A vivid memoir of food and family, survival and triumph, Love, Loss, and What We Ate traces the arc of Padma Lakshmi's unlikely path from an immigrant childhood to a complicated life in front of the camera - a tantalizing blend of Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone and Nora Ephron's Heartburn.
Long before Padma Lakshmi ever stepped onto a television set, she learned that how we eat is an extension of how we love, how we comfort, how we forge a sense of home - and how we taste the world as we navigate our way through it. Shuttling between continents as a child, she lived a life of dislocation that would become habit as an adult, never quite at home in the world. And yet, through all her travels, her favorite food remained the simple rice she first ate sitting on the cool floor of her grandmother's kitchen in South India.
Poignant and surprising, Love, Loss, and What We Ate is Lakshmi's extraordinary account of her journey from that humble kitchen, ruled by ferocious and unforgettable women, to the judges' table of Top Chef and beyond. It chronicles the fierce devotion of the remarkable people who shaped her along the way, from her headstrong mother, who flouted conservative Indian convention to make a life in New York, to her Brahmin grandfather - a brilliant engineer with an irrepressible sweet tooth - to the man seemingly wrong for her in every way who proved to be her truest ally. A memoir rich with sensual prose and punctuated with evocative recipes, it is alive with the scents, tastes, and textures of a life that spans complex geographies both internal and external.
Love, Loss, and What We Ate is an intimate and unexpected story of food and family - both the ones we are born to and the ones we create - and their enduring legacies.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2016 Padma Lakshmi (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
"The host of 'Top Chef' narrates her memoir as if she's telling her story to a trusted friend. She sounds expressive and vulnerable--revealing mistakes with a tone of regret, letting her love shine through the voices she creates for beloved family members, and enthusing about her passion for food, fashion, and travel." (AudioFile)
Padma's narration was the best choice for this book.
Padma's tone is absolutely honest and stark. She bares her soul and I connected immediately. It was comforting to learn about her challenges in life, the many difficult obstacles thrown her way and how she coped. I found similarities in her challenges and the obstacles in my life. I felt that she was verbalizing what I'd felt it these times- I could connect to her experiences.This gave me strength. I could relate to the way she felt after her divorce. The loneliness and shock, the emotional pain and exhaustion, the frustration of being misunderstood I related to all of it even though I've not been married. As an actress I could relate to her work and its' challenges. This was very refreshing. I was hopeful and glad to learn about the rock Teddy was to Padma, the partner I hope to have by our side. His character and heart were a big inspiration. I admired his unwavering support of her and his lighthearted flexibility/sense of humor. I cried about his passing. As an immigrant to the United States I relate to Padma's experiences of belonging and not, to her observations. Her narration brought me close to her experience. I salute her courage to tell her story in such great intimate detail without flinching. My life has been enriched by a stranger whom, apart from seeing occasionally on tv and billboards I had no knowledge of or interest in. The title and Salman Rushdie reference grabbed my attention, but it was a clip of an interview with her promoting the book that really made me look up the book. So glad it was available on Audible.
Padma Lakshmi is a timeless teacher. I am profoundly moved and grateful to her for this experience. She is a noble and generous female spirit.
I might even insist my friends read it! This story is not even similar to any story that has been told before.
The author has the most generous heart,in making all of the other characters come to life and seem magical, without ever drawing your attention on her, after the first two chapters. In an odd way, the entire story at the end, seems not be about her at all, but about all of the others that crossed her path. The fact that she was able to take in so much about the people, the environments, the particles of humanity, inhumanity, systems, traditions, rituals symbols and cultures makes is remarkable. It is as if she was constantly doing the math and coming to the sum total and putting it all neatly in a column for review. To pass on, to you. Difficult not to think of them all as favorite characters.
There is a sincerity in her voice that is so full of truth, and an even sanity in her telling, without her own attitudes entwined in the telling, you forget you are reading (in this case, listening). She does not stand in between you and story with her own emotion. It is a very clear narration wherein you forget she is there because she is not imposing on you. If that makes any sense at all. She leaves you to have your experience with the story.
Yes, became very disturbed when I had to recharge my ipod.
The book got off very slow for me right in the beginning. Sounded perhaps like a magazine article for the first few minutes. Once it went beyond her describing her physical illness, this book just took off like a Rudyard Kipling novel! As if she found her voice, that fast, boom! The stories of her youth in India, the way she brings you into the space of the people she describes, you can see them, smell them and yes, even feel them. By chapter five I was well, kind of shocked! As a constant cooking student, I watched many episodes of top chef while peeling potatoes and preparing meals. Her book, her story and her life are so much bigger than that show. I have never so wrongly underestimated someone in my life.
This was such a lovely and unexpectedly warm, and grace - filled book. I'd always sensed there was more to Padma Lakshmi than a beautiful face, and a knack for food.
Yes, The story is engaging and the narration is wonderful.
Although told from the authors point of view, she rarely makes excuses, admitting her faults and mistakes
It is her voice, her story.
Beautifully written, unflinching, and worthwhile. Plus now all I want to eat are grilled cheese and green chili sandwiches. Seriously, it has become a problem, I am grateful to the author for introducing me to the recipe, but I can't seem to stop.
I wasn't sure what to expect. I hadn't needed to fret. Padma tells her story in such a way that you are drawn in deeply. She uses immense respect to describe and include, those affected or involved in her life. Her descriptions of scenery, scents and tastes are marvelous. Nicely written. Thank you for sharing your story.
I bought this book kind of "by mistake" when I inadvertently clicked on it. I thought about returning it but since I am a firm believer in the 'messages we receive from the Universe', I didn't, and I am very happy that I kept it.
This lady's story is very touching and one that many women -and men- can relate to.
To be frank, it even brought me to tears a couple of times, but then again, it was also joyful and entertaining, and may I say, a little bit of a reality check.
The appendix to her story was a surprise, and I was also very happy that she included a pdf with some delicious recipes.
She has a soft, nice voice which makes it a very enjoyable listen.
I do recommend Padma Lakshmi's book.
I listened to this book on audio while spending time driving. I really enjoyed her journey and I now want to go find an authentic Indian store to stock up on spices and ingredients.
I wish Padma much happiness during the rest of life's journey.
I would say my three words would be interesting, informative & surprising.
There were just so many things I didn't know about Padma and I loved hearing her story in her voice.
I haven't read or heard anything by Padma Lakshmi.
I just loved hearing about her family in India.
Padma's story and relationships were all new to me. She has led a most interesting life. Prior to listening to her story I only knew her from Top Chef. I certainly didn't know about her romantic life.
I found it to be predictable and more of a factual chronological telling of someone's life. I wanted to feel it with sensory details and also to get a sense of the unique meaning and purpose of her life. I just did not find anything special that set her life apart in a way that contributes to art, culture or a deeper understanding of the human condition. I made 3 hours in before giving up.
The writing was average and I think for a memoir to be interesting there must be some kind of focal point, point of view or voice that is intriguing.
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