Charlotte Au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhoodby Charlotte Silver
Like Eloise growing up in the Plaza Hotel, Charlotte Silver grew up in her mother's restaurant. Located in Harvard Square, Upstairs at the Pudding was a confection of pink linen tablecloths and twinkling chandeliers, a decadent backdrop for childhood. Over dinners of foie gras and Dover sole, always served with a Shirley Temple, Charlotte kept company with a
Like Eloise growing up in the Plaza Hotel, Charlotte Silver grew up in her mother's restaurant. Located in Harvard Square, Upstairs at the Pudding was a confection of pink linen tablecloths and twinkling chandeliers, a decadent backdrop for childhood. Over dinners of foie gras and Dover sole, always served with a Shirley Temple, Charlotte kept company with a rotating cast of eccentric staff members. After dinner, in her frilly party dress, she often caught a nap under the bar until closing time. Her one constant was her glamorous, indomitable mother, nicknamed "Patton in Pumps," a wasp-waisted woman in cocktail dress and stilettos who shouldered the burden of raising a family and running a kitchen. Charlotte's unconventional upbringing takes its toll, and as she grows up she wishes her increasingly busy mother were more of a presence in her life. But when the restaurant-forever teetering on the brink of financial collapse-looks as if it may finally be closing, Charlotte comes to realize the sacrifices her mother has made to keep the family and restaurant afloat and gains a new appreciation of the world her mother has built.
Infectious, charming, and at times wistful, Charlotte au Chocolat is a celebration of the magic of a beautiful presentation and the virtues of good manners, as well as a loving tribute to the author's mother-a woman who always showed her best face to the world.
"Child of artist-restauranteurs, Silver recalls a girlhood filled with pink linens, candied violets, and constant threat of financial ruin. But it’s her ode to her quirky, dazzling mom that makes the dish."—Good Housekeeping
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.34(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.92(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
What People are Saying About This
"Charlotte Silver has written a love song to a remarkable restaurant and a vanished world. I devoured these pages with the same enthusiasm as the author brings to pheasant’s legs and steak tartare on toast."—Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture
"Reading Charlotte au Chocolat is like sitting down to a sumptuous, many-coursed dinnerand then, after taking your last bite of Queen Mother's cake, having the pleasure of lingering in the kitchen, where a cast of vivid characters conjures culinary magic until closing time. A feast of a book!"—Allison Hoover Bartlett, author of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Meet the Author
Charlotte Silver grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before attending Bennington College in Vermont. She studied writing at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and has been published in The New York Times. She lives in New York and Boston.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I love this book! It's witty, vivid, funny, and so moving - about a girl growing up in a very unconventional way: spending every night at her mother's posh restaurant, located above a club connected to Harvard. It's about having a rich (in event and experience, not money) , unconventional childhood with a bold, brassy mother and a Bohemian father - and it's written with wonderful verve, insight, and wit. The cover, alas, does not do justice to the wit and intelligence - and the wonderful writing.
I thought it was contrived and read like it was made up.
The prologue held such promise. I read a lot of memoirs and this just didn't do it for me. Lacking character development , let alone exploration of the characters in her life makes this book one-dimensional. Where is the life lesson? What am I as a reader / audience supposed to take away from this? As fiction, I might have given this a better review. As a memoir, it's disappointing.