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Made From Scratch: A Memoir Hardcover – November 6, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Meredith Books (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0696239191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0696239199
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The true story of how celebrity chef Sandra Lee went from being raised on food stamps to starring in her own TV show, Semi-Homemade Cooking, on the Food Network.

This powerful, emotional, and astonishing story will inspire anyone who has faced adversity to overcome challenges and persevere. Sandra’s candid account of her personal journey offers a rare glimpse into the life of the woman behind the phenomenal success of Semi-Homemade. Smart, witty, and moving, Made From Scratch is an uplifting tale of determination and survival. Sandra is stunningly open about her abusive childhood and the responsibility thrust upon her at an early age to be the caretaker of her family.

Through a series of tragedies and challenges, she painfully discovered that we are all responsible for the choices we make in life. With the guidance of her grandmother, Sandra learned to be a self-sufficient and independent woman. After moving to Wisconsin at 15 to live with her father, an unexpected tragedy and the fallout from his mistakes required her to get her own apartment while still in high school. At 21, Sandra moved to Los Angeles, where she found tremendous success, launching her first product line, Kurtain Kraft. Working with the gritty resolve and make-do skills she learned as a child, she became a millionaire by the time she was 25, only to lose her fortune before the age of 30 and have to start all over again. Sandra started Semi-Homemade, smarter and wiser from her past mistakes, and has never looked back.

Now dedicated to helping others through various charities and foundations, Sandra is committed to aiding and inspiring people to reach their dreams. Her unforgettable story will show that if she can do it, you can too. Made From Scratch will make you laugh, cry, think, and embrace the grace and glory in every day. Sometimes feisty but always sincere, Made From Scratch has all of the ingredients that make up the recipe of a courageous life and remarkable success.

Written by:

Sandra Lee is a lifestyle expert and a New York Times and best-selling author. With 13 books to her credit, she is the host of a top-rated TV show, Semi-Homemade Cooking, on the Food Network. Sandra resides in Los Angeles and New York City.

Laura Morton is the author of 30 books, eight of which are New York Times best sellers, including The Truth Is, Melissa Etheridge’s memoir; Bringing Elizabeth Home, the Elizabeth Smart story; and Healthy Living, Joan Lunden’s personal journey. Laura lives in New York.

About the Author

Sandra Lee is an internationally acclaimed life & style expert and New York Times best-selling author. She is the premier authority of Semi-Homemade(r) cooking - a quick and easy method of food preparation where nothing is made from scratch but everything tastes homemade. Her cooking approach, featuring smart shortcuts; fast, fabulous food; and savvy style ideas is a hit on Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, one of Food Network's highest-rated cooking shows. Sandra has also been featured on The View, Today, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, CNN, Fox News Live, and Good Day Live. She has also appeared in numerous publications across the country including, People, Time, Newsweek, W Magazine, Brandweek, Better Homes and Gardens(r), Gourmet, Ladies' Home Journal, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, and more.

More About the Author

Sandra Lee has a passion for simple solutions that create dramatic results in all areas of home life. She is editor-in-chief of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazine, the host of two highly rated television shows (the multi-Emmy-nominated Semi-Homemade Cooking and Sandra's Money Saving Meals), as well as a New York Times bestselling author of seventeen books. An internationally-acclaimed home and food expert, Sandra has revolutionized the way people think about traditional, time-consuming, "from-scratch" methods. With her trademark 70/30 philosophy, which combines 70% ready-made products with 30% fresh touches, Sandra creates aspirational meals and breathtaking living environments that are affordable and attainable, making her the foremost recognized advocate to every over-extended person.
Sandra's philosophy was born out of necessity and the challenges she faced throughout her childhood. The oldest of five children, Sandra was responsible for caring for her four younger siblings and managing the household. Forced to live on welfare and food stamps, Sandra quickly learned how to turn budget-friendly foods into delicious and special meals for her family while stretching every dollar and every minute.
In 1989, after attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Sandra was faced with her own home decorating dilemma: How to decorate her home with style and flair on a limited budget. She invented a quick, easy way to re-create her home and realized that others could use the same solutions. She invented her own line of patented home, garden and craft products and launched her company in 1993. Sandra quickly became the retailers "go-to-girl" for innovative, smart consumer products, working with Walmart, Target and QVC-USA. The product lines were so successful that she was asked to anchor the on-air launch of the home, garden and craft categories for QVC-United Kingdom and QVC-Germany. This success motivated Sandra to produce one of the first Do-It-Yourself home improvement video series, which sold over a million copies. Her product lines garnered numerous industry awards, including Wallcoverings, Windows & Interior Fashion's "Achiever of the Year" and Profitable Craft Merchandising's "Home Decorating Product of the Year."

