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Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity

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Recipes and cookbooks, meals and mouthfuls have framed the way Candace Walsh sees the world for as long as she can remember, from her frosting-spackled childhood to her meat-eschewing college years to her post-college phase as a devoted Martha Stewart's "Entertaining" disciple. In "Licking the Spoon, " Walsh tells how, lacking role models in her early life, she turned to c Recipes and cookbooks, meals and mouthfuls have framed the way Candace Walsh sees the world for as long as she can remember, from her frosting-spackled childhood to her meat-eschewing college years to her post-college phase as a devoted Martha Stewart's "Entertaining" disciple. In "Licking the Spoon, " Walsh tells how, lacking role models in her early life, she turned to cookbook authors real and fictitious (Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, Mollie Katzen, Daniel Boulud, and more) to learn, unlearn, and redefine her own womanhood. Through the lens of food, Walsh recounts her life's journey--from unhappy adolescent to straight-identified wife and mother to divorcee in a same-sex relationship--and she throws in some dishy revelations, a-ha moments, take-home tidbits, and mouth-watering recipes for good measure. A surprising and rambunctiously liberating tale of cooking and eating, loving and being loved, "Licking the Spoon" is the story of how--accompanied by pivotal recipes, cookbooks, culinary movements, and guides--one woman learned that you can not only recover but blossom after a comically horrible childhood if you just have the right recipes, a little luck, and an appetite for life's next meal.


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Recipes and cookbooks, meals and mouthfuls have framed the way Candace Walsh sees the world for as long as she can remember, from her frosting-spackled childhood to her meat-eschewing college years to her post-college phase as a devoted Martha Stewart's "Entertaining" disciple. In "Licking the Spoon, " Walsh tells how, lacking role models in her early life, she turned to c Recipes and cookbooks, meals and mouthfuls have framed the way Candace Walsh sees the world for as long as she can remember, from her frosting-spackled childhood to her meat-eschewing college years to her post-college phase as a devoted Martha Stewart's "Entertaining" disciple. In "Licking the Spoon, " Walsh tells how, lacking role models in her early life, she turned to cookbook authors real and fictitious (Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, Mollie Katzen, Daniel Boulud, and more) to learn, unlearn, and redefine her own womanhood. Through the lens of food, Walsh recounts her life's journey--from unhappy adolescent to straight-identified wife and mother to divorcee in a same-sex relationship--and she throws in some dishy revelations, a-ha moments, take-home tidbits, and mouth-watering recipes for good measure. A surprising and rambunctiously liberating tale of cooking and eating, loving and being loved, "Licking the Spoon" is the story of how--accompanied by pivotal recipes, cookbooks, culinary movements, and guides--one woman learned that you can not only recover but blossom after a comically horrible childhood if you just have the right recipes, a little luck, and an appetite for life's next meal.

30 review for Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity

  1. 5 out of 5

    Corbyn Hightower

    Like Eat, Pray, Love for the un-yogafied and un-sanctimonious set, Candace's memoir took me on her journey of self-discovery without the cliches that implies. I'm not a "foodie" and can barely pour a bowl of cereal, but the marriage of cuisine to experiences didn't disrupt my enjoyment . . . rather, it added to the sensory description of the key emotional moments. There aren't any neat little bows tied here. The author is graceful enough to resist them. What is there: a million little moments whe Like Eat, Pray, Love for the un-yogafied and un-sanctimonious set, Candace's memoir took me on her journey of self-discovery without the cliches that implies. I'm not a "foodie" and can barely pour a bowl of cereal, but the marriage of cuisine to experiences didn't disrupt my enjoyment . . . rather, it added to the sensory description of the key emotional moments. There aren't any neat little bows tied here. The author is graceful enough to resist them. What is there: a million little moments when something is realized, when an epiphany comes, a heart sinks, a lust is ignited, or a head shakes "no" in sad observation. And the delicate dance of the author's first kiss with her now-wife is profoundly affecting, and worth the price of admission alone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Disclaimer: I wanted to like this book. And there were parts of it that I did, and because it's a foodoir, I'm trying to give those parts more credit than the parts where she is an unsympathetic and kind of terrible person, which is why this is a three star rating instead of a two. But that was difficult. The descriptions of food and meals are, in general, very charming. It's a tasty book, always enjoyable with food. She's a little too fond of cliches for her own good, but if you can overlook tha Disclaimer: I wanted to like this book. And there were parts of it that I did, and because it's a foodoir, I'm trying to give those parts more credit than the parts where she is an unsympathetic and kind of terrible person, which is why this is a three star rating instead of a two. But that was difficult. The descriptions of food and meals are, in general, very charming. It's a tasty book, always enjoyable with food. She's a little too fond of cliches for her own good, but if you can overlook that, the food bits are enjoyable. Everything else though... I don't feel a shred of sympathy for the author. None. She writes like a sociopath, devoid of normal human emotions or sympathy for anyone. Once she talked about "losing her life as she expected it to unfold" and that's why she was so sad about September 11th. Not the loss of life, nor the terror of Americans in general and New Yorkers in particular, but because she didn't get her way. Seriously?! There were several similarly offensive revelations, which is what brought me to dislike it so much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily Haozous

