Korean baby girl, by an American couple and raised in New Orleans. She came closest to finding a sense of belonging when she worked in the kitchen alongside her adopted grandfather, Poppy. “Suzy and I are the only Oriental girls, as we are called, in our school,” she writes, “so the comfort of Poppy’s kitchen after school every day, the promise of his home-cooked meals, are a refuge?solid food to remind us that we exist, that we live in a new world where we have not been forgotten.” Readers track Sun‚e’s journey through her misfit childhood, her exotic European travels, her absorption into the world of a rich, attentive, yet controlling lover — their relationship is so food-focused that what may be the most erotic passage is about eating “fresh fat figs dripping with their own milk” — and, ultimately, her struggle to find her own voice, purpose, and place. Along the way, Sun‚e drops favorite recipes — from Poppy’s Crawfish Bisque to La Daube Proven‡ale to Kimchi Soup — like breadcrumbs along her path, leading the reader to the sumptuous heart of her tale. –
About the Writer
Amy Reiter, a former editor and senior writer for Salon, has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Glamour, Marie Claire, Wine Spectator, and American Journalism Review, among other publications.