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Sometimes a book arrives in your hands like a cosmic gift Blue Plate Special was that gift for meI ve been a fan of Kate Christensen s writing for years Epicure s Lament is my favorite which I m now eager to go back and e ead and this memoir draws back the curtain on the author s own life and the eal inspiration for some of the stories and characters that populate her novelsBut than that I loved this book because I feel a great kinship to Kate Christensen This is a woman who has uprooted herself umpteen times who considered herself a late bloomer who has felt full on the pangs of loneliness alongside the exuisite pleasure of solitude who has found joys and solace in food in place in observation and in self eflection In so many ways I feel that I am putting my feet ight into the steps of this woman who has gone before me and somehow eading this book made my uncertain zigzaggy path seem a bit saferA book that blends the aw emotional honesty of something like The Glass Castle with the food centric storytelling of Blood Bones Butter This memoir about author Kate Christensen s life is a compulsively eadable account of a truly odd upbringing and an itinerant and extended young adulthood The author frames the circumstances of her life around three dominant themes food and sex and to a lesser extent writing Her avenous hunger for each makes the subtitle of this book An Autobiography of My Appetites than aptThe first part of the book dealing with her early life as the child of hippie parents was fascinating though at the same time disturbing I had a lot of sympathy for the young Kate Christensen I wish parents would ealize how profoundly their self centeredness affects their children for lifeMy interest in the author s descriptions of food lasted for the enti Blue Plate Special isn t eally a food memoir Sure it s got food in it and even some ecipes But looking back at it two months after finishing what I eally emember is Kate Christensen s courageous portrayal of her struggles to become a writer and a fully functioning adult She s elouent and honest and the book is as good at places as it is at food With its vivid descriptions of the various towns and cities where she s lived Blue That the greatly admired novelist Kate Christensen has turned to the memoir form after six novels makes this book an event Readers of memoirs of high literary uality particularly those with food themes most conspicuously Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples and Gabrielle Hamilton.
Late Special could have been a travel memoir just as easily as a food memoir Either way it was immensely satisfying for the likes of me I m looking forward to her follow up memoir How to Cook a Moose although it seems like that one eally is about food My first un in with Kate s work was back in 2008 when my innocent twenty seven year old self finally got to learn a thing or two about wine from eading The Great Man I passed the simple yet creative cover at a bookstore and then traced back took a peak and decided to ead it I was mesmerized by the language the wording and the complex imagination and the cover that stopped me was of a simple paint brush I do art and design for a living so it called me with its elegant simplicity Perhaps the most important of all I walked away with a curiosity of what a Sancerre which was drank in the book under grape wines on a hot day in the garden during a very special scene I wondered how it eally tasted in comparison to a fruity dry Pinot Grigio which I would normally think as sophisticated I have always loved food and I have always loved books but this was the first time I have witnessed characters in a book eat and drink and I eally do mean eat They sank their teeth into mouthwatering meals of chicken and salad luscious eggy pasta fennel wine canap s with oozing cheese olives golden spicy oil dripping off charred sourdough slices while two people debated their future together fought cried or grieved As years passed and I ead of her work I noticed that in all her novels the characters and plots intertwined with brilliant literary intensity but food always made its way around and it sparked a hunger in me that no other writing has ever done I was not aware of MF K Fisher and others until I started eading Kate s work I have ead almost all of her novels and this memoir while being non fiction has an echo of the creator the great engineer of those novels Suddenly I could see eflections of her struggles her own life and ideas in the books With Blue Plate Special finally after all this time I had an extra sense of appreciation of what went into making them and I got a glimpse of the engineer herself I find it ironic that so many people out there are 's Blood Bones and Butter as well as admirers of M F K Fisher and Laurie Colwin will be a large and eager audienceThis memoir derives from Kate's popular foodcentric blog in which she shares scenes from an unusual upbringing and an unusually happy present day life providing an au.
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Utraged at this book perhaps they were expecting a cookbook and not a memoir from someone who can handle fiction so well I was stunned to ead about what the author was going through while writing my favorite book which is The Epicure s Lament I had no idea that half way through creating it her world collapsed and she was unable to write that cutoff was never evident in a story that I still love all these years later a story that ties food and love life passion the daily struggle and philosophy peppered with wit and pleasures which should never be guilty In The Blue Plate Special the author holds back very little as she narrates her incredible childhood and uite an adventurous life that took her to other continents and finally her place in the world today She writes freely and openly only Christensen would mention that champagne tastes like an apple cut with a steel knife and how she had to eat what the character was eating as she ead from an early age she knows what makes for great eading and this is no exception Her life on a plate comforts and the cleanups the whole meal is here and I feel humbled and appreciative that I got to get a glimpse into the private world of a great mind The behind the scenes on her life and what was going on as she was working on novels that are now some of my favorite eads is priceless And the non ecipe ecipe for cheese and bean burritos on page 227 isn t too bad either I could get addicted to it PThey say that the best food is honest cooking well this personal non fictional memoir is as honest as it gets so bon app tit Kasia S Library Overdrive Audiobooknarrated by Tavia Gilbertmy first book by the author Kate Christensen This book was a great discovery I literally found it by accident I started listening with zero expectations Kate s passions are eating cooking eadingand writing These passions are interwoven into the bigger story that Kate shares about her LIFE I enjoyed her stories happy sad about her family life happy SadThe different places she lived happy Sad steps she took towards becoming a writer happy There are yummy food descriptions and ecipes WHAT I LOVED BEST WASKate s honest vulnerability about herself and the elationships that had a pr. Dience for this book that is already primed That it is written by Kate Christensen means it will be a delicious eading experience in every sense a compulsively eadable account of a knockabout life full of sorrows and pleasures many of the latter of the sensual appetitive variet.
KATE CHRISTENSEN is the author of six previous novels most recently The Astral The Great Man won the 2008 PENFaulkner Award She has published reviews and essays in numerous publications most recently the New York Times Book Review Bookforum O Elle and Gilt Taste She writes an occasional drinks column for The Wall Street Journal called With a Twist She lives in Portland Maine