Love, Loss, and What We Ate

  • by Padma Lakshmi
  • Narrated by Padma Lakshmi
  • 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Touching, Deep, Surprising, and Inspiring

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.





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- Aishwaryame

Not what I expected

I was immediately surprised at the exceptional narration. Expressive and believable. Padma’s impressions of her mother, other family members, and of her partner Teddy made me smile. She really could have yet another career in narration. I've watched all the episodes of Top Chef--some several times--and knew that she had much knowledge about cooking. She has several nice cookbooks and this book confirms her expertise. I'm not a great fan of Indian food, but Padma’s descriptions of her family’s kitchen and the loving way they prepared the complex dishes compels me to make a list and go to our top-rated Indian restaurant and see if they have them.

Padma’s descriptions of her agonizing endometriosis is wrenching and now I want to re-watch the seasons of Top Chef to try and figure out what was going on in her life at the time certain episodes were filmed. She sure soldiered through them. My only concern with this story is her insecurities. Rushdie seems to be an arrogant misogynist and no matter his intellect, talent, and fame, I cannot fathom her attraction to him. He berated her for claiming to be in pain and he never was happy for her successes. Teddy came across as a lovely, honest, and very older man. Dell is portrayed as a petulant child. Her dalliance with more than one man at a time was unfortunate, yet understandable considering her life events. It’s too bad she got criticized for that. Some call her selfish and calculating. I did not see that in her. Men get away with that every day. (Maybe this is why she wrote the book?) On the other hand, she does admit in the book that she has Daddy Issues, so there you go. It seems weird to me that she does not seem to know what she actually looks like. Who even notices the scar?

A few reviewers were bored with her tales of baby Krishna but I liked hearing what she was fed and why. Her love for her family shines through this entire book. What is lacking: I wanted more information about Top Chef. Still, this is an entertaining and educational listen and is great inspiration to make pickles.
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- Olive

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-08-2016
  • Publisher: HarperAudio