Sunday, February 10, 2013

BW7: Keeping the Feast

Sung Kim  - Vineyard Terrace

Before I got married I was one of those eat to live rather than live to eat type of people and if it involved more than a couple pans, then it was just too much trouble.  Food never played a big part in my life. It was simply sustenance and when we traveled, it wasn't the restaurants or the food I remembered, but the places.  Although my parents could tell you I knew where to find every single chicken restaurant on our summer travels.  My husband taught me to cook and eventually I branched out, experimenting more and trying new things.   A couple years back I happened to come across and read Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini which sort of put a whole new light on things.  

Keeping the Feast is Paula's memoir of what happened during her marriage when John was shot while on assignment and reflections on life past.  In 1985 Paula and John met and three years later in 1989 decided to marry.  The fall of the Berlin wall would affect their lives substantially.  Two weeks before their wedding, Paula was covering a protest march against the communist leaders in Prague - the Velvet revolution.  The Czechoslovak police started beating up the peaceful protesters and despite the fact Paula was just there to report it, they savagely beat her as well.   Five weeks later, two weeks after they had gotten married, John was shot while covering a story in Romania.  He had a long and hard recovery and was deeply depressed for a long time. I think she was as well but handled it in a different way.   Keeping the Feast is Paula's account of how she was able to keep their lives together and how food played a substantial role.  

Their story is at times difficult to read, yet shows a strength of character.   I think a big part of their healing came from living in Italy itself.  Paula found healing and solace  in the daily routine of walking to the outdoor market in the piazza to pick out their food for the day, preparing and cooking their meals.  Interspersed throughout the book, she shared stories about growing up,  her parents, her mother's fight with depression and most of all, memories of family meals.  Christmas and other holidays centered about the food, not the event. 

I imagine if we lived in Italy,(or any other country for that matter)  the slow pace, the fresh food in the square offered by the farmers, fresh baked bread, the pasta, the wine would change my mind about the way we eat. My husband has a thing about French wines (now so do I) and his people come from England, so we're contemplating a journey to Europe for a few weeks. Whether it takes place this year or 5 years from now, in the meantime,  we'll be vicariously journeying and eating our way around the world through culinary memoirs.

And since we've been traveling through Canada during the Continental challenge, be sure to check out one of Canada's best well known chef's  Michael Smith  and try out some of his recipes.  

A few more memoirs to tantalize your tastebuds: 

A Chef's Tale: A Memoir of Food, France, and America by Pierre Franey
My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story by (with recipes) by Luissa Weiss
The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel
A Tiger in the Kitchen by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

My challenge to you is to read a book about food - a chef's memoir, history of food, etc,  try out a recipe from it and let us know how it turned out. 

Do you live to eat or do you eat to live?

For some reason I am starving....... *** grin ***   

Link to your reviews:    Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.


  1. This books sounds really interesting! Thanks for the review. I hope you get to travel in Europe soon!

  2. Hmm, I probably eat to live. I hate to cook, and I've never lived with someone who liked to cook particularly. I think I could really enjoy foods if someone who knew what they were doing (not me) was the cook. :-)

    1. Experiment a little bit at a time and see what happens.

  3. Hmmm! Now I'm hungry too! I think I'll go eat frozen strawberries. :)

    This week I linked to one of my favorite stories of all time, Papa's Wife. I should compile a list sometime, but off the top of my head it includes the unabridged Heidi, Papa's Wife, and Rosamund Pilcher's Winter Solstice.

  4. Trying to remember how this works... I haven't posted forever and now my blog doesn't show up on the left side of the page. Do I need to do something?


Thank you for your kind comments.