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 a minimum of some cause for it: some inventive flourish, or some plotty setup, and even philosophical what-is-art-and-who-am-I musings. With memoirs, there is no assure of payoff on the finish, and the inexplicable issues individuals do is not tempered by, say, my real love for them (within the occasion of finest buddies who do issues I would not do) or the dictates of society that stop me from demanding “What have been you pondering?” when eavesdropping on strangers.


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

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


I learn this for this yr’s Learn Tougher problem — a meals memoir by an creator of colour — and I used to be torn between this and Tembi Locke’s From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Discovering Residence. (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 in the meanwhile I wanted one thing to take heed to whereas I used to be knitting.)

I’m a fan of Lakshmi from High Chef and briefly famous among the gossip following her divorce from Salman Rushdie. Nevertheless, I wasn’t in any other case conversant in 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 id. In actual fact, little or no of the e-book covers High Chef, and positively there is no behind-the-scenes gossip or tattling. I assumed I’d be upset, however what Lakshmi serves as a substitute is way extra scrumptious.

In a non-linear method, Lakshmi explores her id as an Indian-American girl, a mannequin who loves meals, a faithful reader craving to train her thoughts extra. She opens along 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 buddy, updating you on their life, and I could not assist however have some knee jerk emotions in regards to the choices she was making and the corporate she was retaining! (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 go away conferences to speak to him; and when she did not, he’d name her buddies and pull them from conferences so she’d name him. And do not get me began about Adam Dell! I assume I am glad she’s reconciled with the person who’s the daddy of her daughter, however rattling, he pulled some severely terrible shit! See — that is why I can not do memoir!)

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

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