Hey all! I just got back from the laying out in the sun by the pool, which can only mean one thing—I’m super relaxed and ready to roll. It’s hot as I don’t know what outside, but it was nice to fiiiinally make it over to the pool. Yep, definitely my first time soaking up the rays this summer. I’ve been missing out for sure!! That’s what happens when you work all the time. ;) Sometimes you just have to get out of your head for a minute and do a whole lot of nothing.
But anyway, let’s talk books. I mentioned in my last Coffee Date post that I had started reading a new book…well, I finished it! The book? Life from Scratch: A memoir of food, family, and forgiveness by Sasha Martin. This book was sooo GOOD! I absolutely could not stop reading, which is how I finished it in about a week. Love when that happens!
I really had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up at the library. I really just loved the title, plus food was involved. What’s not to love? As weird as it may sound, I dislike reading the little book jacket excerpt that says what the book is about, so I skipped doing that and just checked the book out. I suppose I like the element of surprise. Ha!
Also as I mentioned previously, Sasha Martin is the creator of the blog Global Table Adventure. To sum it up real quick—she made 195 recipes from 195 countries in 195 weeks…and blogged all about it. Very, very neat concept!
Contrary to what you might be thinking, this book isn’t really about her blog at all. The reason for her cooking Adventure is evident in the book, and it’s actually really touching. Might I even say heart wrenching?
Considering Life from Scratch is a memoir, it’s really all about her life as a whole. I don’t want to give up the whole book, but let me share just a snippet. Up until the age of 10, Sasha and her brother were raised by their single mother in a small apartment in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. For those first few years of her life, food was everything to her family. Food was the glue that held them together. But then her life crumbled before her eyes…and she didn’t even see it coming.
But you know what? Sasha is resilient. In general, people are resilient. I continue to learn this over and over again—especially in my day job—yet somehow it always amazes me. To think that a person can rebuild themselves and their life, after continuous heartache, is truly very incredible.
All while reading, I felt like I was on this journey back to life right along with Sasha, which says a lot about this book and how it’s written. You can feel her emotions, her emptiness, the loneliness she must have felt growing up. Through it all, you feel her pain.
But near the middle to end of the book, you see Sasha really take hold of her life and you start to feel her joy. She started to change her life once she realized she was responsible for her own happiness. I think that once that realization is made, it’s a lot easier to move forward in life. There comes a point where you really have to learn to forgive—easier said than done—and let go. In other words, you have to free yourself, which only you can do. Definitely a hard lesson to learn, but it’s so, so true.
Food was sprinkled all throughout this book, but I really loved when Sasha began talking about “cooking the world”. At this point, you really get to see her come back to life. Food gave her a sense of community, a sense of belonging, which is really what she’d been searching for her whole life. I think the best part is that food brought her family together, it brought her neighborhood together, and ultimately her city. Truly a very amazing story!
There wasn’t one thing I didn’t love about this book, and I know you’ll feel the same. Not only is food everywhere in this book, there’s also so many yummy recipes. I’ve already marked a few to try! Now I just have to buy the ingredients and get at it.
But until then…how about a few good quotes from Life from Scratch? If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while now then you know that I absolutely love and adore quotes, so let’s get to it!
In those days food was never just sustenance; the very act of cooking knit our disparate lives together. (pg. 49)
Feeling different does not guarantee a different result; one has to act to invite change. (pg. 98)
Addiction isn’t so much about pain as it is insanity. –Shane Koyczan (pg. 108)
I could drink under the trees until my heart was intoxicated enough to think it was full. (pg. 114)
There was no peace in this forced quiet, only stubborn survival. (pg. 123)
You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside of you. –Rwandan proverb (pg. 135)
Sometimes the very act of running entrenches the spirit more than it liberates. (pg. 167)
All you can be is you. Your true self shines with more beauty than your mind can ever know. (pg. 192)
The better part of wisdom is turning failure into victory. You have to complete the transition. (pg. 197)
You just have to unfold your wings and fly. (pg. 197)
When we come back together after challenges, we reveal what we—and our relationships—are made of. (pg. 280)
I just leave the idea alone for a while. A good idea will feed itself and grow. A bad one will disappear—as it should. (pg. 335)
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. (pg. 342)
…the intangible things we all need: acceptance, love, and understanding. (pg. 343)