Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity

( 5 )

Overview

As Surprising and rambunctiously liberating tale or cooking and eating, loving and being loved, Licking the Spoon is the story of how-accompanied by pivotal recipes, cook-books, culinary movements, and guides-one woman learned that you can not only recover but blossom after a comically horrible childhood if you just have the right recipes, a little luck, and an appetite for life's next meal.

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Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity

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Overview

As Surprising and rambunctiously liberating tale or cooking and eating, loving and being loved, Licking the Spoon is the story of how-accompanied by pivotal recipes, cook-books, culinary movements, and guides-one woman learned that you can not only recover but blossom after a comically horrible childhood if you just have the right recipes, a little luck, and an appetite for life's next meal.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Freelance writer Walsh's memoir starts off with great promise. Her early family history includes both Cuban and Greek roots and foodstuffs as well as Irish alcoholic dysfunctionality. Passion for food and cooking, a constant during the author's broken childhood and adolescence, persisted despite several geographical relocations. Her initial steps toward selfhood included foreign travel and college along with romance sex and drugs. By the time the narrator moves to New York, the narrative devolves into a chronicle of various relationships, harder drugs, various jobs and therapy. Walsh meets a man whom she later marries and who fathers her two children, and after a final, post 9/11 move to New Mexico, they divorce and the narrator remarries, this time a woman. Long-buried family secrets and eating disorders are part of overwrought memoir laced with vivid scenes and finished with. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
One woman cooks and cries her way through seasons of disenchantment and discovery. Fraught with family drama and dinner tables, New Mexico Magazine managing editor Walsh's (co-editor: Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women, 2010, etc.) story begins before conception and leaves few moments of her life thereafter unturned. "This story," she writes, "is not only the story of my lifelong love affair with food, but a story of identity: how I found out what (and who) I was truly made of historically; what my own truth was, one meal at a time." Walsh opens with a brief climb up the family tree, focusing especially on her family's matriarchs and their bruised relationships with men, prefiguring the author's own story. We see Walsh as a child, forced by her father to clear her plate of her own vomit; as a high school graduate, nearly choked to death by her stepfather; as a young adult, experimenting with drugs and alcohol and dating losers. The book's brightest points serve as testaments to personal reinvention and healing. The rapid hot-and-cold changes in her undeniably tumultuous life will keep pages turning, and Walsh wins points for resisting the frostinglike sweetness of many contemporary food memoirs, but the thick, bitter glaze of self-pity will not suit everyone's tastes. Passionate depictions of food and cooking, seemingly offered as a main course, fail to tempt, although several of the book's small moments of levity are catalyzed by culinary matters. When Walsh writes with pride and joy of the day she brought her shiny, new KitchenAid home and recalls tenderly the comfort found in a simple chicken fricassee, those moments shimmer like oil in a hot pan. A memoir of broken relationships, family recipes and hard-earned love that reads at times like a menu of personal grievances and their suggested food pairings.
Library Journal
03/01/2014
Food writer Walsh mixes memoir with recipes and blends in the history of her matriarchal family. She leaves no stone unturned in her descriptions of her life with abusive men and the birth of her daughter, all while yearning to meet the right woman.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580053914
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 625,747
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Candace Walsh has been a freelance writer for almost fifteen years. She has written for many publications, including Blender, New York Magazine, Mademoiselle, Newsday, Sunset, Travel & Leisure, Mothering, German Vogue, and Food & Wine. She is also the managing editor of the website My Healing Kitchen, a co-founder of Mamalicious magazine, and the editor of two Seal Press anthologies: Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women and Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On.

