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From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhood. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was ha From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhood. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was harder to come by. Her parents were disastrously mismatched, far too preoccupied with their mutual misery to notice its effects on their kids. A frustrated artist, Kate’s beautiful, capricious mother lived in a constant state of creative and marital emergency, enlisting Kate as her confidante—“We’re the girls, we have to stick together”—and instructing her three children to refer to her in public as their babysitter. Kate’s father was aloof, ambitious, and prone to blasts of withering abuse increasingly directed at the daughter who found herself standing between her embattled parents. Kate looked for comfort in the imaginary worlds of books and found refuge in the kitchen, where she taught herself to bake and entered the one realm where she was able to wield control. Telling her own story with the same lyricism, compassion, and eye for lush detail she brings to her fiction, coupled with the candor and humor she is known for in her personal essays, Kate Moses leavens each tale of her coming-of-age in Cakewalk with a recipe from her lifetime of confectionary obsession. There is the mysteriously erotic German Chocolate Cake implicated in a birds-and-bees speech when Kate was seven, the gingerbread people her mother baked for Christmas the year Kate officially realized she was fat, the chocolate chip cookies Kate used to curry favor during a hilariously gruesome adolescence, and the brownies she baked for her idol, the legendary M.F.K. Fisher, who pronounced them “delicious.” Filled with the abundance and joy that were so lacking in Kate’s youth, Cakewalk is a wise, loving tribute to life in all its sweetness as well as its bitterness and, ultimately, a recipe for forgiveness.


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From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhood. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was ha From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhood. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was harder to come by. Her parents were disastrously mismatched, far too preoccupied with their mutual misery to notice its effects on their kids. A frustrated artist, Kate’s beautiful, capricious mother lived in a constant state of creative and marital emergency, enlisting Kate as her confidante—“We’re the girls, we have to stick together”—and instructing her three children to refer to her in public as their babysitter. Kate’s father was aloof, ambitious, and prone to blasts of withering abuse increasingly directed at the daughter who found herself standing between her embattled parents. Kate looked for comfort in the imaginary worlds of books and found refuge in the kitchen, where she taught herself to bake and entered the one realm where she was able to wield control. Telling her own story with the same lyricism, compassion, and eye for lush detail she brings to her fiction, coupled with the candor and humor she is known for in her personal essays, Kate Moses leavens each tale of her coming-of-age in Cakewalk with a recipe from her lifetime of confectionary obsession. There is the mysteriously erotic German Chocolate Cake implicated in a birds-and-bees speech when Kate was seven, the gingerbread people her mother baked for Christmas the year Kate officially realized she was fat, the chocolate chip cookies Kate used to curry favor during a hilariously gruesome adolescence, and the brownies she baked for her idol, the legendary M.F.K. Fisher, who pronounced them “delicious.” Filled with the abundance and joy that were so lacking in Kate’s youth, Cakewalk is a wise, loving tribute to life in all its sweetness as well as its bitterness and, ultimately, a recipe for forgiveness.

30 review for Cakewalk: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    esmepie

