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Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  643 ratings  ·  137 reviews
A story of food and love, injury and healing, Keeping the Feast is the triumphant memoir of one couple's nourishment and restoration in Italy after a period of tragedy, and the extraordinary sustaining powers of food, family, and friendship.

Paula and John met in Italy, fell in love, and four years later, married in Rome. But less than a month after the wedding, tragedy
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 18th 2010 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  643 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Nov 09, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Butturini writes beautifully about food and the power and influence of gathering at the table. She shares childhood memories of meals in addition to how she prepared food as a way to preserve her own sanity, preserve some kind of normalcy in life when everything seems so abnormal, and nourish her husband's body and spirit as he battled depression. Her observations about food and the table made me thankful once again for every minute I've invested in meal prep for our large family. But ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the idea of cooking
Recommended to Mary by: Mayborn Nonfiction Literary Conference 2009
Shelves: memoir
I read Keeping the Feast after hearing the author speak at a conference. She talked about writing and cooking to cure depression. Something about that combination of topics intrigued me, but I didn't begin her book for a year. Once started, I read through in a couple of days. The paragraphs below are from my blog that I wrote the minute I finished the book.

"Having just finished reading Paula Butturini’s Keeping the Feast, food is much on my mind. Butturini peppered that memoir of her years in th
Lucille Zimmerman
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this book a year ago and was touched by the author's ability to paint a picture of trauma and the ensuing depression that often follows. Shortly after suffering her own tragedy while involved in overseas reporting, her husband becomes victim of his own tragedy.

I was impressed by Butturini's ability to keep her hope in the midst of such loss and despair. Intuitively she knows what they both need. She moves them to Rome where the sunshine, quietness, and the mundane activies of shopping, p
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Being in Rome during the best of times as young career professionals, then returning to Rome as beat-up, bruised and battered Americans from an assignment to Warsaw, Poland shows the eternal city as friend and healer. We hope to be in Rome later this year and expect to love what Paula Butturini describes in her memoir: fine light, fresh food and much to appreciate in our surroundings. Five days is a good start.
Jan 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Paula Butturini grew up in a very Italian family, where everyone came together at the end of the day to share a good meal and stories. She held tight to this tradition through moves across the US and Europe, through a marriage and early divorce, through the shattering knowledge that her mother suffered from severe depression. When Butturini met John Tagliabue- a reporter for the New York Times- in Rome, she was grateful to have finally found someone who seemed to truly understand her, so
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
Here's my review for AP:
¶ "Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy" (Riverhead Books, 272 pages, $25.95), by Paula Butturini: Foreign correspondents Paula Butturini and John Tagliabue had been married less than a month when Tagliabue was shot while covering the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaucescu in Romania.
¶ Butturini got the news on Christmas Eve. It took days for her to get to Romania and to have her husband airlifted by the Red Cross to Munich. There, a doctor to
Dana Slaughter
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jade Keller
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
While on assignment in Rome, Paula Butturini, a foreign correspondent for UPI, met John Tagliabue, himself a correspondent for the New York Times. Talking for hours over meals they loved cooking as much as eating, they fell in love (John later confessed, " I knew very quickly that wherever you were would be home."). Little did they suspect when John was reassigned as the Warsaw bureau chief and Paula was hired by the Chicago Tribune as their Eastern European correspondent that their lives would ...more
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Paula Butturini writes of her family’s struggles with depression: her mother had bouts of depression all of her life before committing suicide when she was in her seventies, and Paula’s husband lapsed into a debilitating depression after recovering from a life-threatening gunshot wound sustained while reporting in Romania shortly after their marriage. Through it all, the simple, basic acts of cooking and eating lent a sense of normalcy to their days, and provided a framework upon which to live a ...more
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I went to see Paula at Brazos Books last week because she is a college classmate. I read the book becuase her story in that hour last week sounded compelling. The book is remarkable. The events of her life, with her journalist husband and her own journalistic assignments, have not been easy. The grace with which she handled the various crises is admirable. And the strength of the book is its offer of an example of a family that has faced the depths of depression and come out the other side, back ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Butturini writes about food beautifully...and abundantly...and as someone who loves words and loves food, I could appreciate her sensuous imagery...for awhile. Both the accounts of meals and her family's struggles with her husband's depression (albeit heartbreaking and real)became repetitive after awhile. In some cases, she used the exact same descriptive words and phrases within pages of each other. I did enjoy the flashbacks to her childhood of various food-centric events and will adopt the te ...more
May 08, 2013 added it
Interesting ... but I wouldn't say thrilling. Paula Butturini married John Tagliabue (famous NYTimes reporter) in mid life. She had just received a terrible beating while covering the Prague revolution; they were married for 3 weeks when he was shot by a sniper while covering the Romanian revolution. It was a very major injury and trigged a deep depression. They solved it all through time / patience / and very good Italiann food living in Italy. It's a quick read. A good lesson that one can trav ...more
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up as much for the cover as any other reason. Fully believing I had in my had a different boo by pretty much the same name.