Sandra then attended the world's leading culinary art institute, Le Cordon Bleu. She learned how to apply her Semi-Homemade(R) philosophy and savvy shortcuts towards gourmet recipes so that anyone could create and savor delicious dishes at home in less time and at a fraction of the cost. Since then, Sandra has become a New York Times bestselling author and has written sixteen cooking and entertaining books. She has sold more than 3 million books since the fall of 2005 and has been awarded the prestigious, International French Gourmand Award for "Best Easy Cookbook". In fall 2009, Sandra will release three new books: Easy Weeknight Wonders, Money Saving Slow Cooking and Cocktail Time.

Semi-Homemade(R) moved seamlessly from books to television, radio and the Internet. In 2003, her Food Network TV series, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, debuted as one of the highest-rated show launches in the network's history and celebrated its 200th episode in 2008. Nominated for numerous Daytime Emmy's, Semi-Homemade Cooking remains a top performing program. Sandra has also hosted ten one-hour primetime specials. Her personal story was documented by Food Network's Chefography to rave reviews and high ratings, and her memoir, Made From Scratch, was a Barnes & Noble bestseller. In May 2009, Sandra launched a second Food Network series, Sandra's Money Saving Meals, which will save viewers an average of 39% - 50% on every grocery store bill. In fall 2009, Sandra will become the first cross-over talent on the Scripps Network, with HGTV's Sandra Lee Celebrates.

Sandra was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award for her involvement with many charitable and philanthropic organizations, as well as the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2009 by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate for contributions made to society. Sandra is the national spokesperson for Share our Strength's Great American Bake Sale and Operation Frontline, two groundbreaking programs focused on ending childhood hunger in America. She is a founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and has served on the board of directors of Children's Hospital. Sandra is a generous supporter of God's Love We Deliver, Project Angel Food and the Central Park Conservancy. She was the celebrity chef for DineOut LA in 2008 and GoEat LA in 2009, raising funds for Aid for Aids International (AFAI). She participates in Harvard Business School's annual Woman's Entrepreneurial Conference and is a lecturer at Yale University's School of Management.

Sandra's passion and enthusiasm is contagious. Her attainable, couture-styled, approach allows her the privilege of being a frequent guest expert for many national TV shows including Good Morning America, Today, Weekend Today, Fox News Channel, Ellen, and Tyra, among others. She is a bankable personality having appeared as the cover celebrity on many national magazines including Ladies Home Journal, Redbook and TV Guide.

Customer Reviews

It's a wonderfully written book by Sandra Lee.
A. Hendrickson
This was one of the best memoir's I have ever had the pleasure of reading--I could not put the book down.
G. Crittenden
I have never read a published book with so many basic grammatical errors and such poor writing.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By SNG on December 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I understand why the reviews on Made From Scratch: A Memoir are so divergent - Sandra Lee's life story is pretty remarkable and inspirational (worthy of a high rating), but the book itself is poorly written (deserving of a low rating). Made from Scratch was a quick read for me, and it seemed like it was written quickly too (confirmed by Lee towards the end, when she mentions that her publisher gave her 6 weeks to write the book).

The book is no more than a cursory overview of her life, but interesting at that. For example, Lee spends about 61 written pages covering the first 18 years of her life. The brevity with which she covers each phase or facet of her life is both a blessing and a curse - it is a fast read, but often lacks key details or explanations. The failure of her first business, for instance, was "explained" in literally one paragraph.

Also, each chapter of the book tends to focus on only one aspect of Lee's life at a time. So if a particular chapter was devoted to her business, then there were few details, if any, about her family/personal life at that time. Those details were rarely fleshed out later. I found myself wondering where Lee's parents and siblings were at certain points of her success. And I questioned why Lee's beloved grandmother moved from L.A. to Phoenix when Lee moved back to L.A. But the book didn't provide answers.

