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Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness

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3.8  ·  Rating details ·  3,204 Ratings  ·  430 Reviews
Witty, warm, and poignant, food blogger Sasha Martin's memoir about cooking her way to happiness and self-acceptance is a culinary journey like no other.
 
Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook—and eat—a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and hear
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by National Geographic
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Theresa Garton I was at a book signing a month ago - she was still in Tulsa at that point! Ava is adorable, and Keith is handsome and supportive. ;)

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Petra X
This is a book about Sasha's terrible childhood that she's never got over and goes on about endlessly. I didn't really feel she had forgiven her mother for having given her and her brother away (and thereby been the cause of her brother's suicide) but that she wanted her mother in her life enough to put it to one side. The mother comes off looking good with a strong personality and sense of style and you would scarcely believe how self-centred she was, just what little concern she had for her ch ...more
Melodie
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Our relationship with food is complicated. Never is that more clear than with this memoir of a young woman's journey to self acceptance. The author chronicles her life with some of the recipes from her childhood and most from her career as a food blogger.
Like most of us, her life's journey is complicated.And she finds herself leaning too heavily on others for support. Finding her own footing and becoming emotionally self sufficient is the task she struggles with.As her adult life evolves, so d
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Raquel Fagan
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I picked up Sasha Martin’s book, Life From Scratch, I wasn’t sure what I was in for. Is it a cookbook? Is it an autobiography? Within seconds of reading, the beauty of the story cleared my senses and opened my eyes to what I hope is the next trend in cookbooks...the story behind the food. Food is life, so connecting Martin's life story to her recipes helped me envision these delicious dishes in brand new ways. It inspired me to cook as much as it invited me into Martin’s kitchen. Martin's w ...more
Rebecca Foster
I like reading a chapter or two of a ‘foodoir’ (as Sandra Gilbert dubbed foodie memoirs in The Culinary Imagination) over weekday lunches. Martin writes well and I enjoyed this book overall, but at times you may become frustrated and ask “where’s the food?!” That’s because the makeup of this book is: Misery Memoir – 70% / Global Table Adventure blog – 30%.

Here’s the misery memoir bit (skip if uninterested):

Martin never remembered her father; she and her brother Michael grew up in Boston with the
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Brenda
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
On the surface, Sasha Martin’s memoir is about cooking her way around the world and the process of blogging about it. But more than that, this book is about how the author puzzles through the hand she had been dealt, complete with a difficult childhood, and the road to making peace with herself and her life largely through food and cooking.
Sasha’s book put me in mind of the writings of Jeannette Walls and Ruth Reichl, as well as Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Her writing is clear and conversational. Th
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Wendy
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, b-i-n-g-o
Sasha Martin writes about her tragic childhood and her road to overcoming and finding peace as she blogs about cooking dishes from every country in the world. I found her writing style engaging and easy to read, and I identified with her thoughts on community and happiness. 4.5 stars
Deb
Read for Cook the Books virtual foodie bookclub
Probably 3.5 stars total --3 for the first half and 4 for the second half.

Review Excerpt:

"Life From Scratch was an interesting book for me. I found myself avoiding reading it for the first half-ish of the book because Sasha Martin's depiction of her childhood and the many adults who let her down during it--starting with her mother who essentially abandons her children to the foster care of friends, and combined with the suicide of her beloved brothe
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Ananya Ghosh
This is not a book that I intended to read. I was looking up for something else in goodreads when the title caught my eye at the recommendations column. Growing up, I never had a loving relationship with food or cooking. To me, cooking was a burden borne by women as a norm of patriarchal society. Food made me fat, so hiding at girl’s toilet to avoid breakfast was my accomplishment in boarding school. However, over the years my perception towards cooking and eating has changed to a degree where I ...more
Bookworm
May 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Mostly memoir, with food recipes sprinkled in. When I first heard about this, I thought it sounded like a fascinating read. A food blogger's memoirs of her childhood and what led her to food blogging recipes from around the world? Sounds fascinating!
 
Unfortunately, that wasn't it. It took FOREVER for me to get this book from the library, and so I was thrilled when I finally got it. Since it had been so long I hadn't remembered what drew me to the book in the first place and I read it without bot
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Bob Schnell
Advanced Reading Copy review Projected publication date March 3, 2015

I'm sorry to say this is more of a 2.5 star review. I'm a bit of a sucker for food memoirs and was excited to receive a copy of this at a recent Book Buzz in NYC. The sales pitch revolved around a woman who decided to cook a meal from every country on Earth over the course of 195 weeks. "Great", I thought "I have a friend who is doing a very similar thing for her family, let's compare." I did not know that the author was alread
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Kathleen
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this mostly in one sitting while stuck in a quiet hairdresser's chair. I found myself closing the book and taking periodic breaks because of the sheer intensity of food blogger Sasha Martin's childhood, detailed in this memoir.

Martin writes well, and her story is beyond compelling. Her mother is, to put it kindly, a piece of work -- but Martin's love for her shines through, even while her free-spirited mother makes a series of disastrous choices.

You can feel the mercy in Martin's writing
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Kelly
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I first found Sasha's blog some years ago and as I read through her posts each week, I always had questions. This book answered those question. I finally got to understand the lady behind the blog.

She writes about an almost unbelievable childhood that has you quickly flipping the pages to find out what will happen next. I loved her writing style and it was hard to put the book down as I wanted - no, needed - to know where life would take her next. There are recipes included along the way but ma
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Kelly Coyle-Crivelli
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book of love, forgiveness and great food. What's not to love?
Kels Fidler
Title: Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family and Forgiveness

Author: Sasha Martin

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Nonfiction; memoir

Series: N/A

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

This book was given to me by the publisher, National Geographic, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I love memoirs, but particularly, I love memoirs about food. I could read food porn all day. Even though I live in Ohio, (I know, not a very big place for haute cuisine. Lol.) food is one of my great loves. That's ini
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Isabel
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books that I found myself reading at stoplights, on the elevator at work, any spare moment I could find. The book is one part The Glass Castle, one part Julie and Julia, with a twist of Gourmet magazine to finish it off. It has very little to do with the culinary adventure associated with cooking the world and, while it includes recipes, it's decidedly not a cookbook.

