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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness Hardcover – March 3, 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (March 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426213743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426213748
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sasha Martin writes this book to describe her determination to cook and have her family eat a meal from every country in the world. She works on this project, which she depicts in her blog for 195 weeks. Her work is cut out for her since her husband is a picky eater with several absolute dislikes and her daughter is a young infant.

What her story becomes, more than a cooking exhibition is a story of a troubled life full of rejection and most of all a search and hunger for peace of mind.
Her mother is eccentric and when she and her brother are young her mother works sewing in their apartment, even though she would be able to be qualified as a teacher. Sasha has 3 other siblings which her mother gave custody to their father when they divorced. Their love is mutual, but their mother's extreme behavior leads school officials to call social services. Sasha and her brother are tossed back and forth until their mother gives guardianship of them to her friend who moves frequently around the world. It seems that the friends wanted a son and Sasha is extra baggage.

The story is hard and we are privy to her angst and sorrows and tragedies. We also learn some of her mother's recipes and more of Sasha's. There are 29 included. Many have exotic ingredients and are quite complicated. At one point Sasha suffers from cyanide poisoning from cassava. She changes her recipe in her blog but does not warn readers of the dangers of improper preparation.
However, within the pages is a meat sauce recipe that is marvelous as well as an orange chicken and a dark chocolate Guinness cake with Bailey's buttercream icing.

Sash learns and imparts her lessons, both in cooking and in life. There is a need and a joy in community.
Those who enjoy stories of cooking and are interested in reading stories of a family caught in a struggle to accept themselves and discover a good life might enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved this book. Sasha Martin is a blogger, a wonderful writer and an excellent story teller. Not to mention an experienced cook. This book captured my attention immediately as it launched into the story of her childhood and memories of her mother making due with what she had.

Martin's narrative of her childhood and her memories of her mother become even more interesting as she starts to fill in the blanks with some family backstory. Her ability to bring her childhood memories to life is a credit to her ability as a writer.

There are also recipes. I loved the first crepe recipe, which reminded me of my mother's crepe recipe. We would gather around the kitchen while my mom meticulously cooked each thin little pancake and then we would eat them with syrup and butter. Memories of food have a way of bringing our past to life. I think this is why I enjoyed this book so much.

This is a fun read and it is never boring. It even brings up questions about life, and decisions, and how choices affect our history and the people we have in our lives. This is a unique history with an emphasis​ on food and how it affects our lives and memories.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have followed Sasha's blog since she was in the B's of the alphabet. I looked forward to her posts every week; they became part of the rythm of my life. I cooked many of the recipes from her blog, from the easy to the complex (home made mole anyone?). Some have made it into our regular rotations. I remember one country in a particularly vivid way - Samoa. As Sasha recounted stories of her mother's life my curiosity was piqued. I realized that Sasha had a story to tell and I am so glad she has done so. I preordered the book and eagerly read it from start to finish this week, neglecting so many chores. I loved it. Thank you Sasha for sharing this memoir. This book will not only resonate with global foodies, but also with those parenting children from disrupted families. My family is big and complex, formed by birth and adoption and full of complexity. My husband and I now provide respite care to foster children. I appreciated so much hearing Sasha's account from the child's side - especially now that she is a woman survivor - one with a high level of self knowledge. It isn't often we get to hear the child's version of experiences with foster placements, being victimized by family court, and then trying to attach, forgive and survive. It is even less often the story has a happy ending. It took a great deal of courage to share such a personal accounting. Thank you Sasha for sharing your story. Also thanks to your mother for supporting you in telling the story, that took just as much courage.

Also - I am not sure what some reviewers were expecting based on the National Geographic summary - I found it very accurate. The book is exactly as described.
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Format: Paperback
There is a difference between being an eccentric mother and being a mentally ill, neglectful mother who continually shows poor judgment. The author understandably wants to paint her mother as a person whose charming eccentricities made it difficult for the rest of the world to understand her. But such reframing of history tends to make a memoir ring false, and I dislike reading any book that purports to be nonfiction but is full of implausibly whitewashed accounts.

For example, I do not for one moment believe that a Child Protective Services employee just happened to be driving by and saw an instance of something that appeared to him to indicate child neglect, but in reality was just a zany, individualistic approach to child rearing. Yes, okay, it would be a little more believable if that type of thing happened once and the mom learned something from it and never did such a thing again. But these things just kept happening.

The other thing that really bothers me about this book is how many atrocious grammar mistakes the author makes. I guess this could be due to her spotty education, but good grief, she made it through college and obviously has access to the Internet. I'm reading this for my book group and I'm only halfway through it, but honestly, I don't know how many more instances of using "I" instead of "me" and the other way around I can stomach. She also apparently never learned the proper uses of the words "laid" or "pouring."

I know receiving editing assistance is in many cases a thing of the past nowadays, but couldn't she have found some hungry English Major and traded that person a meal or two for a thorough vetting of the grammar in her book? How can she or the publisher not be embarrassed that this made it to print with all these errors that a middle schooler should be able to spot?
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