Wednesday, September 2, 2009

If Memoir is the Food of Love, (or Love of Food), Read On. . .

There are a lot of interesting food memoirs coming out this fall, and here's one of the first - out next week. In The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love, Michelle Maisto starts to fall for Rich on their first date when he orders a chocolate soufflé. Later when she visits his apartment and sees a DVD of A Room With A View on his television set, it pretty much seals the deal. "A decade after first seeing the movie, I still pined for a man who could kiss me with the urgency that George kissed Lucy in the field of violets," she writes. (Sigh. Don't we all?) Rich loves food, loves to cook, is a huge reader and obviously has great taste in movies. By this time I'm half in love with the man myself.

The two become engaged and start living together in an apartment in Brooklyn and the book focuses on the year leading up to their wedding. In particular it looks at the compromises and conflicts that inevitably ensue when two independent people start living together. Closets and cupboards; Maisto focuses on the latter. He likes eating meat; she doesn't. She likes her peanut butter in the fridge, cold and crunchy. He wants it warm and creamy in the cupboard. These may seem like minor details, but anyone who's experienced this will nod in recognition. (I've had several heated discussions over my refusal to part with my beloved Marmite. Sorry, it's non-negotiable.) Still, food and cooking brings the two of them closer together especially as they explore each other's cultural heritages and try not to overly stress about the wedding plans. I'll be honest - there are parts of this memoir that are bit too syrupy for my tastes, but it's a good premise and I think will definitely appeal to young couples and readers who preferred the "Julie Powell" story of Julie and Julia. There are also recipes sprinkled throughout the narrative and I did get a good tip on how to prevent what the Americans call Popovers and what I call Yorkshire Pudding, from deflating after it leaves the oven.

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