    So did not want to finish this book because it just kind of unraveled 2/3rds of the way through, but as I told several good friends (after throwing the book across the room) I have to finish because I have to warn the others. I've noted before that I'll read just about any memoir, but I believe it's actually very difficult to write a good memoir. This one started out so well. Crazy/crappy childhood with eccentric and/or inattentive parents interspersed with recipes for baked goods--i.e. the stres So did not want to finish this book because it just kind of unraveled 2/3rds of the way through, but as I told several good friends (after throwing the book across the room) I have to finish because I have to warn the others. I've noted before that I'll read just about any memoir, but I believe it's actually very difficult to write a good memoir. This one started out so well. Crazy/crappy childhood with eccentric and/or inattentive parents interspersed with recipes for baked goods--i.e. the stress of bad parenting sweetened by sugar. A perfect memoir "recipe" if you will. To illustrate why this book failed I am going to use a book by Vivian Gornick--'The Situation and the Story.' Gornick writes that in all our life stories, there is the situation, our circumstances, and it is the writer's job to turn this situation into a story. That is decide what is the overall theme of one's life and use one's various situations to illustrate, bringing some stories into sharper focus and tamping others down. Let's face it: everything that happens to us is not important. The book the best illustrates this concept for me is 'The Glass Castle' by Jeannette Walls. Walls' situation: horrifying and haphazard parenting. But what's the story? Even the worst parents still bestow incredible gifts. Reading Walls' book, I never believed until the end that she would redeem her parents and I was so incensed at them throughout the book. But, at the end, she turned it around and had the reader viewing them with the same love and compassion as the author. 'Cakewalk' is all situation; Moses has not found her story. Her mother goes from eccentric provider of a somewhat magical childhood to monster as the young adult's parent. The father is either completely absent or unspeakably cruel, but is suddenly reconciled with the author when she leaves for college. How these tremendous arcs are accomplished is never explained. The author goes from fat to thin with no explanation. She finds herself married and divorced in her mid-twenties, again with no story. In short, she essentially writes down everything that happened to her, threw in some awesome (hence the two stars) recipes and called it a day. She makes no sense of her life for the reader. Also, just a side note, but writers should not use who they know to make themselves more interesting. Moses was friends with both Kay Boyle and MFK Fisher (yes, I will admit to jealousy) but they do not add to her story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I'm glad I disregarded the litany of negative reviews before starting this book. I'm not a seasoned critic by any means, but I believe the purpose of writing a memoir is to draw the reader into your world. Kate Moses succeeded to that end, at least as far as I'm concerned. Although my story so far is vastly different from hers, I found myself wanting to sit with her over a cup of tea and a slice of cake (her recipes are ridiculous and I envy her talents) and just expound on life in general and th I'm glad I disregarded the litany of negative reviews before starting this book. I'm not a seasoned critic by any means, but I believe the purpose of writing a memoir is to draw the reader into your world. Kate Moses succeeded to that end, at least as far as I'm concerned. Although my story so far is vastly different from hers, I found myself wanting to sit with her over a cup of tea and a slice of cake (her recipes are ridiculous and I envy her talents) and just expound on life in general and the joys and sorrows of being a woman. Reading about the struggles she encountered, I wanted to put my arms around her. When she triumphed, I wanted to celebrate with her. This is how we as women, at our best, are wired. I am so looking forward to sharing this book with the ladies in my book swap group, because those are the kinds of relationships we have formed. Every person has a story that is unique and valuable, and I thank Kate Moses for sharing hers with me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Warnock

    a beautiful book, a delicious book, a book about survival and redemption and life and love. and cakes!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I had a hard time getting into this book. It is a memoir, Kate grows up with both parents in an unhappy marriage, who stay together for too long and two brothers. The family moves frequently due to dad's job. Lots of dysfunction, Kate finds comfort in sugar, especially cake. Each chapter ends with a wonderful recipe related to that particular time period in her life. As in many most memoirs, the power of the human spirit is amazing and how she not only survives, but thrives is always great to se I had a hard time getting into this book. It is a memoir, Kate grows up with both parents in an unhappy marriage, who stay together for too long and two brothers. The family moves frequently due to dad's job. Lots of dysfunction, Kate finds comfort in sugar, especially cake. Each chapter ends with a wonderful recipe related to that particular time period in her life. As in many most memoirs, the power of the human spirit is amazing and how she not only survives, but thrives is always great to see. There is one section in the book that really resonated with me, when she decides (against her better judgement) to visit her mother (after graduating from college) and cleans out her mother's hoarding like refrigerator. The rage from, from her narcissistic mother, that follows is heartbreaking, very well written and hit a nerve with a personal experience. Overall, well written, great recipes but each chapter was hit or miss for me. At times I thought I could not finish and at other times I was really into it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Zampetti

