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The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Loveby Michelle Maisto
Synopses & Reviews
“On our first date, Rich ordered a chocolate soufflé at the beginning of the meal, noting an asterisk on the menu warning diners of the wait involved. At the time, I imagined he did it partly to impress me, which it did, though today I know well that hes simply the type of man who knows better than to turn down a hot-from-the-oven soufflé when one is offered to him.”
When Michelle Maisto meets Rich-like her, a closet writer with a fierce love of books and good food-their single-mindedness at the table draws them together, and meals become a stage for their long courtship. Finally engaged, they move in together, but sitting down to shared meals each night-while working at careers, trying to write, and falling into the routines that come to define a home-soon feels like something far different from their first dinner together.
Who cooks, who shops, who does the dishes? Rich craves the light fare his mother learned to prepare as a girl in China, but Michelle leans toward the hearty dishes her father knew as a boy in Italy. Rich eats meat, but Michelle doesnt. His metabolism races through carbohydrates, hers holds to them tightly. And while her idea of a quick meal is a fried egg, his is to head to a restaurant. After Rich takes additional work to pay for their wedding, Michelle offers to do his half of the cooking chores-which, along with the newness of their living together, challenges her feelings about the kitchen and what it means to be a modern wife.
As they save and plan for a wedding, the nightly compromises, small generosities, and stubborn stakings of ground that take place around the dinner table offer a context in which Maisto considers what shes learned from the marriages around her, and what she and Rich might create for themselves.
"First-time memoirist Maisto turns out a subtle valentine to cooking and New York City life in this chronicle of two foodies in love. Maisto is a charming writer with a keen wit and sense of setting, whether describing tennis in her beloved Brooklyn neighborhood, or reluctantly making Jell-O for her fiancé. Despite her skill, however, the book struggles to get off the ground. What momentum there is springs from Maisto's imminent nuptials, but the actual wedding ends up a side note next to the recurring question of what to make for dinner. Low-stress recipes for favorite comfort foods are scattered throughout, including her grandmother's Walnut Tarts and a dressed-up boxed chocolate cake mix recipe, each worth reading: instructions for simmering lentils include lying on the couch and 'watching a television program that the person you live with, but who is not home now, thinks is stupid.' Readers homesick for New York will get the most out of the book, but it's unlikely to stick out in an increasingly cluttered field of food memoirs." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Michelle Maisto has an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of publications, including The New York Times and Gourmet magazine. She writes and eats in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Rich, who occasionally does the cooking.
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