Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity” as Want to Read:
Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  270 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Recipes and cookbooks, meals and mouthfuls have framed the way Candace Walsh sees the world for as long as she can remember, from her frosting-spackled childhood to her meat-eschewing college years to her post-college phase as a devoted Martha Stewart's "Entertaining" disciple.
In "Licking the Spoon, " Walsh tells how, lacking role models in her early life, she turned to c
Paperback, 318 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Seal Press (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Licking the Spoon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Licking the Spoon

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  270 ratings  ·  70 reviews

Sort order
Corbyn Hightower
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Like Eat, Pray, Love for the un-yogafied and un-sanctimonious set, Candace's memoir took me on her journey of self-discovery without the cliches that implies. I'm not a "foodie" and can barely pour a bowl of cereal, but the marriage of cuisine to experiences didn't disrupt my enjoyment . . . rather, it added to the sensory description of the key emotional moments.

There aren't any neat little bows tied here. The author is graceful enough to resist them. What is there: a million little moments whe
Emily Haozous
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I was in the 3rd grade my teacher used to tell me about how he would force himself to put a book down so he could savor the story for just a few more days. I think he was trying to tell me to stop with the speed reading already, but at the time I just thought he was crazy- so many books, so little time! But now, with some adult living under my belt, and some really bad books behind me (Hello, Twilight series?), I have a little more appreciation for what Mr. Trujillo was trying to teach me. ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
LTS, was my vacation read, but before that, it was my car read. By that I mean the book I keep in the car for when I have to wait. Each bit sized section was a morsel to savor and contemplate. Journeying with Candace through her youth, her genealogical search , her at the apron strings remembrances was perfect fodder for my parent brain as I sat waiting for my daughter's school to let out for the day. It was all I could do not to finish it during the week up to my vacation.

Thankful,I resisted th
Lisa Sundvall
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
WARNING! MBU to book lovers who handle their reads like fine china! I have my own litmus test for literature and it’s brutal. When I fall in love with a book, I commit. I am faithful and hands on. Spines will crack as I bend them to my will and pages will wish they had a slicker to shield them from beverages and shower splashes. Yes, (shudder) I take my loves into the shower with me. In the end, a well-loved book will show the wear and tear of my frenzied consumption. Licking the Spoon was no le ...more
Allie Burger
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Candace's memoir had me licking the spoon alongside her, reminding me of watching my own mother bake away sadness by whipping up a batch of her delicious chocolate chip cookies. If I was lucky, I would be given a batter-coated beater to enjoy raw cookie dough, one of my favorite childhood memories. There were many things I could relate to in this book, which had the heartfelt honesty of a zine. Food and dinnertime were very important in my childhood family's life together, and remain so in my fa
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I wanted to like this book. And there were parts of it that I did, and because it's a foodoir, I'm trying to give those parts more credit than the parts where she is an unsympathetic and kind of terrible person, which is why this is a three star rating instead of a two. But that was difficult.

The descriptions of food and meals are, in general, very charming. It's a tasty book, always enjoyable with food. She's a little too fond of cliches for her own good, but if you can overlook tha
Jill Guccini
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a story about being human. It’s about the complex ties of family, about the sometimes cruel world of childhood and the demons that haunt the people you love the most. It’s about doing all those things you’re supposed to do once you finally escape the bubble of home: the alcohol, the drugs, and the exhausting career building in New York City in your 20s, struggling to find a worthy partner who won’t repeat the faults in your heritage. It’s about trying to love and be loved and finding pla ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In her memoir, Licking the Spoon, Candace Walsh has offered us an unflinching account of growing up and past a tumultuous childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. And it is quite a ride.

Ms. Walsh's writing is conversational and intriguing without ever becoming confessional. Many people have said they couldn't put the book down, but there were times I had to stop and take a break because I found the train wreck moments in her life, particularly her childhood, overwhelming, even as she demonst
Samantha Verant
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The second I downloaded Licking the Spoon to my iPad's Kindle application, I started reading, only intending to peruse the first chapter. One chapter soon turned into ten.