    When I was in the 3rd grade my teacher used to tell me about how he would force himself to put a book down so he could savor the story for just a few more days. I think he was trying to tell me to stop with the speed reading already, but at the time I just thought he was crazy- so many books, so little time! But now, with some adult living under my belt, and some really bad books behind me (Hello, Twilight series?), I have a little more appreciation for what Mr. Trujillo was trying to teach me. When I was in the 3rd grade my teacher used to tell me about how he would force himself to put a book down so he could savor the story for just a few more days. I think he was trying to tell me to stop with the speed reading already, but at the time I just thought he was crazy- so many books, so little time! But now, with some adult living under my belt, and some really bad books behind me (Hello, Twilight series?), I have a little more appreciation for what Mr. Trujillo was trying to teach me. Licking the Spoon definitely deserves savoring. At first, I found myself closing the covers after a chapter, setting it aside so I could delay gratification and not power through the whole thing in a few nights, but by chapter 14 I couldn't help myself. Sleep, be damned, I had to keep going until I was done. Candace's story is rich and engaging, and her writing is compelling, fun, and entertaining. Candace gives context to her struggles, is appropriate in her levity where needed, and creates a story and characters that are relatable and interesting without being irritating. Where some authors might run the risk of singing the woes of the First World Problems Memoirists Club, Candace tells the universal stories of love, heartbreak, family, and finding one's place in the world.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

    LTS, was my vacation read, but before that, it was my car read. By that I mean the book I keep in the car for when I have to wait. Each bit sized section was a morsel to savor and contemplate. Journeying with Candace through her youth, her genealogical search , her at the apron strings remembrances was perfect fodder for my parent brain as I sat waiting for my daughter's school to let out for the day. It was all I could do not to finish it during the week up to my vacation. Thankful,I resisted th LTS, was my vacation read, but before that, it was my car read. By that I mean the book I keep in the car for when I have to wait. Each bit sized section was a morsel to savor and contemplate. Journeying with Candace through her youth, her genealogical search , her at the apron strings remembrances was perfect fodder for my parent brain as I sat waiting for my daughter's school to let out for the day. It was all I could do not to finish it during the week up to my vacation. Thankful,I resisted the urge to rip through it. Like waiting for dessert, the second half of the book was a decadent treat worth the restraint. The tales of her wild and high life as a magazine editor in New York, her adventures in mommyland, the rough road of marriage and then an unexpected turn at the close made this a wonderful read. Every stop on her personal journey had a sensual food to complement it. It was like a cross country road trip but instead of fights with your co-pilot and greasy spoons the reader gets heartfelt revelation and gourmet picnics of cheese and wine. Read this book while waiting, while on vacation, or while struggling with your own journey. However your reading time unfolds, just read LTS. It is a great read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Sundvall