I like Sandra Lee, and she seems well-intentioned. Many parts of her life story are instructive. For these reasons, I give the book 3/3.5 stars overall.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Aysia on November 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read the book in about five hours. It started out rough with very little literary quality to the book. Within the first ten pages, I had found many grammatical errors. As the book progressed, I could empathize with her the hardships she lived through in basically raising her siblings. However, I found it odd that she didn't seem to be too concerned about her siblings once she moved to Wisconsin and through her adult years. Parts of the book did not seem very credible or maybe just a little too embellished.

My biggest difficulity in reading this book was the many grammatical errors. I kept getting distracted by them and even irritated. The book was also so full of cliches that I found the writing very mediocre.

At the end of the book, I realized that the book had been written in six weeks. They started in May and by the middle of November, they were on bookshelves. It seems like lightening speed to write and publish a book in six months. Although an editorial team and a writer was involved in this book, the book appeared to be more of a rough draft. I would question what they did in getting this book ready for publishing! The book stated that the writer had also written Melissa Ethridge's book. If so, I would be extremely embarrassed. I believe the publisher did not do the book justice. It seems like they were more interested in getting a book published before Christmas then the quality of the book.

I have never read a published book with so many basic grammatical errors and such poor writing.

Sandra Lee did attain success through plain hard work, and I admire her for that; however, the writing of this book would not be one of her top successes.
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42 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Nipsey Russell on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I watch Sandra Lee's show on the Food Network every weekend, and I was anxiously awaiting this book's release. What a disappointment it was. I think my 12-year old son can write better than this; facts didn't match up, and the writing was just terrible. Her story, if it's true, is a sad one, but unfortunately, it read more like a comedy than the tragic tale I think Chef Lee thought she'd make money spinning.

Wait for the movie on Lifetime. I'm sure there will be one.
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54 of 73 people found the following review helpful By The little woman on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Lee's account of her life is a rambling, incoherent mess. Even though her childhood was admittedly far from idyllic, her romanticized tale of life events leads the reader to wonder whether this is actually the manuscript of a life or just some idealized concoction stemming from time spent reading too many Danielle Steel novels. Not all of the problems with this book can be thoroughly attributed to Ms. Lee, however, and should rest in part with Laura Morton, whose adolescent style of writing is embarrassing and ultimately painful for the reader. Despite the sketchy time line of events in her life, one thing becomes painfully clear as you read this book: Sandra Lee's story telling and writing skills are completely on par with her celebrity cheffing skills.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Bennet Pomerantz VINE VOICE on March 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have the audio presentation of this book and was amazed after I heard her story. Just NOT with the narrator. It seems a bland dish when transfered to the audio medium

I am NOT a big fan of Sandra Lee and her semi Homemade show on the Food Network. On Television, She seemed a bit too ritzy in her style and delivery of her show. I am a big fan of Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay and Paula Dean...all seem down to earth in their TV presentations. However Ms Lee's TV presenation seem too nice like she was hiding something. Note the camera never lies!

And neither does the audio microhone...In listening to her audio presenation narrated by her, I was right and she was hiding something...a lot of pain in growing on which is presenated here. She came from an abusive mother and unloving father. She had to raise her sisters and brothers, since her mother suffered Mental Illness. In the beginning, she and her sister was raised by a loving Grandmother who was both a mentor and a loving parent figure. It is a wonder how she survived the way she did. She took her life and became a successful businesswoman.

Now the bad point, Sandra Lee may be a good on air chef, but she lacks a strong audio voice needed to relay this story to audio. Her voice lacks emotions verbal content, basicly it seems bland and tasteless.

However when she does emote the text, it recants of her grandmother's death and funeral. It is an amazing story she unravels, but she seem not narrate well into her own life story. Something that seems so inspirational comes out with low impact.

I will say this, she should have pushed her over-the-top TV persona onto the audio medium...and she didn't!

I rate this four stars because of the intriging content. I hope it does inspire many abused women and children to grow and succeed like she did

Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
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