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Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity [Kindle Edition]

Candace Walsh
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Recipes and cookbooks, meals and mouthfuls have framed the way Candace Walsh sees the world for as long as she can remember, from her frosting-spackled childhood to her meat-eschewing college years to her post-college phase as a devoted Martha Stewart's Entertaining disciple.

In Licking the Spoon, Walsh tells how, lacking role models in her early life, she turned to cookbook authors real and fictitious (Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, Mollie Katzen, Daniel Boulud, and more) to learn, unlearn, and redefine her own womanhood. Through the lens of food, Walsh recounts her life’s journey—from unhappy adolescent to straight-identified wife and mother to divorcée in a same-sex relationship—and she throws in some dishy revelations, a-ha moments, take-home tidbits, and mouth-watering recipes for good measure. A surprising and rambunctiously liberating tale of cooking and eating, loving and being loved, Licking the Spoon is the story of how—accompanied by pivotal recipes, cookbooks, culinary movements, and guides—one woman learned that you can not only recover but blossom after a comically horrible childhood if you just have the right recipes, a little luck, and an appetite for life's next meal.

Editorial Reviews


"In the spirit of Nora Ephron's Heartburn and Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, Candace Walsh uses the story of her passionate relationship to food to frame a powerful and honest account of her life." --Gretchen Rubin, author of the New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project

"Candace Walsh's luscious prose brings this memoir vividly to life. She weaves the comfort of food throughout her brave and ultimately uplifting quest to find her witty wonderful self. And we readers are nourished by coming along on Walsh's journey. Bon appetit." --Cheryl Alters Jamison, four-time James Beard Award-winning author of Smoke & Spice, Tasting New Mexico, The Border Cookbook, and The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining

"Funny, moving, and as irresistible as chocolate cake, Candace Walsh's delicious memoir isn't just a coming-of-age of a remarkable woman by way of the kitchen pantry, but a smart, gorgeously written exploration of the foods--and the people--who really nourish us." --Caroline Leavitt, author of the New York Timesbestseller, Pictures of You

"Like Jane Eyre and Heartburn, Licking the Spoon is a book you won't be able to put down and a story you won't soon forget." --Theo Pauline Nestor, author of How to Sleep Alone in a King-Sized Bed

"The book's brightest points serve as testaments to personal reinvention and healing...when Walsh writes with pride and joy of the day she brought her shiny, new KitchenAid home and recalls tenderly the comfort found in a simple chicken fricassee, those moments shimmer like oil in a hot pan." --Kirkus Reviews

From the Back Cover

A surprising and rambunctiously liberating tale of cooking and eating, loving and being loved, Licking the Spoon is the story of how--accompanied by pivotal recipes, cookbooks, culinary movements, and guides--one woman learned that you can not only recover but blossom after a comically horrible childhood, if you just have the right recipes, a little luck, and an appetite for life's next meal.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1474 KB
  • Print Length: 346 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1580053912
  • Publisher: Seal Press (November 20, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009SC13J8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,045 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious prose October 27, 2012
By ChiWrit
As a writer, I'm often sent books pre-release to review. Rarely do I do more than flip through them to see if anything jumps out at me. I read Licking the Spoon cover-to-cover. Walsh's writing is beyond gorgeous - her use of imagery and metaphor are wonderful. I'm not a big chef myself, but I found myself getting lost in her cooking, as she used it to help her herself transform and survive a number of tricky life transitions. (I actually would have loved to see more recipes.) Walsh is brave is speaking out about everything from childhood abuse to eating disorders and sexual exploration. I got the book with a newborn in the house so it took me months to complete it, but it was well worth it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Licking the Spoon: A four course meal for the mind October 27, 2012
I adored reading this book (lucky me to get a preview!). It's intensely personal, and so deliciously written. It left me feeling like I'd shared a night of food and conversation at the table with a dear friend. Having never met Candace in person, I can say I'd feel comfortable splitting a bottle of wine and some boeuf Bourguignon with her anytime.

The book begins with her matrilineal history, bringing the thread of spices and food from the past to the present. Ropa Vieja takes on a many-faceted meaning in this book- as do many dishes. Candace artfully uses food as a powerful metaphor throughout her story; never in a way that feels contrived. Rather, it feels entirely organic that her dishes and her life have such synchronicity.

I feel I watched her life take shape- and as the tale wound around, I found myself cheering and bemoaning the triumphs and trials alongside Candace. Even the recipes she incudes now feel like my own family recipes. It's been a while since I've found myself so emotionally invested in a book.