    WARNING! MBU to book lovers who handle their reads like fine china! I have my own litmus test for literature and it’s brutal. When I fall in love with a book, I commit. I am faithful and hands on. Spines will crack as I bend them to my will and pages will wish they had a slicker to shield them from beverages and shower splashes. Yes, (shudder) I take my loves into the shower with me. In the end, a well-loved book will show the wear and tear of my frenzied consumption. Licking the Spoon was no le WARNING! MBU to book lovers who handle their reads like fine china! I have my own litmus test for literature and it’s brutal. When I fall in love with a book, I commit. I am faithful and hands on. Spines will crack as I bend them to my will and pages will wish they had a slicker to shield them from beverages and shower splashes. Yes, (shudder) I take my loves into the shower with me. In the end, a well-loved book will show the wear and tear of my frenzied consumption. Licking the Spoon was no less spared. I DEVOURED this book! To say that this book stirred up cravings should go without saying. It made me hungry for foods I’ve never tried, people I’ve never met, and experiences I may never have. But it also felt familiar. Maybe not everyone could identify but Candace’s life path mirrored my own in so many ways that I felt a part of the family. That could be a result of knowing Candace in person and as a part of on online community but if so, I think only slightly. Candace had me at page two of the prologue when she refused to allow a prospective husband to interrupt her “craft” with his presence. I, too, prefer to cook alone. I also identified with Charlie and his MacGyver skills in the mess hall. I longed to be her travel companion, wished for her moxy, and admired her brave exploration of self. Another litmus test I have is whether I feel disappointed in the end and I did. I wanted more. My son, who hopes to be a chef when he grows up, offered to cook a birthday dinner of my choosing. Grandmother Marie’s chicken fricassee is on the menu! Two critiques: Don’t read this if you are on a diet also a revision is in order to include pictures of relatives, foods, and places visited. Descriptions were so spot on you really wouldn’t need them but it would be icing on the book, I mean cake. 

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allie Pope Burger

    Candace's memoir had me licking the spoon alongside her, reminding me of watching my own mother bake away sadness by whipping up a batch of her delicious chocolate chip cookies. If I was lucky, I would be given a batter-coated beater to enjoy raw cookie dough, one of my favorite childhood memories. There were many things I could relate to in this book, which had the heartfelt honesty of a zine. Food and dinnertime were very important in my childhood family's life together, and remain so in my fa Candace's memoir had me licking the spoon alongside her, reminding me of watching my own mother bake away sadness by whipping up a batch of her delicious chocolate chip cookies. If I was lucky, I would be given a batter-coated beater to enjoy raw cookie dough, one of my favorite childhood memories. There were many things I could relate to in this book, which had the heartfelt honesty of a zine. Food and dinnertime were very important in my childhood family's life together, and remain so in my family's life today. I cook on a nightly basis, even when home cooking as I do is frowned upon in the interest of rushing children to this activity or that, or getting to a PTA meeting. I could relate to the entwined feelings of obligation and enjoyment related to cooking. I could also relate to eating until the plate was clean, but have usually found myself un-hungry in times of anxiety or depression. Candace beautifully describes growing into life on her terms, and the awakening of her true self in her 30s...and how she needed space and time during that process, which meant eating a more basic raw-foods diet. I will admit this book was a page-turner for me! I really enjoyed it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jill G.

    This is a story about being human. It’s about the complex ties of family, about the sometimes cruel world of childhood and the demons that haunt the people you love the most. It’s about doing all those things you’re supposed to do once you finally escape the bubble of home: the alcohol, the drugs, and the exhausting career building in New York City in your 20s, struggling to find a worthy partner who won’t repeat the faults in your heritage. It’s about trying to love and be loved and finding pla This is a story about being human. It’s about the complex ties of family, about the sometimes cruel world of childhood and the demons that haunt the people you love the most. It’s about doing all those things you’re supposed to do once you finally escape the bubble of home: the alcohol, the drugs, and the exhausting career building in New York City in your 20s, struggling to find a worthy partner who won’t repeat the faults in your heritage. It’s about trying to love and be loved and finding places where you finally feel right. And yes, eventually, it’s about leaving a marriage for another marriage with someone from another gender. But the reason it’s not all about this is because this isn’t a book about issues; it’s a book about a person. And we are all so much more than just one thing or one act or even one sexuality. And it’s about food. I must admit that I was predisposed to like this book from the start, as I am already obsessed with the pathos of food: the familial and historical ties to it, the very much religious traditions and rituals of it, the deep joy and comfort it can bring, along with the hurt that comes with criticism of the food you’ve worked hard on or that you care about, however irrationally. And then there’s our own conflicting relationships with it: eating disorders are in here, too. Beyond the feelings originating in my stomach, I also loved the culinary threads throughout this book from a reader’s perspective. While I found Walsh’s personal dramas compelling and well told, her prose undoubtedly shines the brightest whenever she’s describing food, whether it’s in the act of cooking of it, the pure admiration of it, or the actual eating of it. These are the moments that flow the easiest, while also being filled with the most tantalizing and lush details. While many of the dishes she describes are beyond my own rudimentary cooking skills and very un-foodie knowledge, I still loved reading every bit of it, believing that I could make these things if I tried (yeah, I probably can’t), as I could practically already taste them from the page. The simpler, more basic meals or items that I actually have consumed also suddenly seemed equally rich and precious, things to be worshipped, from cake to risotto to Thanksgiving dinner. She even makes the pure poverty pea soup that she eats daily at the height of her college bare-bones days sound remarkably delicious at her hand. [Full review at AfterEllen here: http://www.afterellen.com/content/201...]