    Moses' memoir of a childhood imbued with sweets and two self-absorbed parents reads like a sugar high - you can't get enough but you know you're going to feel ill later. The included recipes are like raisins in an oatmeal cookie - they do stand out, but the book needs the added sweetness. Quite possibly the best chapters are the later ones in which the reader is introduced to Moses' young adulthood away from her family and her introduction to the world of writing and food - of which this memoir Moses' memoir of a childhood imbued with sweets and two self-absorbed parents reads like a sugar high - you can't get enough but you know you're going to feel ill later. The included recipes are like raisins in an oatmeal cookie - they do stand out, but the book needs the added sweetness. Quite possibly the best chapters are the later ones in which the reader is introduced to Moses' young adulthood away from her family and her introduction to the world of writing and food - of which this memoir is the zenith. Fans of The Glass Castle and its accompanying mates in genre will enjoyCakewalk, as will those who've enjoyed the writing of Amanda Hesser, Mollie Wizenberg, and Julie Powell.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Moses is well-educated, well read, and has an extensive vocabulary. Unfortunately, in this case, those accomplishments do not a good memoirist make. I believe the book was intended to be, at least partially, a food memoir since it includes much talk about her love of sweets and recipes. Moses’ parents’ bad marriage and her relationship with both of them was another large part of the book. I just never really felt her recollections flowed nicely into a complete book. She was kind of all over the Moses is well-educated, well read, and has an extensive vocabulary. Unfortunately, in this case, those accomplishments do not a good memoirist make. I believe the book was intended to be, at least partially, a food memoir since it includes much talk about her love of sweets and recipes. Moses’ parents’ bad marriage and her relationship with both of them was another large part of the book. I just never really felt her recollections flowed nicely into a complete book. She was kind of all over the place, touching on numerous stories, some inconsequential, and didn’t delve fully into some of the more substantial moments in her life. It seems to me that she would have had a much richer outcome had she worked through more of her core issues in therapy prior to finishing this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Who can resist a memoir written by a lover of sweets? Certainly not me! In this somewhat disjointed memoir, Moses takes us through her crazy childhood and leads us to her much saner adulthood. Along the way, readers will savor the sweets that got Moses through the tough times; recipes are included. From the brownies that impressed MFK Fischer to the cheesecake for her father, Moses tempts readers at every turn. At times, this memoir is jumbled and annoying. But at other times, it is beautifully wr Who can resist a memoir written by a lover of sweets? Certainly not me! In this somewhat disjointed memoir, Moses takes us through her crazy childhood and leads us to her much saner adulthood. Along the way, readers will savor the sweets that got Moses through the tough times; recipes are included. From the brownies that impressed MFK Fischer to the cheesecake for her father, Moses tempts readers at every turn. At times, this memoir is jumbled and annoying. But at other times, it is beautifully written and joyous in its celebration of sweets. Not what I expected, but still worth reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I read this book because Nancy Pearl recommended it on her That Stack of Books podcast. Nancy said this was a good memoir because the author had a happy childhood and also her brownie recipe was fantastic. Have not yet tried the brownie recipe, but must say if this is a happy childhood the bar is set very low. A narcissistic mother, a father who is never home and just plain cruel when he is home, siblings who torture each other, a succession of moves, a probable eating disorder ( an entire cake I read this book because Nancy Pearl recommended it on her That Stack of Books podcast. Nancy said this was a good memoir because the author had a happy childhood and also her brownie recipe was fantastic. Have not yet tried the brownie recipe, but must say if this is a happy childhood the bar is set very low. A narcissistic mother, a father who is never home and just plain cruel when he is home, siblings who torture each other, a succession of moves, a probable eating disorder ( an entire cake for dinner!), an unplanned pregnancy and subsequent disastrous marriage. Whew. Will report back later on the authors brownie recipe which MFK Fisher asked for.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin Rountree

    This book was definitely a mixed bag. Started slow, really got interesting, then it seemed to lose its focus. I think if the author would have stuck to her difficult childhood and how she over came it, it would have been better. I liked the recipes after each chapter, and hate that I have to return the book to the library without getting to try them all! However, sometimes she told a rather insignificant story in order to have a reason for the recipe. Not a bad read, but not a book I'll think of ag This book was definitely a mixed bag. Started slow, really got interesting, then it seemed to lose its focus. I think if the author would have stuck to her difficult childhood and how she over came it, it would have been better. I liked the recipes after each chapter, and hate that I have to return the book to the library without getting to try them all! However, sometimes she told a rather insignificant story in order to have a reason for the recipe. Not a bad read, but not a book I'll think of again...unless I think about those recipes!