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Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Chapter 1 How Cuba Married Crete 1

Chapter 2 Mastering the Art 17

Chapter 3 Cradle of Flavor 33

Chapter 4 Water and Wine, Divinity and the Divine 43

Chapter 5 Of Frying Pans and Fire 53

Chapter 6 The Freshman Fifteen 73

Chapter 7 The Enchanted Broccoli Forest 83

Chapter 8 Cooking with Pam 95

Chapter 9 Almost Vegetarian 103

Chapter 10 The Way to a Man's Heart 117

Chapter 11 Jack and Coke 129

Chapter 12 Powdered Sugar and Spice 139

Chapter 13 Canned and Green 143

Chapter 14 The Cake Bible 153

Chapter 15 A Will and a Way 161

Chapter 16 Inside the Gingerbread House 167

Chapter 17 Wedding, Bella 177

Chapter 18 Lune de Miel 187

Chapter 19 Bun in the Oven 193

Chapter 20 Baby Food 203

Chapter 21 Wine and Chile 213

Chapter 22 Down the Hatch, Up the Stump 221

Chapter 23 Home Cooking 233

Chapter 24 Soul Food 243

Chapter 25 The New Basics 255

Chapter 26 First Course 261

Chapter 27 A Moveable Feast 269

Chapter 28 Raw 279

Chapter 29 Carryover Cooking 287

Recipes 295

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 24, 2012

    This is an amazing book because not only it makes you think, lau

    This is an amazing book because not only it makes you think, laugh, cry and get inspired, but it makes you WANT to go and COOK, and BAKE!! Immediately!!!I finally found a book with Greek recipes I was looking for! It made me feel closer and warmer to my family, to my daughter... It touched me deeply reminiscing about my own journey from Europe, my ancestors, my identitiy.Candace is so honest, so true.. it takes my breath away..Can't put the book down, with deepest admiration for the writer!THANK YOU,Candace!!!!P.S. Bought it as a present for my sister who enjoys it tremendously!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2012

    Once I started this book I found it very difficult to put it dow

    Once I started this book I found it very difficult to put it down.... And when I got to the last page I really didn't want it to end. This book turned out to be more than just a foodie's gastronomic journey through different styles of cooking. It is an exploration of emotions, life changes, family history and dynamics, mixed and stirred into the author's relationship and expression with and through food...
    Raw at times, bittersweet, beautiful, and inspiring.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    I have a confession to make. I totally judge books by their cove

    I have a confession to make. I totally judge books by their covers. I buy wine based on their labels. I am easily seduced by witty names and creative artistic renderings. I'm a label slut. And I can honestly say that had I come upon Candace Walsh's book by chance, I would have picked it up and bought it immediately. Licking the Spoon? I'm an only child. I ALWAYS got to lick the spoon. And so when my little local island bookstore called to let me know my order had arrived, I took one look at its cover and was immediately delighted and ready to lick that spoon...er...so to speak. From there, the cover's seduction fell to the wayside, unnecessary in my plunge forward as I feasted on Candace's willingness to put it all out there, to allow the vulnerability and rawness of her heart's dark corners to take center stage, and her ability to roll the whole gooey mess of her life's challenges in a dusting of sweetness. By the end, it was clear that I had just played witness to a great love story- the story of Candace's learning to love herself. At so many turning points and forks in the road, I anticipated the bitterness of rejection, the sachrinity of losing oneself in love, and yet none of it came. It was a hearty, well-balanced path of love, loss, growth, and, ultimately, empowerment... but mostly I appreciated it as a story of coming home. Thank you, Candace, for welcoming me into your home and feeding me with your journey.

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  • Posted January 20, 2013

    In her memoir, Licking the Spoon, Candace Walsh has offered us a

    In her memoir, Licking the Spoon, Candace Walsh has offered us an unflinching account of growing up and past a tumultuous childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. And it is quite a ride.

    Ms. Walsh's writing is conversational and intriguing without ever becoming confessional. Many people have said they couldn't put the book down, but there were times I had to stop and take a break because I found the train wreck moments in her life, particularly her childhood, overwhelming, even as she demonstrated restraint from presenting them as intentionally sensational or shocking. How refreshing it is to see someone write without overtly striving for emotional manipulation, stealing our hearts without resorting to conventional sentimentality.

    What a rare find, a writer so the gifted that she can allow us to follow her in total specificity, detailing her ownership of every event and its repercussions, never wavering to spare or generalize, and in so doing, creating an experience at once personal and universal. What Ms. Walsh offers in her memoir is an opportunity to watch an intelligent and sensitive child grow past the deficiencies of her origins and choose to ultimately become a luminous woman, mother, wife, journalist, magazine editor, and author, and to live a life that makes her happy without compromise, outside validation, or apologies. What an inspiration. What a joy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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