  8. 5 out of 5

    nancy

    In her memoir, Licking the Spoon, Candace Walsh has offered us an unflinching account of growing up and past a tumultuous childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. And it is quite a ride. Ms. Walsh's writing is conversational and intriguing without ever becoming confessional. Many people have said they couldn't put the book down, but there were times I had to stop and take a break because I found the train wreck moments in her life, particularly her childhood, overwhelming, even as she demons In her memoir, Licking the Spoon, Candace Walsh has offered us an unflinching account of growing up and past a tumultuous childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. And it is quite a ride. Ms. Walsh's writing is conversational and intriguing without ever becoming confessional. Many people have said they couldn't put the book down, but there were times I had to stop and take a break because I found the train wreck moments in her life, particularly her childhood, overwhelming, even as she demonstrated restraint from presenting them as intentionally sensational or shocking. How refreshing it is to see someone write without overtly striving for emotional manipulation, stealing our hearts without resorting to conventional sentimentality. What a rare find, a writer so the gifted that she can allow us to follow her in total specificity, detailing her ownership of every event and its repercussions, never wavering to spare or generalize, and in so doing, creating an experience at once personal and universal. What Ms. Walsh offers in her memoir is an opportunity to watch an intelligent and sensitive child grow past the deficiencies of her origins and choose to ultimately become a luminous woman, mother, wife, journalist, magazine editor, and author, and to live a life that makes her happy without compromise, outside validation, or apologies. What an inspiration. What a joy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Verant

    The second I downloaded Licking the Spoon to my iPad's Kindle application, I started reading, only intending to peruse the first chapter. One chapter soon turned into ten. Damn, with an Emeril Lagasse BAM, Candace Walsh can write! I read A LOT of memoirs and hers rose right to the top, like cream. Honestly, there have been a few reads I've wanted to throw across the room — really unadvisable when your "book" is an iPad. Licking the Spoon, though, was different from all of the eye-rolling reads. Ca The second I downloaded Licking the Spoon to my iPad's Kindle application, I started reading, only intending to peruse the first chapter. One chapter soon turned into ten. Damn, with an Emeril Lagasse BAM, Candace Walsh can write! I read A LOT of memoirs and hers rose right to the top, like cream. Honestly, there have been a few reads I've wanted to throw across the room — really unadvisable when your "book" is an iPad. Licking the Spoon, though, was different from all of the eye-rolling reads. Candace's story drew me in, the chapters ranging from being very poignant to heartbreaking to funny— honest on every level. Her prose was so poetic, her descriptions savory morsels of goodness. I finally had to put Licking the Spoon down because it was dinnertime. Not only was I hungry after reading her beautiful words, so was my family. I have since renamed Candace's book Licking the Page. I inhaled this delicious memoir in two sittings.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Piepie

    Walsh has a fast-paced and entertaining writing style. Her narrative is strong. Walsh uses food and diet to anchor her memoir. We begin with the food of her grandparents before and after their immigration to the U.S., and continue through the foods of her childhood, the poverty soups of college, and on to the present. While I was tempted to try some of the provided recipes on the spot, this is no mere food memoir - this is a story of the search for self, and is most interesting for typifying the Walsh has a fast-paced and entertaining writing style. Her narrative is strong. Walsh uses food and diet to anchor her memoir. We begin with the food of her grandparents before and after their immigration to the U.S., and continue through the foods of her childhood, the poverty soups of college, and on to the present. While I was tempted to try some of the provided recipes on the spot, this is no mere food memoir - this is a story of the search for self, and is most interesting for typifying the crooked path so many of us take through life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Luisa

    I was riveted by this book. In fact, this may have been the only good thing about being sick with the grunge this winter: I had the delicious pleasure of reading this fabulous book without interruption! Candace has a way of cooking up a zesty, spicy story with real, autobiographical ingredients. Thank you for your vulnerability, honesty and your incredible ability to tell an important and inspiring story, Candace.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    A candid, honest, heartfelt, hilarious, delicious story of a woman's travels to find her voice, her place and herself. A candid, honest, heartfelt, hilarious, delicious story of a woman's travels to find her voice, her place and herself.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Waltz

    Candace Walsh is a gifted writer. This book is filled with wonderful bits of memoir as well as recipes.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Goutet

    I want to preface my review of Licking the Spoon with a snapshot of my background and personal reaction to the book because it does affect the review in its own way. I also want to apologise in advance for all my food metaphors. I knew going in that - as an open-minded (but non-liberal) Christian reading about the perspective of a woman leaving a heterosexual relationship for a homosexual one - I would be entering unchartered waters. I would be embracing life through someone else's eyes who lives I want to preface my review of Licking the Spoon with a snapshot of my background and personal reaction to the book because it does affect the review in its own way. I also want to apologise in advance for all my food metaphors. I knew going in that - as an open-minded (but non-liberal) Christian reading about the perspective of a woman leaving a heterosexual relationship for a homosexual one - I would be entering unchartered waters. I would be embracing life through someone else's eyes who lives a different reality than I do. And I wanted that. I don't limit my respect (or love) to people who only walk the way I do. But in the preface, I stumbled a bit. She hinted at courting infidelity as a married woman when it seemed like her innocent and perfect husband was going to be a cuckold (she had said very little about her husband at that point so I just filled in the blanks in my own mind). I have such a strong reaction to infidelity that I paused, wondering how I could possibly like the book. But I don't like to make snap judgments, and so I read on. I'm so glad I did. Walsh is as beautifully complex and multi-layered as the spanakopita she writes about. After the preface she jumps back - way back. She tells of the grandparents and great-grandparents, and the Greek, Italian, Cretan, Colombian (was it?) influences that all made their way into her life and her cooking. But it doesn't stop there. Her life was pounded and kneaded by the dysfunction that influences and forms many of us. She writes about it honestly and heart-wrenchingly, and I think fairly. There is no whining. And just as a dessert needs a bit of salt to give a base to the batter, her story was richer for having peeled back the layers. The more I read, the more I identified and found the author endearing. Really endearing. My only regret with this book? That I didn't get a hard copy so I could easily flip through and find all the recipes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Fagan

    I have a confession to make. I totally judge books by their covers. I buy wine based on their labels. I am easily seduced by witty names and creative artistic renderings. I'm a label slut. And I can honestly say that had I come upon Candace Walsh's book by chance, I would have picked it up and bought it immediately. Licking the Spoon? I'm an only child. I ALWAYS got to lick the spoon. And so when my little local island bookstore called to let me know my order had arrived, I took one look at its I have a confession to make. I totally judge books by their covers. I buy wine based on their labels. I am easily seduced by witty names and creative artistic renderings. I'm a label slut. And I can honestly say that had I come upon Candace Walsh's book by chance, I would have picked it up and bought it immediately. Licking the Spoon? I'm an only child. I ALWAYS got to lick the spoon. And so when my little local island bookstore called to let me know my order had arrived, I took one look at its cover and was immediately delighted and ready to lick that spoon...er...so to speak. From there, the cover's seduction fell to the wayside, unnecessary in my plunge forward as I feasted on Candace's willingness to put it all out there, to allow the vulnerability and rawness of her heart's dark corners to take center stage, and her ability to roll the whole gooey mess of her life's challenges in a dusting of sweetness. By the end, it was clear that I had just played witness to a great love story- the story of Candace's learning to love herself. At so many turning points and forks in the road, I anticipated the bitterness of rejection, the sachrinity of losing oneself in love, and yet none of it came. It was a hearty, well-balanced path of love, loss, growth, and, ultimately, empowerment... but mostly I appreciated it as a story of coming home. Thank you, Candace, for welcoming me into your home and feeding me with your journey.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre Keating

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Oy vey. Should I give up goodreads altogether? Make it a blank list of titles with no reviews? I'm too aware that authors sometimes read these and have no desire to add to Walsh's long list of the not-nice things people once said to her. I'm a big enough fan of Gretchen Rubin to forgive her for the blurb that describes this memoir as in the style of Nora Ephron and Laurie Colwin. No, there is nothing similar in this book to either of those women's writings other than the few recipes included. I b Oy vey. Should I give up goodreads altogether? Make it a blank list of titles with no reviews? I'm too aware that authors sometimes read these and have no desire to add to Walsh's long list of the not-nice things people once said to her. I'm a big enough fan of Gretchen Rubin to forgive her for the blurb that describes this memoir as in the style of Nora Ephron and Laurie Colwin. No, there is nothing similar in this book to either of those women's writings other than the few recipes included. I bought this book, because foodoirs are a favorite genre, because our book club picked it, and because of all the high reviews here. I'm now convinced most of them are personal friends of Walsh and that she must be a much more likable person in real life than she comes across in this book, especially the first half.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I did not like this book at all. It made me sad, and worried about my future relationships. After reading most of this book, I felt like I was doomed to make the same exact mistakes the author made by choosing abusive relationships. I felt like there was no such thing as a positive working relationship, and I felt sad. I felt bad for her for much of the book, but at some point my heart hardened. I couldn't read it anymore, and frankly I was sick of all the negativity in this woman's life. I know I did not like this book at all. It made me sad, and worried about my future relationships. After reading most of this book, I felt like I was doomed to make the same exact mistakes the author made by choosing abusive relationships. I felt like there was no such thing as a positive working relationship, and I felt sad. I felt bad for her for much of the book, but at some point my heart hardened. I couldn't read it anymore, and frankly I was sick of all the negativity in this woman's life. I know she gets better in the end, but I just don't care enough or want to read anymore. I had assumed that this would be a happy delightful chirpy little food memoir about growing up and cooking. Nope, not so. This is basically just about the author's life with a few recipes in the beginning and mentions of food scattered about. Skip.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    My daughter bought this book for me for Christmas ....my love of cooking, the love of my husband & children & the craziness of my childhood must have drawn her to this book.....There were times in the book where Candace's childhood & my childhood where taking the same path, it was actually scary at times to read it. I loved Candace's story of her life & jobs & relationships, but mostly I connected with her stories of family & food .......she told a very interesting & open story of her life.....I My daughter bought this book for me for Christmas ....my love of cooking, the love of my husband & children & the craziness of my childhood must have drawn her to this book.....There were times in the book where Candace's childhood & my childhood where taking the same path, it was actually scary at times to read it. I loved Candace's story of her life & jobs & relationships, but mostly I connected with her stories of family & food .......she told a very interesting & open story of her life.....I really enjoyed it, even when it brought certain aspects of my childhood to the front of my mind & it made me angry......LOL

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Rose

    Candace Walsh has written a delicious memoir. Her recipe for a life well-lived consists of one part unflinching honesty, one part heartache, one part erotic desire, and one part hunger, seasoned with a generous dash of humor. There is so much to admire in this collection, from the family recipes to the achingly beautiful vows she and her beloved exchanged, cooked up from scratch. If I have one bone to pick (all puns intended) it is that this book is too rich a dish: Walsh’s life could easily hav Candace Walsh has written a delicious memoir. Her recipe for a life well-lived consists of one part unflinching honesty, one part heartache, one part erotic desire, and one part hunger, seasoned with a generous dash of humor. There is so much to admire in this collection, from the family recipes to the achingly beautiful vows she and her beloved exchanged, cooked up from scratch. If I have one bone to pick (all puns intended) it is that this book is too rich a dish: Walsh’s life could easily have filled two memoirs, and there were scores of scenes where I would have happily lingered, but was pulled away too soon. This dish on life, love, identity and family is mouthwatering.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Diane Agnew

