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Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness
     

Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness

5.0 3
by Sasha Martin
 

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Witty, warm, and poignant, food blogger Sasha Martin's memoir about cooking her way to happiness and self-acceptance is a culinary journey like no other.
 
Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook—and eat—a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her

Overview

Witty, warm, and poignant, food blogger Sasha Martin's memoir about cooking her way to happiness and self-acceptance is a culinary journey like no other.
 
Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook—and eat—a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. From the tiny, makeshift kitchen of her eccentric, creative mother, to a string of foster homes, to the house from which she launched her own cooking adventure, Martin's heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal—and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

"This beautifully written book is both poignant and uplifting. Not to mention delicious. It's an amazing family tale that reminds me of The Glass Castle, but with more food. And not just any food: We're talking cinnamon raisin pizza." —A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

"Life From Scratch is an unconventional love story. This beautiful book begins with the quest of cooking a meal from every country—a noble feat of it's own!—but then turns it into something far beyond a kitchen adventure. Be prepared to be changed as you experience Sasha's journey for yourself." —Chris Guillebeau, author of The Happiness Pursuit

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/05/2015
Martin, a food writer and blogger, spent 195 weeks cooking meals from every country of the world. But the most memorable moments in this spirited narrative take place in the many weeks before those 195, and they have surprisingly little to do with food. The department of social services hovered around Martin’s childhood: her father was absent, her home was so cramped that the kitchen doubled as the living room, and her mother, as people said, was “a troublemaker.” When Martin was a pre-teen, her mother sent her and her brother Michael to live with family friends. Soon thereafter, Michael killed himself. The author made her way to the Culinary Institute of America, as she recounts without self-pity, and then to the cooking project that launched this memoir. Food had long provided the few happy moments in Martin’s life. She recalls her mother’s determination to save their scarce money to buy ingredients for a special cake, and how Martin asked her to “start cooking the world all over again” when they ate their last meal of the 195-week trip, from Zimbabwe. These moments may not be enough to satiate the appetite of foodie readers who are looking for lush bite-by-bite writing, but there is plenty here to engross memoir lovers. Agent Lisa DiMona, Writers House. (Mar.)
Library Journal
★ 03/15/2015
Blogger Martin (globaltableadventure.com) delivers a welcome entry into the canon of foodie memoirs that begins with her journey in the Jamaica Plain of Boston where she lived with her mother and brother. Despite the family's poverty, Martin's mother nurtured her children with cooking adventures, sewing projects, and inventive home decorating. Her unconventional parenting methods attracted the attention of neighbors, and the kids were shuttled in and out of foster care until her mother finally surrendered her rights to a family friend. Although Martin was estranged from her mother and not allowed to help cook in her new home, she still marked time and place through food as the family moved from Rhode Island to Atlanta and Paris and finally to Luxemburg. Food and cooking carried her into adulthood and ultimately anchored her in Tulsa, where she challenged herself to prepare a meal from every country over the course of four years. Martin seamlessly weaves recipes into her text in a way that enhances the story. Her descriptions of meals are lavish with imagery and elegantly written, leaving the reader hungry and inspired. VERDICT This beautifully penned book will appeal to readers who love a solid memoir and to those who enjoy strong writing about food.—Ann Wilberton, Pace Univ., New York
Kirkus Reviews
2014-12-06
An award-winning blogger and MFK Fisher scholar's account of how food not only came to define a difficult childhood, but also became the way she was able to heal her past. Martin spent her early years living in poverty with her brother, Michael, and a mother who could transform browning bananas, Jell-O and even moldy bread into pure magic. But her mother's unconventional ways—which included keeping Martin and Michael out of kindergarten—brought her to the attention of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services. Soon, Martin and her brother found themselves shunted between foster homes. Their mother fought for their return; but eventually, she sent her children to live with two friends, Patricia and Pierre, who could give them the opportunities she could not. Pierre kept the family living comfortably though peripatetically, while Patricia never let Martin cook because the kitchen "was no place for a child." Generosity, however, was not enough. Michael committed suicide just before the family moved to Paris, while the author sought solace in alcohol and edgy friends. At the same time, she also began to develop a passion for the one thing that had connected her to her mother: food. That love eventually inspired her to attend cooking school and follow a path that led her away from the chaos of the East Coast to the "honest, sunburned land" of Oklahoma. There, she found unexpected happiness as a stay-at-home wife and mother and began a blog in which she recorded her experiences "eat[ing] around the world." Dealing with food inevitably led her to recall the past, and she was forced to confront the pain of old relationships with her mother, her brother and half siblings, and the father she never knew. In the end, Martin learned that her journey had been about getting her fill, "[n]ot just of food but of the intangible things we all need: acceptance, love and understanding." Poignant, heartwarming and generously filled with delicious recipes.
From the Publisher
"Poignant, heartwarming and generously filled with delicious recipes." —Kirkus Reviews

"Food had long provided the few happy moments in Martin’s life...These moments may not be enough to satiate the appetite of foodie readers who are looking for lush bite-by-bite writing, but there is plenty here to engross memoir lovers." -Publisher's Weekly  

"Martin peppers this memoir with recipes reflective of her life’s circumstances of the moment, from stuffed artichokes to apple pie. Her assured prose endows this narrative of an atypical upbringing with both immediacy and poignancy. " - Booklist  

"Many readers will relate to the ways that Life from Scratch connects food and family." —Shelf Awareness

"Sasha Martin intended to publish what’s called a stunt memoir....Thankfully, her memoir, Life From Scratch is not that book. It has more in common with The Glass Castle than it does with 300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story . . . with Recipes, though it does include recipes." —Washington Post

"While a taste of food from around the world would have been delicious enough, the memoir that Martin ultimately wrote is far more satisfying." —Tulsa Kids 

"Sasha Martin’s beautiful memoir-cum-cookbook... makes for ideal summer escapism. Martin’s memoir will find resonance in anyone who’s found that the art of cooking can be as much an emotional experience as a sensory one." —Scribd.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426213748
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
03/03/2015
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
728,683
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

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Meet the Author

SASHA MARTIN is an award-winning writer and blogger who spent almost four years cooking her way around the world. Her work has been featured on NPR (Travel with Rick Steves), Whole Living, Bon AppetitThe SmithsonianThe Huffington Post, CNNgo, and Food52. Her website, Global Table Adventure, is a go-to hub for foodies around the world.

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Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
utopia12 More than 1 year ago
I am always thoughtful when I select a book to read based on someones cooking journey. I was delightfully surprised this  book excelled past any of preconceived notions. It is more than another book about someones journey through cooking. It unfolds as a journey, reaching out and grabbed me. I would recommend this book.
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, not boring! especially the recipes! Sasha had no control over her early childhood but as an adult especially as a Mother she made all the right choices, loved the book and highly recommend it. I donated my hard copy book to my neighborhood Senior Center, they love to read too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago