Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin
Sasha Martin is the author of a successful foodie blog, Global Table Adventure. When she was approached with the idea of turning her blog into a book, she thought it would be an easy endeavor. Instead, she quickly realized that in order for her book to be meaningful, she would have to describe how she came to love food in all its various combinations, and in order to do that, she would have to talk about her own life. That was something Sasha didn't want to do.
Sasha had a rough childhood. She and her brother, Michael, spent their early years with their mother in a small apartment in Queens. There was never much money but there was love and creativity and food, lots of food. Food was never to be wasted so her mother invented countless ways to make the food budget stretch with lots of ways to use leftovers. But there were also food celebrations; marvelous family desserts that they might have to save up for months to purchase the ingredients for.
As Sasha got into school, life became harder and harder for her mother to maneuver on her own. Soon, the school personnel were reporting the family to Social Services and the children entered the system and a series of foster families, many of which were horrid. In order to rescue her children, the mother made a huge sacrifice and gave the children to a family friend to raise. The new family moved frequently due to the father's job, so Sasha and her brother had not only lost their original family but never had a place to call their own that wouldn't be snatched out from under them at a moment's notice.
Once through college, Sasha started an odyssey to discover her life's work. She worked as a web designer, in marketing, went to cooking school and basically knocked around. When she ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on an internship, something felt right and she made the city her home. She found a husband and soon had a child. Determined to give her child the kind of warm, loving childhood she always wanted, she searched for a project. She came up with the idea of cooking her way around the world, cooking the traditional recipes of every country in the world using original recipes. The project would take four years and the blog grew from this project. In the process, Sasha not only created a successful blog, but a new way of connecting with her family and her community. This is the story she shares.
Each chapter in the book ends with a recipe. Some of these are family traditions, and some are recipes from various places in the world. Some are quick meals made from leftover ingredients, while some take days to prepare. Each shows the love Sasha has for food, and for the connections food helps us make with others. This book is recommended for readers of memoirs and for foodies.