    I started reading this book on the plane en route to a funeral. I had no expectations, only a desire to read a book that would captivate me, humor me, and expand my edges. A few days later, I was done with "Licking the Spoon"; I could not put the book down and eagerly read through the pages, discovering as much about myself as about Candace. Candace's honesty and vulnerability captured my heart, pulling me in and along as I read. I am grateful I picked this book and that Candace took the leap to I started reading this book on the plane en route to a funeral. I had no expectations, only a desire to read a book that would captivate me, humor me, and expand my edges. A few days later, I was done with "Licking the Spoon"; I could not put the book down and eagerly read through the pages, discovering as much about myself as about Candace. Candace's honesty and vulnerability captured my heart, pulling me in and along as I read. I am grateful I picked this book and that Candace took the leap to write such a beautiful memoir. This book is solidly ranked in my top books of all time and is a top recommendation to everyone.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Louise Duncombe

    A fabulous whirlwind journey through the emotional development of a person from girlhood to womanhood. Walsh is candid and interesting and tells it like it is in terms of her struggles with complicated family dynamics, self image, eating disorders, and relational struggles, with all sorts of brave exploration of the discovery process of her sexual identity. Of course the culinary thread that runs through the book is also delectable and fun, but I am a lover of memoir before a lover of food lit, A fabulous whirlwind journey through the emotional development of a person from girlhood to womanhood. Walsh is candid and interesting and tells it like it is in terms of her struggles with complicated family dynamics, self image, eating disorders, and relational struggles, with all sorts of brave exploration of the discovery process of her sexual identity. Of course the culinary thread that runs through the book is also delectable and fun, but I am a lover of memoir before a lover of food lit, and I give a resounding 5 Stars to Licking the Spoon for being what I believe good memoir is: honest, descriptive, engaging, and compelling. A great read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I'm so excited that this is the first book I read for the new year! I couldn't put it down. Candace Walsh's book will suck you in and not spit you out until you finish at 2:30 a.m. The story of how her family pieced together and how food was an integral part of it makes you feel at home. The angst of her youth and young adulthood hold you in thrall and make you want to rush to the end to see how it all turned out. Bonus: recipes throughout and at the end of the book! I can't wait to try some of t I'm so excited that this is the first book I read for the new year! I couldn't put it down. Candace Walsh's book will suck you in and not spit you out until you finish at 2:30 a.m. The story of how her family pieced together and how food was an integral part of it makes you feel at home. The angst of her youth and young adulthood hold you in thrall and make you want to rush to the end to see how it all turned out. Bonus: recipes throughout and at the end of the book! I can't wait to try some of them out in my own kitchen!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Crystalalene

    Perhaps because of the familiarity of dysfunction and unending hope, this book hooked me from the start. I lost sleep staying up late to read 'just a little bit more'... About grandmas and grandpas, losses and joys, and especially to savor the foods. The addition of recipes just makes this book even more realistic- the memories are beautifully explained, felt, and visualized, but they attach themselves to your taste buds, too. Candace's beautiful, honest, vulnerable and strong soul comes through Perhaps because of the familiarity of dysfunction and unending hope, this book hooked me from the start. I lost sleep staying up late to read 'just a little bit more'... About grandmas and grandpas, losses and joys, and especially to savor the foods. The addition of recipes just makes this book even more realistic- the memories are beautifully explained, felt, and visualized, but they attach themselves to your taste buds, too. Candace's beautiful, honest, vulnerable and strong soul comes through in these pages. What a gift to share with readers!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I so wanted to love this memoir, but had a hard time from the beginning, failing to make sense of the jumble of family members and boyfriends and their connections to food. It wasn't until the author married Will that I became engaged enough to appreciate hearing of her transformation from someone seeking approval (through cooking?) to someone deserving of and enjoying love. I hungrily devoured the several chapters about the demise of her marriage and her connection to women (and ultimately meet I so wanted to love this memoir, but had a hard time from the beginning, failing to make sense of the jumble of family members and boyfriends and their connections to food. It wasn't until the author married Will that I became engaged enough to appreciate hearing of her transformation from someone seeking approval (through cooking?) to someone deserving of and enjoying love. I hungrily devoured the several chapters about the demise of her marriage and her connection to women (and ultimately meeting her partner/wife Laura), but most of the story was flat, rambling and self-indulgent.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Withnall