This is the story of what leads Sasha Martin to explore world cuisine and ultimately find the connections an
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Brandie
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brandie by: Carol Anne Pagliotti
Sasha Martin's book Life from Scratch is a book that is both wonderful, fascinating, and heart breaking.

Martin did not have the easiest childhood. It seems that challenge after challenge plagued her and her family. And yet, at the same time, she was living a fantasy life: spending time in France and other countries. Seemingly having everything. And yet, having nothing.

But her earliest memories are being in the kitchen with her mother. And as she grows, she is able to reconnect through food and
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Irene
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is one more memoir of a difficult growing up followed by a successful struggle to find happiness and personal fulfillment. Sasha’s triumph comes in the form of a popular food blog featuring international recipes which culminates in a public banquet with a dish from every country of the globe. I think I have read too many of these types of memoirs because this did not impress me, neither in the life story nor in the writing.
Sue Dix
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I seem to give a lot of books five stars, but the ones I've read recently deserve them. This was a wonderful, warm and tasty read. Although the author's childhood was a trifle hard to read about at times, the book ends with her having found the contentment that she sought. That makes the book sound simplistic, but it is a rich, complex read. I highly recommend it.
Jackie
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book! I couldn't put it down! Finished it in one day!
Vivian
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author's narrative of her life drew me in from her introduction right through to her last page. I loved her mother's practical and empowering child rearing philosophy. I kept having to stop and read aloud sections to anyone handy.

Here's an example found in chapter 1 "Living Room Kitchen", page 24. (I'll leave out paragraphs and quotation marks) "I must have been five when I told Mom that I wanted to make the roast lamb I'd seen Julia make on T.V. OK, she said, Write down what we need to do.
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Erin
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I heard Sasha Martin speak at my local bookstore recently. Prior to that, I didn't know anything about her and had never visited her food blog. In person, she was down-to-Earth, funny, warm and cautiously open about the struggle that had gone into writing this book. It was clear she had a story to tell, and it wasn't just about food.

This author had a hell of a childhood. Reading this book reminded me of reading The Glass Castle, where you just want to shake the adults who are totally failing the
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Cassandra
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
The writing was good. But I felt like I was mislead about the story. The description says: "Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook—and eat—a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures."

I expected the book to be about 195 weeks
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Kylara Jensen
I had to skim a lot of this book.

This lady had such a tragic past.

I want more of the trials and tribulations/journey of cooking a meal from every country of the world and less about the author's tragic childhood.

This book should really be re-marketed as more of a straight memoir.
Jan
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is part personal memoir and part food memoir. The author had a turbulent childhood, with an unconventional mother whose parenting practices ultimately resulting in her two children being put in foster care and then being sent to live with friends. This part of the book is very good and a compelling read. Once the author marries and starts a family, it becomes a much more conventional story. The author begins a blog and starts cooking recipes from around the world, some of which are fea ...more
Megan Treseder
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I didn't give it a 4 because I just wasn't as interested in the second half of the book. By far, the most riveting part is the first half that focuses on her heartbreaking but very absorbing childhood. There's lots of good stuff to discuss here about parenting, family, and forgiveness. The part about her blog for some reason just wasn't as interesting, though I'm excited to try out some of her recipes. Perhaps I just never saw the connection between her upbringing and needing to try a ...more
Amanda Snow
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I loved the last 1/4 of the book -- the actual food part -- and wish it had been woven throughout the the rest of the text. If past and present were written together, rather than a chronological telling of the author's life, with the food memoir part shoved in at the end, I would have really enjoyed it. The writing was very good and I think the author had a story that needed to be told, but the way it was presented was definitely not "food memoir."
Dee
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015
interesting, but I wish more time was devoted to the actual cooking around the world; I also thought she lost track of why she started the cooking around the world and got caught up in getting it done; there were a few places, where I just wanted to scream, stop and cook that country again; or take your time...
Marlene
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life From Scratch

This memoir was at times sad, depressing and uplifting. This was the author's life and at the end of it I felt like she was a friend. I liked her way of telling her story interspersed with food and recipes pertinent to the story.
Jenny Kim
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Overall this is Meh. I'll give it 1.5 stars.

I read just over 200 pages before I put the book down.
It is more autobiography than food lit. Mediocre writing and gliding over subject matters introduced in first 1/3 of the book didn't sit well with me.
Deb
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Another "memoir" from a food blogger who had a rough upbringing, finds food, finds love, finds fulfillment. Interesting concept for her blog and I'll go check that out, though. Not bad at all, just not great.
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SASHA MARTIN is an award-winning writer and blogger who spent almost four years cooking her way around the world. She graduated from Wesleyan University and was an MFK Fisher Scholar at the Culinary Institute of America. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Keith and their daughter Ava.

Sasha's work has been featured on NPR, as well as in Whole Living, Bon Appetit, The Smithsonian, The Hu
...more
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“Happiness is not a destination: Being happy takes constant weeding, a tending of emotions and circumstances as they arise. There’s no happily ever after, or any one person or place that can bring happiness. It takes work to be calm in the midst of turmoil. But releasing the need to control it—well, that’s a start.” 10 likes
“I don’t think the homesickness of a perpetual wanderer can ever be quenched.” 3 likes
More quotes…