A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi


I’m not keen on memoirs. With novels, when characters behave in a manner that makes me bananas, there’s at the very least some cause for it: some creative flourish, or some plotty setup, and even philosophical what-is-art-and-who-am-I musings. With memoirs, there is not any assure of payoff on the finish, and the inexplicable issues folks do is not tempered by, say, my real love for them (within the occasion of finest associates who do issues I would not do) or the dictates of society that stop me from demanding “What had been you pondering?” when eavesdropping on strangers.


Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi
HarperAudio, 2016

Digital audiobook through my public library
Learn Tougher 2021: Learn a meals memoir by an writer of colour


I learn this for this yr’s Learn Tougher problem — a meals memoir by an writer of colour — and I used to be torn between this and Tembi Locke’s From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Discovering House. (I am nonetheless going to learn Locke’s e book since I’ve lived in Sicily however Lakshmi’s e book was out there as an audiobook for the time being I wanted one thing to hearken to whereas I used to be knitting.)

I’m a fan of Lakshmi from Prime Chef and briefly famous a few of the gossip following her divorce from Salman Rushdie. Nonetheless, I wasn’t in any other case accustomed to her profession nor her deep reference to meals, and her memoir is a pleasant mixture of life occasion, superbly drawn reflection, and musings on meals, reminiscence, and identification. The truth is, little or no of the e book covers Prime Chef, and positively there is not any behind-the-scenes gossip or tattling. I believed I might be dissatisfied, however what Lakshmi serves as a substitute is much extra scrumptious.

In a non-linear method, Lakshmi explores her identification as an Indian-American girl, a mannequin who loves meals, a loyal reader craving to train her thoughts extra. She opens together with her assembly and marriage to Salman Rushdie, then dips again into her childhood. Asides bloom into episodes of luminous musings earlier than returning to the extra mundane ‘…after which this occurred…’ narrative.

Lakshmi reads her e book, which makes the expertise really feel all of the extra intimate. It is also what made the interpersonal stuff she shares appear extra intense. Listening was like being with a pal, updating you on their life, and I could not assist however have some knee jerk emotions concerning the choices she was making and the corporate she was conserving! (Significantly — the Teddy Forstmann anecdotes she shared weren’t charming in any respect! Regardless of claiming he was nice with boundaries, she actually talks about how he’d name and demand she’d depart conferences to speak to him; and when she did not, he’d name her associates and pull them from conferences so she’d name him. And do not get me began about Adam Dell! I suppose I am glad she’s reconciled with the person who’s the daddy of her daughter, however rattling, he pulled some significantly terrible shit! See — that is why I am unable to do memoir!)

Nonetheless, Lakshmi managed to superbly knit collectively a life nonetheless occurring right into a narrative that felt compelling and fascinating. Her considerate introspection and virtually awe-struck pleasure in meals was palpable and has contemplating how meals and identification intersect in my life.

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