Damn, with an Emeril Lagasse BAM, Candace Walsh can write!

I read A LOT of memoirs and hers rose right to the top, like cream. Honestly, there have been a few reads I've wanted to throw across the room — really unadvisable when your "book" is an iPad. Licking the Spoon, though, was different from all of the eye-rolling reads. Ca
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Walsh has a fast-paced and entertaining writing style. Her narrative is strong. Walsh uses food and diet to anchor her memoir. We begin with the food of her grandparents before and after their immigration to the U.S., and continue through the foods of her childhood, the poverty soups of college, and on to the present. While I was tempted to try some of the provided recipes on the spot, this is no mere food memoir - this is a story of the search for self, and is most interesting for typifying the ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was riveted by this book. In fact, this may have been the only good thing about being sick with the grunge this winter: I had the delicious pleasure of reading this fabulous book without interruption!
Candace has a way of cooking up a zesty, spicy story with real, autobiographical ingredients. Thank you for your vulnerability, honesty and your incredible ability to tell an important and inspiring story, Candace.
Samantha Waltz
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Candace Walsh is a gifted writer. This book is filled with wonderful bits of memoir as well as recipes.
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A candid, honest, heartfelt, hilarious, delicious story of a woman's travels to find her voice, her place and herself.
Jennie Goutet
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Kelsey Fagan
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have a confession to make. I totally judge books by their covers. I buy wine based on their labels. I am easily seduced by witty names and creative artistic renderings. I'm a label slut. And I can honestly say that had I come upon Candace Walsh's book by chance, I would have picked it up and bought it immediately. Licking the Spoon? I'm an only child. I ALWAYS got to lick the spoon. And so when my little local island bookstore called to let me know my order had arrived, I took one look at its ...more
Deirdre Keating
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Agnew
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I started reading this book on the plane en route to a funeral. I had no expectations, only a desire to read a book that would captivate me, humor me, and expand my edges. A few days later, I was done with "Licking the Spoon"; I could not put the book down and eagerly read through the pages, discovering as much about myself as about Candace. Candace's honesty and vulnerability captured my heart, pulling me in and along as I read. I am grateful I picked this book and that Candace took the leap to ...more
Rachel Rose
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Candace Walsh has written a delicious memoir. Her recipe for a life well-lived consists of one part unflinching honesty, one part heartache, one part erotic desire, and one part hunger, seasoned with a generous dash of humor. There is so much to admire in this collection, from the family recipes to the achingly beautiful vows she and her beloved exchanged, cooked up from scratch. If I have one bone to pick (all puns intended) it is that this book is too rich a dish: Walsh’s life could easily hav
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
My daughter bought this book for me for Christmas love of cooking, the love of my husband & children & the craziness of my childhood must have drawn her to this book.....There were times in the book where Candace's childhood & my childhood where taking the same path, it was actually scary at times to read it. I loved Candace's story of her life & jobs & relationships, but mostly I connected with her stories of family & food .......she told a very interesting & ...more
Kristin Louise Duncombe
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous whirlwind journey through the emotional development of a person from girlhood to womanhood. Walsh is candid and interesting and tells it like it is in terms of her struggles with complicated family dynamics, self image, eating disorders, and relational struggles, with all sorts of brave exploration of the discovery process of her sexual identity. Of course the culinary thread that runs through the book is also delectable and fun, but I am a lover of memoir before a lover of food lit, ...more
Emily Withnall
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Licking the Spoon was a riveting read - I read most of the book in one sitting! I was most impressed by Candace's ability to speak her truth about people who affected her in negative ways but still clearly remain a presence in her life. This honesty demonstrated the complexity of all the characters as well as an acknowledgement of the author's own shortcomings and her capacity for forgiveness, too. Although I am not a foodie I'm very interested in trying out some of the recipes - especially the ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps because of the familiarity of dysfunction and unending hope, this book hooked me from the start. I lost sleep staying up late to read 'just a little bit more'... About grandmas and grandpas, losses and joys, and especially to savor the foods. The addition of recipes just makes this book even more realistic- the memories are beautifully explained, felt, and visualized, but they attach themselves to your taste buds, too. Candace's beautiful, honest, vulnerable and strong soul comes through ...more
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
I'm so excited that this is the first book I read for the new year!

