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How I Learned to Cook

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A collection of writings by women on the tangled bonds they share with their(often) less-than-perfect mothers.

Every woman has something to say on the subject of her mother. In fact, many of us spend our lives trying to figure out just how we are like-or unlike-them. And yet, as intricate as the ties that bind mothers and daughters can be, most women never let go of the d
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Tarcher
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Average rating 3.28  · 
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Greta Slabach
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
So sad that the only essays in here were about dysfunctional mother/daughter relationships...I think it would have been encouraging to have a few essays about how a mother didn't destroy her daughter, just for those of us who are thinking about becoming mothers someday...

However, I understand that this collection was meant to counteract the myth that mothers are these amazing angels that change your life dramatically for the better and that the only people who suffer are those who don't have mo
Hannah Garden
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: may-2017
This book is hardcore. Like don't read this unless you are really working on untangling a mother knot because damn. This shit is heck of raw.
No rating. This book club pick was a tough read, particularly during COVID, but brought about a compassionate and fulfilling dialogue. I deeply admire and am inspired by how brave these women authors have been in writing and sharing their stories, their burdens, their abuse and their truths. Each essay is so well written, but the subject matter is difficult.
Mindy Danylak
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cooking, memoir
every chapter was heart-breaking. some were better written than others. i read this book straight through and quickly, and was exhausted by the time i was done.
May 18, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One star because these stories were so horrible (filled with child abuse, incest, etc.) that I could not continue reading them. This book is not for the faint hearted (and I don't have a faint heart). If you have been abused, incested by your mother than you may find like hearted individuals in these stories but it was way too depressing for myself.
Jenny Mark
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir-biography
Supposedly a collection of stories revolving around complex mother-daughter relationships. I suppose that's true if complex means that the mothers were sociopaths, abusers, addicts, neglectful, suffering from mental illness, unloving, and/or warped human beings. This book was mentally and emotionally exhausting. One thing that stood out was how these women were able to write about their mothers so impassively, as though viewing their horrifying upbringings as mere "episodes" or even quirks. Whil ...more
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Though I loved this book, the other reviewers are correct in stating that they are not for the faint at heart. In this case, "complex" is a synonym for "troubled", and many of the stories depict alcoholism and abuse. That being said, I feel that the majority of the stories are insightful and beautifully written. A couple of the stories focused on specific time periods--the Holocaust, the Red Scare--and while the period took some focus off the mother-daughter relationship, they provided interesti ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biog-autobiog
p.99 - Ruth Kluger
No one is as dependent as mothers are
on the dependency of their children.

p.304 - Kim Chernin
"Enough," he said, speaking to both of us. "Who can come to understanding through a tone like that?"

p.317 - Alice Walker
I've also discovered the world is full of mothers who've done their best and still hurt their daughters: that we have daughters everywhere.

Shocked by the damaged people of the early sections, I didn't clearly see those who came later.
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
if you love short stories as i do and especially if you are a daughter, you will love this book -- for one because it will remind you of your own life, experience and mother; so it will comfort you. and two, it will show you how imperfectly perfect and thus wonderful your own mother is and hence reading this book will make you be grateful for your own mother; it will make you feel relieved and blessed for having just her, just the way she is. : )
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
This collection of stories was not very compelling; it failed to move me to any emotion. I didn't feel like any author's story resonated with my own experience (like "Oh, someone else went through that with their mother too"). The collection is not large enough to organize around themes, like, body image, control issues, sexuality, career. A thematic organization would have made the book more interesting.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
It's a great anthology with fantastic writers, but when the subtitle said it was about "complex" mother-daughter relationships, I expected heartwarming stories about growing up or something. This was mostly about abuse in all its forms, and the stories were extremely disturbing. "Complex?" Try "warped."
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is a peek around the curtains and into the lives of others. And in the reflections of their stories we may better understand the complexities of our relationships with the figures whose ether authority ruled our childhoods and shaped our experiences with the world. Cathartic.
Jul 15, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked some of the stories, but at least half of them left me with the thought of "what was the point of that?".
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good book, although some of the stories are hard to read because they are heavy with neglect and abuse. Great writing though.
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I thought it would be more "cheery" and lighthearted than this. Perhaps my fault for not fully reading the insert. Dark, sad, and definitely not a cooking related collection of short stories!
Stacy Trevino
rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2017
MacKenzie Hamon
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Sep 09, 2015
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Feb 18, 2009
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Aug 07, 2007
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Jan 18, 2012
rated it it was ok
Dec 11, 2007
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Nov 30, 2014
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Oct 10, 2015
Lisa Vegan
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Jun 04, 2007
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Jul 25, 2007
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Apr 12, 2007
Diana Band
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Jan 08, 2013
May 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Very dark. Cover photo is misleading.
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