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Spoon Fed...

~Tuesday~ I have completed my fourth book, Spoon Fed, from the 27 Must Have Queer Summer Reads list.

I will be taking a short break from reading a book on the list, as our next Mostly Social Book Club book has been chosen, and it's a whopping 991 pages, to which I'll have to commit a fair amount of time in the coming weeks.

Here's the list—with the ones I've completed in green font—that I'll return to eventually:

  1. We the Animals
  2. The Velvet Rage
  3. Tiger, Tiger
  4. The Swimming Pool Library
  5. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  6. If You Follow Me
  7. Spoon Fed
  8. The Price of Salt
  9. So Many Ways to Sleep Badly
  10. Girl in Need of a Tourniquet
  11. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
  12. Fun Home
  13. Forgetting Elena
  14. Barrel Fever
  15. A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
  16. Eminent Outlaws
  17. Chelsea Girls
  18. Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter
  19. Two Serious Ladies
  20. Funeral Rites
  21. People in Trouble
  22. At Swim, Two Boys
  23. The Year of Ice
  24. Strangers in Paradise
  25. Many Waters
  26. The Song of Achilles
  27. I Am Not Myself These Days

My thoughts and observations about Spoon Fed:

  • It took me a while to get into this book, and in the end, I would have to say that I liked it, but I didn't love it.

  • The biggest issue I had with it was that with a subtitle of "How Eight Cooks Saved My Life," I wanted it to be clear which of the eight cooks I was reading about at what time.

    To me, the best way to make that clear would have been to have the cook's name in the chapter title, or perhaps, start off the fist line of each chapter mentioning the cook we'd be reading about next, or make the recipe at the end of each chapter be the recipe of the cook that was being talked about in that chapter. In other words, employ parallel structure.

    The first three chapter names were: Moose Meat and Raised Waffles, Lemonhead, and Leftovers from the Revolution. So, in the first chapter, the author talks about her mother teaching her to cook, and a cook named Marion Cunningham. When I was finished with that chapter, I wasn't sure if that was one, or two, of the eight cooks she was going to be talking about. That is, I wasn't sure if her mother was going to be one of the eight.

    The author gives one or two recipes at the end of each chapter, and at one point I thought, "Okay, maybe the cook that she's counting is the one whose recipe she includes at the end of the chapter. That theory was blown away when I got to the end of chapter two and there was, like at the end of chapter one, a Marion Cunningham recipe.

  • When it was all said and done, I had to go back to the front inside jacket flap to see who she considered the eight cooks to be: Marion Cunningham, Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Marcella Hazan, Rachael Ray, Edna Lewis, Leah Chase, and Kim's mother Anne-Marie Zappa Severson.

  • Another thing that probably precluded me from liking this book more is that I'm really not interested in cooking, or cooks, and I've never seen anything on The Food Network. (Yes, I am gay, so I know I should be interested, but I'm not. Don't judge!)

    As I mentioned earlier, there was at least one recipe included at the end of each chapter, and I had two reactions to them: 1) Oh my god, that's too long to read, let alone to make, and 2) Yay, that's three pages I can flip through and count as read.

  • A good part of this book was about the fact that this author is a lesbian and a recovering alcoholic, which are two topics that marginally interest me, but don't fascinate me. Plus, the previous book that I read on this last, The Price of Salt, was a "lesbian book." Not that there's anything wrong with lesbian books.

  • The most interesting aspect of the book to me was about her being the food writer for The New York Times, and all that's entailed in that, as well as the parts about when she was the food writer and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle

  • The biggest "nugget" I got out of this book was learning that Rachael Ray has both a food show and a talk show, as several years ago now, I took my parents to New York City, and while we were there, we got tickets to the Rachael Ray Show, which my parents were pretty psyched about, and about whom I knew nothing. It was a talk show. But since then, of course, I also hear about her "cooking show," and I always think, "I really don't remember her doing any cooking on her show when we were in the audience." So that explains that.

When I do return to the list, I'm not sure which book I'll read next, because it depends a lot on which one will be available at the library at the time.

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