Debra's Reviews > Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness

Life from Scratch by Sasha Martin
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's review
May 29, 2017

it was amazing
bookshelves: foodie-reads

I was anxious to read Life from Scratch by Sasha Martin. Because she has settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I consider her a local writer. She had the whole food blogger thing going for her, too.

Martin created her blog, Global Table Adventure, to chronicle her Julia/Julie-like quest to cook meals from 195 countries. "On any given day, we might eat a Greek salad with green bean soup from Luxembourg and naan from Afghanistan. Dessert just as well might be Ireland’s famed Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream, as a tropical fruit salad inspired by Rwanda, heavy with banana and avocado (325)."

Along the way she writes Life from Scratch which morphs from an adventure tale of cooking international cuisine to one of examining her family origins and family dynamics.

It’s the family dynamics that take up the first part of the book. In fact there are two memoirs working under the same cover, one of her coming to terms with her unorthodox upbringing and her cooking quest while establishing her own place with her own young family.

I am a firm believer that every family is dysfunctional in its own unique way. Obviously, some are more whacked-out than others. Martin’s mother though, may take the cake.

I wanted to love this book but I had a hard time liking mom. This all being said, I did work past my bias and Martin did have me on the first page with her T.S. Eliot quote:

We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.

“The Little Gidding”—T.S. Eliot

As she described her childhood, I wanted to reach out and give her a hug and comfort her with “Bless your heart.”

Martin’s mother is a free spirit and I had a hard time forgiving her for the destiny she put forth for her daughter. There’s a hippy-dippy quality to her mother that I usual admire in people. Hell, in fact I aspire to hippy-dippiness myself. But, there was something in Martin’s tale as she continued to forgive and forget that I just couldn’t wrap my brain around.

Interlude: I wrote the above paragraph before I had the pleasure of hearing Martin read from her book and personally meeting with her through the writing symposium. Having not experienced the heartache, longing and tragedy that she lived through in her youth, I still can’t imagine forgiveness….. But, I have such respect for the author, her courage, her work and her motivation.

Martin begins her tale by explaining why she doesn’t have fingerprints on two of her fingers. It’s because she grabbed an open broiler at the age of two. This event marks the first time that child services were alerted.

That Martin triumphs over abandonment (more than once) and personal tragedy to forgive her mother should be a lengthy tale. Admiringly, she deals with this through her cooking and food. Ultimately, Martin is a much more forgiving person than I.

I don’t think I could forgive some of the decisions that were made for Martin in her youth.

Sasha, you are a true saint.
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Reading Progress

October 2, 2016 – Shelved
October 2, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
November 15, 2016 – Shelved as: foodie-reads
March 4, 2017 – Started Reading
April 1, 2017 – Finished Reading

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