  10. 4 out of 5

    caroline

    I loved the idea of this book - stories from the author's life with recipes at the end of each chapter relating to what you've just read. However I just wasn't able to connect and enjoy the stories. I loved the idea of this book - stories from the author's life with recipes at the end of each chapter relating to what you've just read. However I just wasn't able to connect and enjoy the stories.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    Interesting childhood memoir and good recipes too!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Mecham

    I found this book hard to get into at first, but I'm so glad I persevered because I began to find more and more parallels to my life and I was enlightened and comforted by the similarities. I felt I traveled with the author and her imperfect family to Palo Alto, Pennsylvania, Alaska, etc., and watched to see how she would survive each change. I really hated to read the last few pages and have it be over, but I'm happy that Kate Moss has found joy and resolution to a fairly difficult life. I found this book hard to get into at first, but I'm so glad I persevered because I began to find more and more parallels to my life and I was enlightened and comforted by the similarities. I felt I traveled with the author and her imperfect family to Palo Alto, Pennsylvania, Alaska, etc., and watched to see how she would survive each change. I really hated to read the last few pages and have it be over, but I'm happy that Kate Moss has found joy and resolution to a fairly difficult life.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Mcbroom

    Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Kate known as Cis had a mercurial mother and a cold father. She found comfort in cooking and recipes. At the end of each chapter , there is a recipe . This was an inspiring book, because she came out of adversity. Unfortunately, th writing unravels half way through!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Excellent writing interspersed with dessert recipes that this diabetic won't be making. Still, delicious reading. Excellent writing interspersed with dessert recipes that this diabetic won't be making. Still, delicious reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Had to return to library

