Poor man's feast A love story of comfort, desire, and the art of simple cooking

Elissa Altman

Book - 2013

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Subjects
Published
San Francisco : Chronicle 2013.
Language
English
Physical Description
287 pages
ISBN
9781452107592
1452107599
Main Author
Elissa Altman (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The author—a New York editor, cook, and award-winning blogger—artfully merges relationship narrative, personal history, and food memoir in this satisfying book. Altman meets Susan, an Irish Catholic book designer, after posting her food-inspired profile to a dating site. Though this stranger has food and dining tastes that seem Yankee-simple compared to the Jewish narrator's four-star Manhattan haute, their relationship quickly builds on a first date into weekend stay-overs and family gatherings. Their experiences mature into quiet homemaking and a well-lived, transformative life together. Slight in armature, the personal scenes, such as Altman's unpromising first meeting with her partner's mother, lift the book beyond the limits of "food memoir". Sections on her aspirational, emotive father, whose restaurant excursions with his daughter formed Altman's sophisticated tastes, and her glamour queen, former model mother, create pure storytelling goodness. Minor characters like the author's beloved French butcher and Susan's parsimonious aunt add cross-cultural comedy to the familial, culinary, and relationship drama. While narrative strands merge abruptly at times (being food memoir, there are the requisite recipes), luminous writing brings many stories small and large to feed the heart. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by PW Annex Reviews

The author—a New York editor, cook, and award-winning blogger—artfully merges relationship narrative, personal history, and food memoir in this satisfying book. Altman meets Susan, an Irish Catholic book designer, after posting her food-inspired profile to a dating site. Though this stranger has food and dining tastes that seem Yankee-simple compared to the Jewish narrator's four-star Manhattan haute, their relationship quickly builds on a first date into weekend stay-overs and family gatherings. Their experiences mature into quiet homemaking and a well-lived, transformative life together. Slight in armature, the personal scenes, such as Altman's unpromising first meeting with her partner's mother, lift the book beyond the limits of "food memoir". Sections on her aspirational, emotive father, whose restaurant excursions with his daughter formed Altman's sophisticated tastes, and her glamour queen, former model mother, create pure storytelling goodness. Minor characters like the author's beloved French butcher and Susan's parsimonious aunt add cross-cultural comedy to the familial, culinary, and relationship drama. While narrative strands merge abruptly at times (being food memoir, there are the requisite recipes), luminous writing brings many stories small and large to feed the heart. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The author of the blog entitled "Poor Man's Feast" recounts growing up with parents whose culinary tastes differed drastically, her early pursuits of the gastronomical, and meeting the woman who would change her relationship with food.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

From James Beard Award-winning writer Elissa Altman comes a story that marries wit to warmth, and flavor to passion. Born and raised in New York to a food-phobic mother and food-fanatical father, Elissa was trained early on that fancy is always best. After a childhood spent dining everywhere from Le Pavillion to La Grenouille, she devoted her life to all things gastronomical, from the rare game birds she served at elaborate dinner parties in an apartment so tiny that guests couldn't turn around to the eight timbale molds she bought while working at Dean & DeLuca, just so she could make tall food.But love does strange things to people, and when Elissa met Susan — a small-town Connecticut Yankee with parsimonious tendencies and a devotion to simple living — it would change Elissa's relationship with food, and the people who taught her about it, forever. With tender and often hilarious honesty (and 27 delicious recipes), Poor Man's Feast is a universal tale of finding sustenance and peace in a world of excess and inauthenticity, and shows us how all our stories are inextricably bound up with what, and how, we feed ourselves and those we love.