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Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity Paperback – November 13, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"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 Times bestseller, 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

"Engaging in its narrative and as satisfying as the recipes for Ropa Vieja and Chicken Fricassee included, this is truly a memoir from the heart." —Curve Magazine

"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

About the Author

Candace Walsh's 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; First Edition edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580053912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580053914
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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. I also want to apologise in advance for all my food metaphors.

I knew going in that - as an open-minded (but non-liberal) Christian reading about the perspective of a woman leaving a heterosexual relationship for a homosexual one - I would be entering unchartered waters. I would be embracing life through someone else's eyes who lives a different reality than I do. And I wanted that. I don't limit my respect (or love) to people who only walk the way I do.

But in the preface, I stumbled a bit. She hinted at courting infidelity as a married woman when it seemed like her innocent and perfect husband was going to be a cuckold (she had said very little about her husband at that point so I just filled in the blanks in my own mind). I have such a strong reaction to infidelity that I paused, wondering how I could possibly like the book. But I don't like to make snap judgments, and so I read on. I'm so glad I did.

Walsh is as beautifully complex and multi-layered as the spanakopita she writes about. After the preface she jumps back - way back. She tells of the grandparents and great-grandparents, and the Greek, Italian, Cretan, Colombian (was it?) influences that all made their way into her life and her cooking. But it doesn't stop there. Her life was pounded and kneaded by the dysfunction that influences and forms many of us. She writes about it honestly and heart-wrenchingly, and I think fairly. There is no whining. And just as a dessert needs a bit of salt to give a base to the batter, her story was richer for having peeled back the layers. The more I read, the more I identified and found the author endearing. Really endearing.

My only regret with this book? That I didn't get a hard copy so I could easily flip through and find all the recipes.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not much for cooking unless I get some outer worldy inspiration once in a blue moon, but this book made me want to cook, and especially, bake.Have to tell you that this book is definitely NOT about cooking lessons, though..It took me on a close to my heart journey through family mysteries, disfunctions and such a strong desire to be loved and understood.Any one of us can relate to that! Candace's amazing honesty and couragious soul searching makes you feel very close to her as a person and as a woman.She manages to make you laugh so hard through the most painful experiences.Love her sense of humor!! I was sad to finish the book, earning for more..HIGHLY recommended to anyone !
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