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen Randall

    Lots of shared recipes! Great book

  17. 5 out of 5

    Schaal, David

    I gave up after five or six chapters. The writing was just too disjointed to maintain interest. Even the recipes at the end of every chapter seemed arbitrary.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I was not impressed with this book for about the first half. 1) Kate Moses throws around a pretty sophisticated vocabulary, but I don’t know that all those $50 adjectives benefit the reader or the story. I’m sure that the fragrance inside Ian Boyle’s garden shed was lovely, but is "paradisical" really the term you want to go with? There are worse examples, of course, but that’s the one I remember off hand and it just seems catty to re-read the book, looking for words to complain about. 2) The book I was not impressed with this book for about the first half. 1) Kate Moses throws around a pretty sophisticated vocabulary, but I don’t know that all those $50 adjectives benefit the reader or the story. I’m sure that the fragrance inside Ian Boyle’s garden shed was lovely, but is "paradisical" really the term you want to go with? There are worse examples, of course, but that’s the one I remember off hand and it just seems catty to re-read the book, looking for words to complain about. 2) The book jacket and reviews I’d read all indicated that Moses endured a very dysfunctional childhood and that baking sweets became her coping mechanism for enduring abuse—seemed an interesting premise to me. But as I read the first 200 pages or so, I kept wondering…what’s the big deal about her family? Truly, as the author tells it, they don’t appear any more dysfunctional than most. Anything to sell a book, I thought, and labeled her another spoiled drama queen. Moses’s writing style remains paradisical in the second half (see, that word sucks), but eventually she drops more and more hints as to just how messed up her childhood was, and I started to realize that I was way off when I wrote her off as a drama queen. It could reflect her adult wisdom and maturity, or a shockingly low self esteem brought on by years of neglect and emotional abuse, but Moses does not dwell on the details of her own struggles and certainly does not ask the reader to feel sorry for her. She wonders at her youthful naiveté. She points out her own missteps, of which there are many. I gained a lot of respect for the author once I recognized how very different this memoir is from the usual "woe is me" lot. Having said that, Moses comes off as way too passive to ever serve as a feminist hero. Things seem to *happen* to her and she never describes any effort to stand up for herself. Still, the recipes at the end of each chapter sound delicious and I feel like in the end the author and I are about even—I put up with some crap, but she was honest and giving, and I get to try the Spiced Pecan Birthday Cake she describes in Chapter 28 and M.F.K. Fisher’s Persimmon Parfait from Chapter 31. I’m glad I picked this one up.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    “I was the captive and anticipating audience, the listener and prompter, sitting at mo mother’s feet with scraps of dotted Swiss. Tell the story about Pa’s Dalmatians fighting the bears at the zoo. Tell the story about painting the chicken’s toenails before it was cooked into stew. I’ll be a storyteller, too, I told myself, folding bits of limp fabric into pages, into books, chocolate and peanuts filling my mouth.” A friend recommended this memoir to me because she knows I like to read about food “I was the captive and anticipating audience, the listener and prompter, sitting at mo mother’s feet with scraps of dotted Swiss. Tell the story about Pa’s Dalmatians fighting the bears at the zoo. Tell the story about painting the chicken’s toenails before it was cooked into stew. I’ll be a storyteller, too, I told myself, folding bits of limp fabric into pages, into books, chocolate and peanuts filling my mouth.” A friend recommended this memoir to me because she knows I like to read about food and I enjoy cooking. Food plays a big part in Moses’ life and the recipes that she includes look good. So from that perspective, this seems like my type of read. However, for much of the book, Moses does not have an easy life. Her family life was not as bad as Jeannette Walls’ in The Glass Castle, but it was pretty horrible. I really kept wondering why I continued to read Moses’ story. I just wasn’t engaged – there wasn’t anyone that I wanted to know better. Fortunately, at the end of her memoir, Moses was able to engage my interest. The connection my friend was trying to make between me and Moses clicked. I really would like to know more about Moses now. It is interesting how my mood, my life and what is going on in the world generally can affect how I perceive a book. Maybe if I had read Cakewalk when it first came out I would have liked it better. I will never know.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    In the best tradition of contemporary women's memoirs, Kate Moses stands in good company with writers like Mary Karr, Diana Joseph, Jeanette Walls, etc. Not only is "Cakewalk" a beautifully written story of Kate's growing up years, but there are some wonderful-sounding recipes, to boot (thus recommended especially to Ann)! Kate never provides a specific diagnosis of her mother's mental health, but over the years she evolves from a mercurial free spirit to a much darker, disturbed personality, th In the best tradition of contemporary women's memoirs, Kate Moses stands in good company with writers like Mary Karr, Diana Joseph, Jeanette Walls, etc. Not only is "Cakewalk" a beautifully written story of Kate's growing up years, but there are some wonderful-sounding recipes, to boot (thus recommended especially to Ann)! Kate never provides a specific diagnosis of her mother's mental health, but over the years she evolves from a mercurial free spirit to a much darker, disturbed personality, then back to - apparently - a more stable state of mind. Her complicated father also morphs from emotionally absent villain to quiet, loving supporter, all of which makes the lives of Kate and her brothers tumultuous at best. Through it all, Kate is a budding writer with a serious sweet tooth. A passion for prose as well as baking. She has had a fascinating life and tells her compelling story without rancor, further sweetening the tale with directions for some of her favorite treats, from a spiced pecan birthday cake to her dad's favorite cheesecake.

  21. 5 out of 5

    KB Wayne

    Disappointing. She starts her story off as a colorful romp with an equally colorful mother and a more staid father, but there is precious little adult-insight (and the author is presently a middle-aged woman who is clearly a navel-gazer ...). So we move across the country with her and nothing she described felt that interesting, unique; it certainly was never elucidating in why she (or her publisher) find her life story interesting enough to share with others rather than a diary or blog. Most of us Disappointing. She starts her story off as a colorful romp with an equally colorful mother and a more staid father, but there is precious little adult-insight (and the author is presently a middle-aged woman who is clearly a navel-gazer ...). So we move across the country with her and nothing she described felt that interesting, unique; it certainly was never elucidating in why she (or her publisher) find her life story interesting enough to share with others rather than a diary or blog. Most of us luckily live rather middle-of-the-road lives, even with the highs and lows. What makes reading someone's life story compelling is the exploration and honesty of all of those, so-so to extremes, both of which were missing here. It felt incredibly self-indulgent and it left me thinking she needs to see her therapist more often. Now, the two stars is because I liked the recipes, and I've used her chocolate chip cookie recipe as a terrific starting-off point for my own adaptation. They are **delicious**!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Speegle

