I love reading a good memoir—digging in to people’s lives for inspiration and humor—and I love reading about food. Ergo, I love reading food memoirs. I’m reading two now, however, that I’ve had to quit. I won’t name them, because that feels mean, but the stories and writing are so conventional that they offer nothing new. One is a chronicle of some cooking classes that I thought would reveal the inside scoop on life as a chef-in-training, and I suppose it does, but, huh, it turns out to be just how I imagined it. The other focuses way, way too much on family background and entails a cast of characters that I had trouble distinguishing between; the food was a distant afterthought.
What bothers me most, I suppose, is that if these books got published, I, too, could write a food memoir. The difference though, is that I know my story would lack drama—no stories of me eating urchins off the coast of Fiji, no fires or screaming matches in a hot kitchen—so, I wouldn’t subject anyone to it.
Of course, I do bear part of the responsibility in that I was wooed by the books’ covers, pretty photographs that drew me to them in a sweet little bookshop in Maine. The rest though, is on the writers.