Let Us Eat Cake: Adventures in Food and Friendship

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9780060012847: Let Us Eat Cake: Adventures in Food and Friendship

Every woman has poignant food memories: the times she licked the bowl when her mother baked a cake, or helped her grandmother make blintzes, tortillas, or Southern fried chicken. And how about the times she and her girlfriends baked chocolate-chip cookies or, later, prepared elaborate dinners to impress potential husbands?

One day when looking through an old desk she'd bought as a newlywed thirty years earlier, food writer and restaurant critic Sharon Boorstin discovered a notebook of recipes she'd collected from her mother, relatives, and girlfriends at the time. It inspired her to reconnect with the recipe givers -- some of whom she hadn't seen in years -- and to explore the power of cooking and food in establishing bonds among women.

Let Us Eat Cake celebrates these connections. As a young girl, Boorstin helped her mother make tuna casseroles; on a college trip to Europe, she and her girlfriends compared men and restaurants with equal zest; after she became a food writer, Boorstin bonded with women in the food world including Barbara Lazaroff (Mrs. Wolfgang) Puck, the Too Hot Tamales, and Julia Child. Today, after decades of enjoying food and cooking together, Boorstin and the women in her life have come to understand what truly makes for female friendships.

With dozens of delicious recipes and vintage photos, this moving book will inspire readers to remember and cherish their own experiences with food, family, and friends.

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Review:

Her memories, even more than her recipes, will charm readers in food writer Sharon Boorstin's delicious memoir, Let Us Eat Cake. The book is the result of Boorstin's discovery of a 30-year-old notebook containing long-forgotten recipes. As she explains, "Each recipe brought back memories of the woman who gave it to me, of the occasion when we made and enjoyed the dish, and of the friendship we shared." By linking her memories of food, family, and friendship, Boorstin creates a charming hybrid of autobiography and sociology. Readers join her to feast at her parents' dinner table (Dad's fresh salmon loaf, Grandma's cheese blintzes), order the signature "Canlis" salad at Seattle's special birthday-dinner restaurant, cook a college friend's Tandoori chicken, and decorate cakes with her daughter, Julia.

Boorstin's work and friendships as a food writer have given her some names to drop and recipes to boot: Wolfgang Puck's matzo, Julia Child boiling lobsters in a laundry tub, Nell Newman offering papa Paul's angel food cake recipe. Engaging descriptions and vintage photos of family and friends flag several decades of social change--from the "patent leather shoes let boys look up your dress" warning of the '50s to the PalmPilots and tooth whitening of the turn of the 21st century. But Boorstin is at her best in relating funny and touching descriptions of meals with beloved friends. Her vivid portraits will remind readers of their own fond memories of food and friendship. --Barbara Mackoff

About the Author:

Sharon Boorstin was the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and her articles have appeared in Bon Appetit, the Los Angeles Times, Playboy, More, Food Arts, Conde Nast Traveller (U.K), and Porthole. She and her husband have two children and live in Beverly Hills, California.

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