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Consuming Passions: A Food-Obsessed Life
by Michael Lee West (Goodreads Author)
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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Sep 24, 2007 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who talk about food a lot
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!
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
May 27, 2012 Joanne Clarke Gunter rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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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 ...moreMore about Michael Lee West...