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Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Familyby Patricia Volk
Synopses & Reviews
In a restaurant family, you’re never just hungry—you’re starving to death. And you’re never full—you’re stuffed.
Patricia Volk’s family is as American (background: Austrian-Jewish) as “Rhapsody in Blue.” They came to these shores determined to make their mark; each of them is a piquant morsel of history. Great-grandfather Sussman Volk brought pastrami to the New World. Grandfather Jacob was known as “the Most Destructive Force on Wall Street” and was memorialized by E. B. White as “the greatest wrecker of all time” for his innovative method of demolition. Uncle Albert was the first man to stir scallions into cream cheese. The last of Grandfather Herman Morgen’s fourteen restaurants was a famous garment center hangout. One grandmother won the 1916 trophy for “Best Legs in Atlantic City.” The other was a three-hundred-pound calendar girl. Ms. Volk’s handsome, demanding restaurateur father invented the Six-color Retractable Pen and Pencil Set and the Double-sided Cigarette Lighter (so you never have to worry which end is up). For three generations, just about every Volk and Morgen (with the exception of Uncle Al, who had an eleven-year affair with Aunt Lil and then refused to marry her because she wasn’t a virgin) has, no matter what the circumstances, exhibited a terrifyingly positive attitude. With a cosmic disdain for the status quo, all of them—the tyrants, do-gooders, lovers, martyrs, and fakes—lived at full tilt.
Stuffed is a wildly funny yet unsparing look at how families work.
From the Hardcover edition.
The journalist-author chronicles her restaurant family's arrival in America from Austria at the turn of the century and their subsequent struggle to survive and prosper in a poignant but humorous celebration of family life and history. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
Patricia Volk’s delicious memoir lets us into her big, crazy, loving, cheerful, infuriating and wonderful family, where you’re never just hungry–your starving to death, and you’re never just full–you’re stuffed. Volk’s family fed New York City for one hundred years, from 1888 when her great-grandfather introduced pastrami to America until 1988, when her father closed his garment center restaurant. All along, food was pretty much at the center of their lives. But as seductively as Volk evokes the food, Stuffed is at heart a paean to her quirky, vibrant relatives: her grandmother with the “best legs in Atlantic City”; her grandfather, who invented the wrecking ball; her larger-than-life father, who sculpted snow thrones when other dads were struggling with snowmen. Writing with great freshness and humor, Patricia Volk will leave you hungering to sit down to dinner with her robust family–both for the spectacle and for the food.
About the Author
Patricia Volk is the author of the novel White Light and two collections of short stories, All It Takes and The Yellow Banana. She has published stories, book reviews, and essays in dozens of magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, New York, The New Yorker, Playboy, Redbook, GQ, The Quarterly, and O, the Oprah Magazine. She was a weekly columnist for New York Newsday, and she lives in New York City.
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