Every once in a while I get asked if I am a writer. I struggle with my answer because while technically by the act of putting words together in a specific order as to transmit a precise thought I am writing, I do not think of myself as a writer. Not a true writer anyway. I write as a hobby. I string together a few paragraphs about some amusing stuff my kids did and hit the “publish” button. To me, a real writer uses words the way a sculpture uses clay. They have a far greater command of the English language than I and they have far more creative minds. I also have special reverence for those who have had a book published. The act of composing a work that is not only coherent but also riveting for a few hundred pages is to me an impressive accomplishment. I am in awe of their talent and, frankly, a little jealous of their ability to earn a living from crafting the written word.
I don’t know many people who have written a book, let alone had one published. However, my friend Michelle did just that. She recently came to town on her book tour and even though I’ve known her for years, after reading her book I couldn’t help but look at her with a certain degree of celebrity. Michelle told me about her endeavor over a year ago, and not only was I intrigued by the idea that she was writing a book, but I was enthralled with the topic.
Michelle Maisto’s new book is called The Gastronomy of Marriage. It’s a memoir about a young woman, her fiancé and their relationship to food as they begin to build a life together. Michelle is Italian and her husband to be, Rich, is Chinese. Michelle is vegetarian. Rich is a carnivore. To them, food is more than just sustenance. As told through Michelle’s point of view, the act of choosing, preparing and consuming a meal is a ritual that unites them as a family.
Michelle is an evocative writer who paints lush pictures with her words that allows the reader to practically see and smell the food about which she writes. She is honest and open, letting her life and her passion for all things culinary spill onto the page. It is impossible to read this book without getting hungry. Thankfully, the chapters are punctuated with recipes of the food contained within.
I truly enjoyed this book, not only because I am proud of my friend who wrote it, and not only because it was about a subject that I also love, but because it’s the kind of eloquently written book that inspires me.
If you like to read and you like to eat, I wholeheartedly recommend The Gastronomy of Marriage.