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Consuming Passions: A Food-Obsessed Life
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Consuming Passions: A Food-Obsessed Life

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  347 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Consuming Passions is Michael Lee West's delightfully quirky memoir of an adventurous life centered around food and family—the story of how she went from non-cook to gourmet of words and victuals by watching a multitude of relatives squabble, prepare sumptuous repasts, and carry on honored traditions. Laced with delicious secret recipes passed from generation to generation ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Sep 24, 2007 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who talk about food a lot
Shelves: food, memoir
I think I might have to buy this one for the recipes. The essays are entertaining, and there were some great bits, but since I already know and trust the chocolate sheet cake recipe, I figure the others are worth trying as well. It certainly makes me hungry - I read it mostly while eating.
This book is one of my all-time favorites. I love travel writing, and I love food writing, and this book combines some of the best of both. There are parts that are laugh-out-loud funny, and others that just make great anecdotes to pass off as your own. This book inspired me to try a home shrimp boil (mostly successful), though the corn boil was less well-advised. It's an unlikely title, but I highly recommend it!
Book club pick for April at my house. Second read starts today - menu selection to follow !

I loved this book the first time I read it, and I had to come back for more. A quick read really, but one does get stuck on the luscious recipes.
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
For me this book was a wonderful trip down southern memories..makes you crave sweet tea and good mayonaise along with being a kid on a summer night..lovely.
It's not that I disliked this book, I didn't. I just felt it was incredibly uneven. The chapters that dealt with a family story, combined with a food story and relevant recipes are the ones that shone, quite charming. The chapters where she had a recipe but no story to go with it I found boring, especially since she tried to give them substance by drowning them in heavy metaphors. The chapters where she had a family story that really didn't have anything to do with food just felt shoehorned in a ...more
This is part memoir, part family history, part cookbook, from Southern writer Michael Lee West. The chapters are charming, funny, and insightful all in one, giving a picture of the importance of food and family in the Southern tradition. Her fears of frying, particularly fried chicken are charmingly portrayed as are some of the family quirks. While I may not try out every recipe in the book, there are plenty that piqued my interest and I look forward to experimenting with them. There is plenty o ...more
Joanne  Clarke Gunter
Having grown up in the south, I enjoyed reading about the preparation of these family recipes many of which are staples at most southern social functions. Dishes like southern fried chicken, collard greens, egg salad, corn bread, Key lime pie, sweet tea, and lemon chess pie all brought back vivid memories of many southern gatherings that I have attended and of food that I love. What I didn't enjoy reading about so much were the antics of the author's family, some of it cringe worthy. If you are ...more
I am always searching for a book that rates 10 stars like Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" & "More Home Cooking", and this book comes close. It's a wonderful mixture of stories about food, family, love, and recipes. I'm not a southerner, but reading this made me thirsty for iced tea from a cut glass pitcher and hungry for some good fried chicken & potato salad. West's stories about the food we prepare for the family we love are almost as good as the food itself.
Genine Franklin-Clark

A quick read, interspersed with recipes. I'm a California native, and find southern culture strange and exotic. Some of the recipes sound worth a try; many do not. I've been brain-washed and really do love fresh veggies, broiled fish, and healthy stuff like that. BUT I do not hate butter and cream and have been known to boil up a pot of beans with a smoked ham hock.
Chris Rocca
West shows how food played a huge part of her upbringing in New Orleans and Mississippi; and she does it in such an engaging way - by sharing the recipes and stories! I didn't have this kind of childhood, but I hazard a guess that my husband did in his Italian family. Will have to buy this one 'cause I loved all the recipes!
Natalie Minto
This book would have made a good magazine article as not much to it. A few funny bits and recipes but nothing special.
Annie Michelle
fun foodie book! I first read Micheal Lee west years ago with the book, crazy ladies and I have read most all of her books, well..I have a few I have not gotten around to reading yet, but when I do I know I will be thoroughly entertained!
Great stories from the author's life including recipes that look amazing. I will be copying and trying them. Southern family, all gatherings revolving around food. This entertained me and made me hungry at the same time.
Michael Lee West is one of my favorite authors (I do love southern fiction), and when I saw that she had written a book of family stories & family recipes back in 1999, I just had to read it. Very enjoyable.
Liz Jenkins
I love books that combine witty charm and stories with recipes. This one is from my area of the country so I actually recognize some of the places she talks about. Just re-read it recently for fun.
Gail Hardie
Life in the south revolves around food and family and thus this book is a collection of favorite stories and recipes behind them. Great fun! The author lives just outside of Nashville.
This was an account of the good cooking and funny exploits involving food of the author's extended family, complete with recipes that had me salivating. I have to try some of them. Yumm.
Deb Hale
Oct 01, 2007 Deb Hale rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of food and the South
This book combines my love of food and my attachment to the South. Take a healthy dose of humor, add lots of good Southern recipes, and mix well for a fun read.
I enjoyed this book immensely as well as the recipes in the book. They are definite treasures. I have made quite a few of them and have plans to try them all.
Stephie Beck
I thought this was an amusing food writing autobiography. It made me laugh out loud, with stories and reflections on food and family relations
Four stars for the recipes! The book was charming but not an especially great read. The recipes however...I'm just itching to start baking.
A great memoir centered around Southern food, with some simply awesome recipes included. (I've ended up trying quite a few of them.)
Loved this book so much I bought the hard back copy for my own personal library, which I don't do very often. It was excellent.
Cheryl Cox
Fun book with lot's of interesting, southern family stories. It had recipes that I would actually like to try.
I am in awe of West's creativity! Who would have thought to put recipes in a novel? Another home run for West!
Great book for anyone who has liked books by Ruth Reichl (Tender at the Bone, Garlic & Sapphires, et al)
Pattie Tierney
Jul 04, 2011 Pattie Tierney rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Laurie Colwin, Mary Kay Andrews, Fannie Flagg, Michael Lee West will love this book.
So far I just love this book. Southern women, family traditions, love, and food! What else do you need?
This book made me really miss my Southern family reunions... the great Southern family cooks in our family!!
It was ok. I did like how it made me think back to all the good food that comes with living in the South.
A great foodie book.
Recipes and stories remind me of my Mother - a really good thing!

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Michael Lee West grew up on the Gulf Coast with a wild tribe of Southern cooks. She lives on a farm near Nashville with her family. Michael is the author of Crazy Ladies, Mad Girls in Love, She Flew the Coop, American Pie, Mad Girls in Love, Mermaids in the Basement, Consuming Passions, and Gone With a Handsomer Man. Her new novel, A Teeny Bit of Trouble, is the second installment in the Teeny Tem ...more
More about Michael Lee West...
Crazy Ladies Gone With a Handsomer Man Mermaids in the Basement She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana Mad Girls in Love

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