Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family and Forgiveness

Flavors, fragrances and the experience of re-creating family traditions in the kitchen make food a gateway to memory, but when food writer Sasha Martin decided to "cook [her] way around the world," she was looking forward, not back. A well-traveled graduate of the Culinary Institute of America settling into life as a mother and wife in Tulsa, Okla., Martin challenged herself to broaden the tastes of her young daughter and picky-eater husband by preparing a meal from a different country every week, which she documented on her blog, Global Table Adventure. She didn't anticipate that this four-year project would bring her to reexamine her own past and reconcile what "family" truly meant to her, leading to Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Family, Food, and Forgiveness.

Martin's Boston childhood was defined by the creative cooking of her mother, whose erratic behavior brought Sasha and her brother, Michael, to the attention of the foster care system. After several difficult years, her mother placed Sasha and Michael in the care of family friends, who moved the children across the country, soon relocated to Europe and kept Sasha out of their kitchen. Years later, returned from abroad, Sasha actively pursued food and cooking as a means to make peace with her life.

Life from Scratch features nearly 30 recipes--some from the Global Table Adventure blog and others for dishes that Martin grew up with. While there are no photos included, the recipes are written in clear and conversational detail; a "glug" of olive oil isn't a precise measurement, but most home cooks will understand exactly what Martin means. And even if they're not home cooks, many readers will relate to the ways that Life from Scratch connects food and family. --Florinda Pendley Vasquez, blogger at The 3 R's Blog: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

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