Candace Walsh.Â Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity.Â Seal Press, 2012.PB.Â 321p. $16. 978-1-58005-391-4.
In this heart-breaking and heartwarming memoir, Walsh shares a story of confusion, love, hate, seeking love, and search for identity, and soul searching.
From a broken family that goes from healing to breaking and offers hope before danger and despair, Walsh, the eldest, seeks to find her true self.Â She doesnâ€™t fit at school or socially, her mother berates her for her body, and her father figures keep changing. Interspersed with remembrances of food and meals, this memoir hits home with the late-identified, the abandoned, and those from broken homes or labeled misfits.
Walsh does not yet realize her lesbianism, although Walsh acknowledges her lack of sexual release when with men and her attraction to women, she does not recognize herself as a lesbian while she is young. When beginning to explore lesbianism, Walsh has heterosexual encounters until she decides that they are not satisfactory. These elements, combined with her inability to find a suitable job, frustration with her therapy, and continued abandonment, create an upward battle towards happiness. Set in Manhattan, Buffalo, Long Island (NY), and Santa Fe as well as western European cities, the book takes readers with Walsh on an emotional and geographical journey.
With several recipes included at the end, this book will appeal to the culinary-oriented by title, although the cooking journey is only a small part of the entire narrative of personal, spiritual, and sexual journeys. Readers who enjoy books of self-awakening will find pleasure in this down-to-earth and heartfelt memoir of a life of searching. Occasional foreign words without definitions might at first be confusing, but this infrequent lack of translation contributes to the sense portrayed by the book. Recommended for public libraries and readers of memoirs.