I couldn't put it down. Candace Walsh's book will suck you in and not spit you out until you finish at 2:30 a.m. The story of how her family pieced together and how food was an integral part of it makes you feel at home. The angst of her youth and young adulthood hold you in thrall and make you want to rush to the end to see how it all turned out. Bonus: recipes throughout and at the end of the book! I can't wait to try some of t
June Kim
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
.."Hammered on Shakti" Candace's descriptive state of mind is one of her many memorable quotes. This is a re-read folks just to pick up the energy she is able to deliver. Spot On and Authentically driven she writes from her heart which pulls you in to hers. Thank god it's booming with so much intensity, I am feeling more aspects of myself because of not only her personal memoir but for how she shares it. Thank you Candace for teaching me to be real without trying!
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Once I started this book I found it very difficult to put it down.... And when I got to the last page I really didn't want it to end. This book turned out to be more than just a foodie's gastronomic journey through different styles of cooking. It is an exploration of emotions, life changes, family history and dynamics, mixed and stirred into the author's relationship and expression with and through food...
Raw at times, bittersweet, beautiful, and inspiring.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this. Walsh's descriptions are good enough to make me intimately familiar with her...reading her book felt like we'd spent the whole night talking over a jug of sangria and plates of ropa vieja. After finishing, I felt like I'd gone to her Nia class, wired and tired, the next day. All at once languorous, fraught, and exhilarating. This book is good. Her recipes round out the story like punctuation. You would definitely miss them if they weren't there.

Loved this story!
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So good, I devoured Licking the Spoon in two sittings. Deftly balancing savory and sweet, this funny and brazenly open-hearted remembrance has page-turner storytelling and an authentic protagonist at the center -- but like the best memoirs it dodges narrative self-indulgence, quietly inspiring without resorting to treacle or didacticism. I haven't enjoyed a "food book" this much since Like Water for Chocolate. And I can't wait to cook with the recipes.
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A compelling read. This is the kind of memoir that draws you in completely. When you reach the end -which happens too soon as you were not able to put it down- you feel like you know the author, and were there with her through the brilliant ups and heartbreaking and/or embarrassing downs. Brutally honest and very well written, this book satisfied the foodie, the avid reader and the linguist in me.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was disappointing. One reviewer said it was like the "eat" part of "Eat, Pray, Love." I disagree. The book was a story of maturation and evolution of a character with whom I never connected or engaged. I kept waiting for it to get enticing. There were snippets --a couple of pages here and there --that I really enjoyed, but can't recommend this to anyone hoping for a good "food lit" read.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this recently on my kindle and was moved by the bravery of the story telling, and the tenderness... as well as the loving attention to family heritage (a passion of mine) and of course the recipes. Life sometimes requires of us some very bold changes... and a book like this can provide inspiration and solace in the midst. A very good read indeed.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Back of the House: The Secret Life of a Restaurant
  • A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
  • How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler's Memoir
  • In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin
  • How to Lose Weight in Your Sleep: Easy No Diet Weight Loss Secrets to Be at Your Dream Weight
  • I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter
  • The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat
  • Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes
  • Before the Rain: A Memoir of Love and Revolution
  • Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker
  • Black Dove: Mamá, Mi'jo, and Me
  • When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love and Revolution
  • Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen
  • Loose End
  • The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love
  • The Girls in My Town: Essays
  • Trauma Queen
  • My Awesome Place: Autobiography of Cheryl Burke
Candace Walsh is the author of Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity (Seal Press, 2012). She is also the editor of two anthologies, Dear John, I Love Jane; and Ask Me About My Divorce, both by Seal Press. She writes the Good Taste column at, and is the managing editor at New Mexico Magazine. She was the features editor at Mothering Magazine for 6 years. She lives ...more