ALWAYS HOME

A DAUGHTER'S RECIPES & STORIES

An intimate homage to an iconic restaurateur.

Alice Waters’ daughter recalls growing up with an abundance of food, beauty, and warmth.

Swaddled in dish towels and set inside a huge salad bowl, newborn Singer (co-author, with Waters: My Pantry, 2015) was a regular visitor at Chez Panisse, her mother’s famed Berkeley restaurant, while Waters conferred with the manager or tasted dishes. “I don’t remember this, of course,” Singer writes, “but I feel like my disproportionate love of salad might have something to do with my early kitchen cribs.” Singer’s charming narrative, interwoven with Lacombe’s painterly black-and-white photographs, bursts with sensuous descriptions of tastes, fragrances, and textures as she recounts her “very rich and full and just a little bit unconventional” young life. Her remarkable school lunches featured greens with vinaigrette, kiwi in orange juice, and garlic toast that her classmates coveted. At home, even breakfast was transcendent: “a perfectly soft-boiled blue Araucana egg, with a marigold-hued liquid center into which I would delight in plunging buttered toast ‘soldiers.’” Instructions for making this dish, along with 59 other recipes—her mother’s garlicky noodle soup, her grandfather’s special pancakes, and, not surprisingly, several salads—add delectable details to the colorful narrative. Although sweet confections sometimes appeared for dessert—there are recipes for persimmon pudding and quince meringue ice cream—more likely the end of a meal was “the most perfect handful of raspberries” from their own garden or the sweetest fig. Only a perfectly ripe fruit met her mother’s exacting standards. Singer’s culinary adventures with her parents took her to the south of France as well as on a research trip of France’s great restaurants and wineries; her father, she adds, is “a committed oenophile and professional wine merchant.” Because neither parent spoke French, Singer, who went to a bilingual French school, served as official interpreter at age 9. Waters, who has been the subject of much media attention and multiple books, including her own memoir, Coming to My Senses (2017), is lovingly portrayed throughout Singer’s book. Her mother, writes the author, “is at once a kind of spiritual compass and a salve.”

An intimate homage to an iconic restaurateur.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3251-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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