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.
"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)
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I didn't want it to end
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.
- Robert Croft "Hollywood, CA"
An Unexpected Treasure!
- Pam F