    I love memoirs! Cakewalk received three stars only because it had a fractured, disjointed quality to it. The stories housed in each chapter were OK - some better than others - but they didn't really seem to fit together in a larger, overarching story, like some of the better memoirs I have read. Also, I never really felt an attachment to Kate, our author, and her recollections of the dysfunctional attributes of her parents almost seemed forced at times. Kate mentioned that her childhood led to ye I love memoirs! Cakewalk received three stars only because it had a fractured, disjointed quality to it. The stories housed in each chapter were OK - some better than others - but they didn't really seem to fit together in a larger, overarching story, like some of the better memoirs I have read. Also, I never really felt an attachment to Kate, our author, and her recollections of the dysfunctional attributes of her parents almost seemed forced at times. Kate mentioned that her childhood led to years of therapy, but I didn't actually think it was too different from anyone else's experience. We all have flawed parents, and none of them are above being disconnected at times. I'm glad I finished it, however, as many chapters were quite good. I thought about putting it aside about 30% into it, as I just wasn't feeling it. For a more engrossing memoir, though, I recommend Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter or The Glass Castle.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The author's memoir of her childhood with a fondness for sweets and very incompatible parents, complete with delicious-sounding recipes at the end of nearly every chapter, many of which I'm hoping to try. A number of the chapters had been previously published on their own and it felt like that--the chapters seemed to stand on their own more than offering a continuous narrative about the author's life. Certain chapters I enjoyed (the poignant one when she is in grade school and realizes she is fa The author's memoir of her childhood with a fondness for sweets and very incompatible parents, complete with delicious-sounding recipes at the end of nearly every chapter, many of which I'm hoping to try. A number of the chapters had been previously published on their own and it felt like that--the chapters seemed to stand on their own more than offering a continuous narrative about the author's life. Certain chapters I enjoyed (the poignant one when she is in grade school and realizes she is fat; her get-togethers with MFK Fisher), but I liked the sum of parts better than the whole and was a little confused at the author's depiction of her mother--was she just someone who married the wrong person at a young age and felt overburdened by the demands of being a housewife and mother or was she completely bipolar?? It wasn't clear from what Moses chose to include in her memoir.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I was a bit skeptical about this book because it had the potential to be yet another memoir of someone's terrible childhood and f*cked-up parents, combined with yet another pseudo-heartwarming, treacly memoir of someone's life experiences with food, with-- how original!-- RECIPES included! (Sorry, yes, I am jaded.) However, I was pleasantly surprised by this because Kate Moses is able to deliver a story that ends up being quite readable and wholly enjoyable. It took me a few chapters to really g I was a bit skeptical about this book because it had the potential to be yet another memoir of someone's terrible childhood and f*cked-up parents, combined with yet another pseudo-heartwarming, treacly memoir of someone's life experiences with food, with-- how original!-- RECIPES included! (Sorry, yes, I am jaded.) However, I was pleasantly surprised by this because Kate Moses is able to deliver a story that ends up being quite readable and wholly enjoyable. It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but I found her to be a very talented writer. The stories she tells are, by themselves, fairly entertaining, but her gift for telling them is what makes this is a great book. Each of the story are imbued with both humor and pathos, although the chapter about her mother's descent into madness towards the end is simply heartbreaking.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This memoir details Kate's life from early childhood through her memories of food, particularly sweets, starting with a stolen cake and ending with a literal cakewalk. Her life was not a true cakewalk, with her lawyer father, frequently traveling and moving the family, and her mother with slightly manic tendencies. Kate struggled with fitting in as a child and a teenager, and when she moves on in life, she finally finds her place in the literary world, only to have her world drastically change a This memoir details Kate's life from early childhood through her memories of food, particularly sweets, starting with a stolen cake and ending with a literal cakewalk. Her life was not a true cakewalk, with her lawyer father, frequently traveling and moving the family, and her mother with slightly manic tendencies. Kate struggled with fitting in as a child and a teenager, and when she moves on in life, she finally finds her place in the literary world, only to have her world drastically change again with her marriage and the birth of her child. The story weaves in key recipes from her memories, including her grandfather's fudge, cakes, and brownies along with her struggles to reconcile her feelings and her family. The sweet recipes temper the bittersweet and sometimes dark moments in her life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Kate