    Licking the Spoon was a riveting read - I read most of the book in one sitting! I was most impressed by Candace's ability to speak her truth about people who affected her in negative ways but still clearly remain a presence in her life. This honesty demonstrated the complexity of all the characters as well as an acknowledgement of the author's own shortcomings and her capacity for forgiveness, too. Although I am not a foodie I'm very interested in trying out some of the recipes - especially the Licking the Spoon was a riveting read - I read most of the book in one sitting! I was most impressed by Candace's ability to speak her truth about people who affected her in negative ways but still clearly remain a presence in her life. This honesty demonstrated the complexity of all the characters as well as an acknowledgement of the author's own shortcomings and her capacity for forgiveness, too. Although I am not a foodie I'm very interested in trying out some of the recipes - especially the natillas!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Once I started this book I found it very difficult to put it down.... And when I got to the last page I really didn't want it to end. This book turned out to be more than just a foodie's gastronomic journey through different styles of cooking. It is an exploration of emotions, life changes, family history and dynamics, mixed and stirred into the author's relationship and expression with and through food... Raw at times, bittersweet, beautiful, and inspiring. Once I started this book I found it very difficult to put it down.... And when I got to the last page I really didn't want it to end. This book turned out to be more than just a foodie's gastronomic journey through different styles of cooking. It is an exploration of emotions, life changes, family history and dynamics, mixed and stirred into the author's relationship and expression with and through food... Raw at times, bittersweet, beautiful, and inspiring.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Soledad

    A compelling read. This is the kind of memoir that draws you in completely. When you reach the end -which happens too soon as you were not able to put it down- you feel like you know the author, and were there with her through the brilliant ups and heartbreaking and/or embarrassing downs. Brutally honest and very well written, this book satisfied the foodie, the avid reader and the linguist in me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    So good, I devoured Licking the Spoon in two sittings. Deftly balancing savory and sweet, this funny and brazenly open-hearted remembrance has page-turner storytelling and an authentic protagonist at the center -- but like the best memoirs it dodges narrative self-indulgence, quietly inspiring without resorting to treacle or didacticism. I haven't enjoyed a "food book" this much since Like Water for Chocolate. And I can't wait to cook with the recipes. So good, I devoured Licking the Spoon in two sittings. Deftly balancing savory and sweet, this funny and brazenly open-hearted remembrance has page-turner storytelling and an authentic protagonist at the center -- but like the best memoirs it dodges narrative self-indulgence, quietly inspiring without resorting to treacle or didacticism. I haven't enjoyed a "food book" this much since Like Water for Chocolate. And I can't wait to cook with the recipes.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bryna

    I loved reading this. Walsh's descriptions are good enough to make me intimately familiar with her...reading her book felt like we'd spent the whole night talking over a jug of sangria and plates of ropa vieja. After finishing, I felt like I'd gone to her Nia class, wired and tired, the next day. All at once languorous, fraught, and exhilarating. This book is good. Her recipes round out the story like punctuation. You would definitely miss them if they weren't there. Loved this story! I loved reading this. Walsh's descriptions are good enough to make me intimately familiar with her...reading her book felt like we'd spent the whole night talking over a jug of sangria and plates of ropa vieja. After finishing, I felt like I'd gone to her Nia class, wired and tired, the next day. All at once languorous, fraught, and exhilarating. This book is good. Her recipes round out the story like punctuation. You would definitely miss them if they weren't there. Loved this story!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Donnarama

    This book was disappointing. One reviewer said it was like the "eat" part of "Eat, Pray, Love." I disagree. The book was a story of maturation and evolution of a character with whom I never connected or engaged. I kept waiting for it to get enticing. There were snippets --a couple of pages here and there --that I really enjoyed, but can't recommend this to anyone hoping for a good "food lit" read. This book was disappointing. One reviewer said it was like the "eat" part of "Eat, Pray, Love." I disagree. The book was a story of maturation and evolution of a character with whom I never connected or engaged. I kept waiting for it to get enticing. There were snippets --a couple of pages here and there --that I really enjoyed, but can't recommend this to anyone hoping for a good "food lit" read.

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