Customer Reviews for

Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom

Average Rating 2.5
( 65 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Loved this book

Dayna Macy is ravenous, and has been for most of her life. Like many of us, she'd like to understand why, but unlike most of us, she actually goes on a spiritual and literal journey in search of an answer. In her book, "Ravenous - A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession...
Dayna Macy is ravenous, and has been for most of her life. Like many of us, she'd like to understand why, but unlike most of us, she actually goes on a spiritual and literal journey in search of an answer. In her book, "Ravenous - A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom," Macy takes the reader on a culinary odyssey, visiting the farmers and artisans who are responsible for bringing the tastiest morsels to our tables. But more importantly, Macy honestly and poignantly takes us along on her personal quest to understand her complicated relationship with food and its psychological and spiritual meaning in her life, and by extension, in ours.

One of the most striking and engaging aspects of Dayna Macy's writing is how unflinchingly personal it is. Her story includes vignettes from her past. Her difficult relationship with her father and its unfolding, from her childhood through his illness and death, is interwoven with memories of particular foods, traditions, and recipes. She describes time she spent with a lover in Europe, shortly after her father's death when she was still sorting out her grief and conflicted feelings. Macy openly confesses her attraction toward a meditation teacher and chef she visited during her journey in writing this book, even though she is happily married to writer Scott Rosenberg. Her visit to a humane cattle ranch and her witnessing of the slaughter leaves her deeply affected; she describes retching at the sights and smells, yet does not make a decision for vegetarianism. And, over and over again, she opens up about her inability to reconcile with the lack of control she has over food in her life. There's a lot of heavy, thought provoking material here, punctuated at the end of each chapter with wonderful, healthful recipes meant to nourish the spirit as well as the body.

This book however, is not all unfathomable depth or darkness. There are many light and even funny moments. Macy has a gift for bringing her readers in to her wonderful family with its Jewish traditions and making us feel at home there. There are warm scenes of her cooking for and with her husband and sons, and of a joyful Passover seder with her extended family. Her matzo ball soup recipe appears on page 107, the recipe that finally satisfied her mother's palate. Throughout the book, Dayna Macy urges readers to experience food with joy, and she also demonstrates her commitment to sustainable agriculture and food production practices. The book is never preachy, yet she does question the impact of big corporate interests on not only the quality of our food, but on how we view it and relate to it in our culture.

"Ravenous" is an extremely readable and touching book, and one that certainly many readers will relate to. Its short chapters are each a story in themselves, each taking us to a different farm or artisan's shop, or to a new aspect of the meaning of food. Each chapter ends with a delicious recipe that is not overly challenging to prepare. The only negative here is that some of the foods and experiences which Macy describes are probably not accessible to the average American. Macy and her family live in the Berkeley area of California and have the access to and means to purchase some very high end artisanal foods. Additionally, Macy is able to consult with yoga instructors, chefs, and other culinary professionals that most of us do not have access to.

posted by ParrisHouse on March 14, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Supposed to be free...

I sure wish this was a free book like the e-mail that I received from B&N said it was.

posted by 6105039 on February 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    Supposed to be free...

    I sure wish this was a free book like the e-mail that I received from B&N said it was.

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    Contact customer service about free

    This is not the first time an email has come and said a nookbook was free. The last time it happened to me, I contacted customer service. By the time they got back to me, they told me the offer (I had cut and pasted the email) had expired, that free was only good for a limited time. I wrote back that I had clicked on the link the day I got the email and for a solid week afterwards and it was never free. They never responded again. This time the email came Saturday morning and two hours after it came I clicked on the link and it wasn't free. I want someone else to complain so maybe they will get this fixed! It is irritating.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    Hated it!

    Nothing good about this book. Especially hated the chapter on slaughter.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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