The subject matter is not the easiest to read, but I highly recommend the book. Especially if you are any kind of foodie.

I learned a few things, and got many ideas for what I should be cooking...

Paula's thoughts and style put me in mind of Judith Jones. Food & meals can be the main track that keeps a person/family/household on an even keel.

Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is rare to find a memoir on Italy that doesn't fall into the world of cliche. This book manages to discuss food, Italy, and family and keep it fresh and interesting the whole way through.

Not only that, but she is able to present a powerful story about the devastating effects of depression on a family. At times sad, the author is able to make us feel the difficult times that her family faces but also allows us to feel joy and peace with them as they overcome with the help of friends, faith an
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
A slow read. I liked the descriptions of Italy and the food. But sometimes the writing was a little loose and could have been edited a little more tightly, IMHO. The story dragged a little (especially the slow recovery and the depression) and it seemed to take me forever to read, but I liked it well enough.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book I highly recommend. Bone-baring honesty shines the light on life's problems that visit us all. At once it carries a beautifully coordinated theme of family, love and tradition through food, counterpointed with the pain of trauma, depression and disappointment. Warning: reading this book may bring about cravings for not only food, but a trip or two to Rome.
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you, like me, wanted "Eat Pray Love" to end after the "eat" portion, this is your book. "Keeping the Feast" is a beautifully written food memoir about loving someone battling depression. In many ways, it felt like "The Year of Magical Thinking" meets "Under the Tuscan Sun." I'm glad I stumbled across this one and took my time reading it.
Meg Marie
Feb 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Another food/life memoir that made me want to travel and stuff my face full of food. The author and her husband are both reporters in Europe in the early 90s and suffer a series of on the job injuries, and heal through food and therapy.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. Magnificently written with courage, grace and overwhelming inspiration. The author tells of the pleasures of eating and cooking while encountering depression and tragedy. I was left deeply moved and I will never forget this book.
Sue Flanagan
Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it
True story of a reporter that was shot and his long battle back to health. Big part of book was author' husbands fight with depression. Book was a bit tedious but descriptions of food were phenomenal...really made me want to cook, which is pretty close to a miracle!
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that must be savored. The lives described and shared must be absorbed slowly into your soul. They must be appreciated for their resilience. We all need to keep the may save us.
Jill Upchurch
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
It read like a self-involved therapeutic diary, which i guess is basically what it is. the writing and construction are not enough to cover the "who cares?" factor.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
Slightly jarring combination of food memoir and depression/injury memoir. 2.5 stars
Melissa Bowen
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hungry
This was just a lovely book. A beautiful, touching memoir of recovery from disaster. I marvel at the author's patience and tenacity.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Wasn't as upbeat & Romantic as I thought...Loved all the "food" talk, references etc. The Depression bouts were Depressing!! But an interesting read! ...more
Denise Grinols
Jul 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I loved the parts about Italy and the food.
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book on the power of food, rituals, and love in the wake of depression. I didn't expect much from the book, but ended up really liking it.
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Nice story, just wish it had more detail and more specific stories.
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ending felt a bit rushed?
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