IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME: My Adventures in Life and Food. By Moira Hodgson. NY: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. 2008.
This month’s choice was a nonfiction, food/art memoir. I read more fiction than non-fiction, and often, in nonfiction, I read books that pertain to whatever book I’m writing at the time.
As a cook and a traveler, I like to read about other kinds of cooking. Moira Hodgson’s memoir contains all of that. The daughter of a British diplomat, she grew up all over the world: Egypt, Sweden, Vietnam, Berlin, New York. Moira grew up adjusting to new locations, languages, and food, and used her innate curiosity and artist’s eye to learn as much as she could. When she finally moved to Greenwich Village and started writing cookbooks, moving into restaurant reviews made a lot of sense.
As most good cooks and good travel writers, Hodgson has an eye for sensory detail, and a sense of humor. Some of the places she lived and visited were familiar to me from my own travels; many were places I’d like to visit in the future, and her descriptions made me even more eager.
She finds the world an interesting place. Therefore, she is able to communicate that interest in good writing.
Recipes follow anecdotes, scattered throughout the book instead of lumped in the back. And her work history makes me long for the days when there were a plethora of interesting, engaged newspapers and magazines, instead of our current, bland conglomerate media empires.
The book is fun, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Her history starts earlier than mine, but it’s interesting to see where we overlap, and how we responded to the same events. Reading the book is like spending time with a new friend; someone I wanted to spend more time with, and get to know better. I may even try some of the recipes!
What did you read this month, and how did you feel about it? Please leave your response in the comments.
Next month’s challenge is to read a play — one for stage, not screen. Our rendezvous date is Tuesday, June 18.