Moses realized from a very young age that her parents were "disastrously mismatched." Growing up as the middle of three children and the only girl, Kate became her mother's confidante. Kate's way to deal with her family's increasing dysfunction was through baking. Nothing was better than drowning your sorrows in cake, cookies, or pie. After her parents finally divorced and she went away to college, Kate still struggled with feeling like she could never fit into the world because of her craz Kate Moses realized from a very young age that her parents were "disastrously mismatched." Growing up as the middle of three children and the only girl, Kate became her mother's confidante. Kate's way to deal with her family's increasing dysfunction was through baking. Nothing was better than drowning your sorrows in cake, cookies, or pie. After her parents finally divorced and she went away to college, Kate still struggled with feeling like she could never fit into the world because of her crazy family. Eventually she finds her own niche in baking, writing, and creating her own perfectly imperfect family. Kate's memoir is the wonderful story of growing up a dysfunctional family and learning to work with the ingredients she was dealt.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    An OK memoir from a good writer but an even better baker. And anyone who loves baking like me and shares such yummy recipes is high on my list....! Recipes aside, it took me awhile to get into the book but I enjoyed it once I got used to her writing style and quit being so annoyed with myself that I didn't know the meaning of the all the words she threw around like they were commonplace. p.s. -- I've already tried a couple of the recipes and they are really yummy. I heard she has a website with An OK memoir from a good writer but an even better baker. And anyone who loves baking like me and shares such yummy recipes is high on my list....! Recipes aside, it took me awhile to get into the book but I enjoyed it once I got used to her writing style and quit being so annoyed with myself that I didn't know the meaning of the all the words she threw around like they were commonplace. p.s. -- I've already tried a couple of the recipes and they are really yummy. I heard she has a website with even more recipes which I'm also going to peruse one of these days.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    There were some parts of this memoir that I loved - I remember so many details that Kate Moses mentions about growing up in the 70's. My heart broke for her for all the times that she sought her mother's and her father's love and attention and continually was shut out or worse, put down. While I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book - I thought the ending was a bit abrupt, almost as if she was rushing through. It was mainly because the first 2/3, she took her time and slowly walked through the event There were some parts of this memoir that I loved - I remember so many details that Kate Moses mentions about growing up in the 70's. My heart broke for her for all the times that she sought her mother's and her father's love and attention and continually was shut out or worse, put down. While I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book - I thought the ending was a bit abrupt, almost as if she was rushing through. It was mainly because the first 2/3, she took her time and slowly walked through the events in her life - it felt rushed at the end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    This book had many peaks and valleys. It was difficult - very difficult - for me to decide on a rating. The peaks were high. Beautiful imagery, great writing. I was enraptured. The lows were low: dull, a little pretentious. The details of her friendship with MFK Fisher were a highlight, however. I feel as though a more exacting editor could have whittled this down by about 100 pages and made it a delicious, potent treat that left me wanting more. Instead it felt unnecessarily winding. Too fillin This book had many peaks and valleys. It was difficult - very difficult - for me to decide on a rating. The peaks were high. Beautiful imagery, great writing. I was enraptured. The lows were low: dull, a little pretentious. The details of her friendship with MFK Fisher were a highlight, however. I feel as though a more exacting editor could have whittled this down by about 100 pages and made it a delicious, potent treat that left me wanting more. Instead it felt unnecessarily winding. Too filling.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leesteffy

    This is one of the better memoirs i've read. Her recipes are a little scaring sounding, but the story itself was powerful, and honest. And captured the tumultuousness of growing up with a parent who is not quite right, but not wrong enough for people to doing anything about. I really believed the author was unattractive, and was quite shocked to learn that she was not. She captured perfectly the disconnect between how we sometimes see ourselves negatively, when others see positive. All and all a This is one of the better memoirs i've read. Her recipes are a little scaring sounding, but the story itself was powerful, and honest. And captured the tumultuousness of growing up with a parent who is not quite right, but not wrong enough for people to doing anything about. I really believed the author was unattractive, and was quite shocked to learn that she was not. She captured perfectly the disconnect between how we sometimes see ourselves negatively, when others see positive. All and all a very good read.

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