on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs
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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 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.
Sasha Martin’s life hasn’t been easy. She grew up with her brother and mother in poverty in Boston. Her mother had given custody of three older children to her ex-husband and would not tell her two youngest children who their father was. Her mother was warm and creative and loved to cook meals with her kids, which instilled a love of cooking in Sasha.
After a few rounds of going into foster care and back out into their mother’s care, Sasha and her brother went to live with a family friend in entirely different circumstances. Suddenly, she is traveling the world and living in Europe during high school. That life ended when she went to college and had to find a way to make it on her own.
Years later, after marrying and having a child, she decides to start a blog and cook one meal a week from a different country of the world. She starts with Afghanistan in week one and goes alphabetically through all 195 countries.
Although this is marketed as a food blogger memoir, most of the book is about her childhood and life before the blog. The story is harrowing and sad and would be unbelievable if written in a fictional book. Her mother is a larger than life character who is in turns inspiring and exasperating.
When the book turns to blogging there are interesting discussions about what went on behind the scenes and her decision making processes about what should go on the blog. Should she admit that she poisoned herself with one meal? How do you deal with furious commenters who are mad that her Indian meal was simple foods for a child’s birthday party?
There are several recipes in the book. Some of them are incredibly intense and some are simple. I’m not sure that I’m going to try any of them because a lot are meat based but there are some that could be adapted. There is a chocolate rice pudding that sounds good.
This book would be good for people who like memoirs like Julie and Julia.