When the story finished, I was left wanting more- just as if I were licking the spoon- getting a taste of some delicious treat yet to come. I can't imagine anything but more delectable reads to come from this author! Looking very forward to them!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this memoir! October 27, 2012
Candace Walsh's beautiful and evocative memoir Licking the Spoon is truly one to feast upon. With a deft emotional hand she snakes us through her family history (both family history of legend, and family history anchored in truth) before unspooling her own. Walsh's story is emblematic of a modern and complex woman's journey. We travel with her through her childhood and coming of age, through her harrowing single years and the romance of her first marriage, kids, divorce, and ultimately, finding true love again. Throughout her memoir, cooking for sustenance is deeply rooted to cooking for pleasure and love; her Greek and Cuban roots emerge to the forefront in thoughtfully collected and tested recipes. I loved this book and it will take its place among my other treasured and well-thumbed cookbooks and foodie memoirs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A candid journey October 28, 2012
Beginning with a recitation of cooking-as-foreplay during her 20s in New York, Candace Walsh plunges into a candid exploration of her personal history and its intersection, always, with food. Her companionable writing style draws the reader in to a personal story that immediately feels familiar. As she explores the stories of her Irish father and Greek/Cuban mother, Walsh deftly weaves their traditional foods into the narrative, setting the table for the many ways food becomes a flashpoint for her own life's journey.

Now happily married to the woman of her dreams, Walsh is fearless in dissecting the ups and downs that brought her to her current place in the world. Laced through with family recipes as well as detailed memories of meals, family squabbles, abuse, relationship missteps and that first--and ultimately decisive--step outside her marriage at her own dinner party, "Licking the Spoon" has a breathless quality of best-friend-tells-all about it. Highly readable and recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Licking the Spoon (and the page!) February 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The second I downloaded Licking the Spoon to my iPad's Kindle application, I started reading, only intending to peruse the first chapter. One chapter soon turned into ten.

Damn, with an Emeril Lagasse BAM, Candace Walsh can write!

I read A LOT of memoirs and hers rose right to the top, like cream. Honestly, there have been a few reads I've wanted to throw across the room -- really unadvisable when your "book" is an iPad. Licking the Spoon, though, was different from all of the eye-rolling reads. Candace's story drew me in, the chapters ranging from being very poignant to heartbreaking to funny-- honest on every level. Her prose was so poetic, her descriptions savory morsels of goodness.

I finally had to put Licking the Spoon down because it was dinnertime. Not only was I hungry after reading her beautiful words, so was my family. I have since renamed Candace's book Licking the Page. I inhaled this delicious memoir in two sittings.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasurable Read November 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read one chapter last night and devoured the rest today. Good thing it wasn't longer or my children would starve.

Calling this a food book or a memoir would be reductive. It made me think about the love and traditions that we bring from even the most dysfunctional families. When we grow up, we can decide to heal, grow, let go, and keep the recipes.

I am sure I will be cooking from this book; however, I think I will return for the stories too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A fabulous whirlwind journey through the emotional development of a person from girlhood to womanhood. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kristin Louise Duncombe
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm getting a little gushy writing this but boy was it moving...
A book to savor and think about. This is the sort of book that stays with you after you've reached the last page. Ms. Read more
Published 2 months ago by LHG
3.0 out of 5 stars Understanding yourself
Good read, a little harrowing at times as Candace, very frankly, explores her past and present relationships with those closest to her.
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and well-written
I want to preface my review of Licking the Spoon with a snapshot of my background and personal reaction to the book because it does affect the review in its own way. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jennie Goutet
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting memoir
Cooking Book club choice. Interesting life story but would have like more recipes and cooking information as suggested by the title.
Published 12 months ago by Shirley Briggs
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting book
I enjoy reading memoirs and I found this one interesting. Good writing and interesting narrative, I may even try some of the recipes.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars It's not really about the food -- more of a family/personal history
This book is less about food and more about the author's family history and the discovery of her own sexuality. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Rupert Baxter
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Recipe for Living
When I was young my favorite holiday was Thanksgiving because I loved cranberries. Then one day my parents took me to a family get-together. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Michael Chavez
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is absolulty fantastic!
I loved this book. Absolutely loved it from start to finish. Such a fantastic and enriching book and the food is amazing. Read more
Published 17 months ago by bridgeport
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I loved Candace's story AND the way she tells a story. So many of us connect our earliest memories to the taste and smell of food. Read more
Published 18 months ago by amy tingle
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More About the Author

Candace Walsh is the author of Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity. Her writing has appeared in numerous national and local publications, in Newsday, Travel + Leisure, Sunset, Mademoiselle, New York magazine, and New Mexico Magazine. She has also worked on staff at Condé Nast International, Mothering, and currently, as the managing editor of New Mexico Magazine. She edited Seal Press anthologies Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women, (a Lambda Literary Award finalist) and Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On. Her essays have been published in the anthology Here Come the Brides; on Slate's Double X; and in the Santa Fe Reporter. She lives in Santa Fe with her wife Laura André, their two children, and two dogs.


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