Are You Hungry?

First off, this writer is not a ‘Foodie!  Yes, I like to eat and enjoy a good meal.  Now, not so much.  Before retirement, it was not at all unusual to try our new recipes on family or friends.  But, for some strange reason, I do enjoy looking at recipes.  However, I do not care for cooking shows, even the short ones in the morning news programs, the least bit enjoyable.

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) by Richard C. Morais is tale of the importance of family, you will meet young Hassan Haji.  He is the second of six children in his family.  This fictional biography begins in Mumbai.  Hassan describes how his earliest memories are the smells of aromatic spices and the taste of food created using those different spices.  The story of his life in the kitchen begins to take shape.

Hassan’s life and family leave India after tragedy changes their lives.  London was the first stop of the family’s journey to a new and different life.  Different does not describe how the family felt.  “At the time it seemed as if we had wandered into hell.  We were lost.  Maybe even a little mad.”  Two years later they left England.

His father wanted a fresh start.  Next stop…Lumiere, France.  Almost immediately upon arrival Papa has made contact with a real estate agent for a potential spot for a restaurant.    A rundown mansion.

Enter Madam Mallory, owner of the mansion across the street.  She is a very well known as an innkeeper who has a rare collection of cookbooks.  Readers, you will learn much about her background, including how she has high hopes of earning a 3rd Michelin Award.

She is NOT thrilled with the idea of an Indian restaurant right across from her famous La Saule Pleureur.  Especially when she notices Indian children hanging from the Dufour estate’s windows and turrets.

From Mumbai, to London, to Lumiere, and then on to Paris.  Let the culinary wars begin, along with friendship and of course, food.  See if that 100-foot journey was worth the trip.

NB:  Many of you have probably seen the movie version.  But, do not stop there.  This is one enjoyable read, especially  for Foodies.  You may want to try out the recipes included.

TASTE: My Life Through Foods (2021) by Stanley Tucci is one of those books that caught my attention in the Biography section of our lovely library here at Tanglewood.  It is a dialogue between Stanley as a 6-year-old and his mother as they watch a cooking show.

TASTE is not really a cookbook.  Do not panic.  Recipes are part of his story.  The back and forth between him and his mother, is a usual chat like one might have had in your home at the age of six.

That conversation leads into the story of his life:  of where he grew up and some history of his Italian family. The kind of talk like one you might have experienced with your family. Food was a part of their lives.  “Because of my mother’s culinary power, eating at neighbors’ houses as a kid was always a bit of a struggle.”

What TASTE shows is a family living and enjoying rather ordinary lives.  Yes, Stanley Tucci is a bit more famous that most of us.  But, he is a real person, going through life just as we experience.  What you will get in this book is a love of food, life through childhood eyes, Covid isolation, marriage, children, and real life.  Of course, recipes appear as he talks about food, especially Italian food.

TASTE is an enjoyable, pleasant, fast read, even for this non Foodie.  Keep your eyes open for this book when in the library.  It will be a popular read when word gets out.  Enjoy!  I did.

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