Colorful Palate: A Flavorful Journey Through a Mixed American Experience

Empire State Editions: Fordham Univ. Oct. 2023. 160p. ISBN 9781531504571. $24.95. MEMOIR
In his first book, journalist Tawney examines his Indian, Puerto Rican, and Italian American heritage and upbringing through the culinary expertise of his family and friends. Tawney’s Puerto Rican and Italian American mother learned to make popular Indian dishes when she married Tawney’s father. (Similarly, his Puerto Rican grandmother learned Italian cooking when she married Tawney’s Italian American grandfather.) Excelling at different cuisines helped them bridge differences between cultures. The author writes with clarity and humor about growing up in the 1990s and 2000s in a comfortable—not lavish—childhood home in Long Island, NY, loving hip-hop so much that he pursued, on and off, a music career during his college days. After graduation, his experience explaining technology to his grandmother resulted in a job working at a home for senior citizens, where he formed solid friendships. Each chapter of this memoir ends with a theme-fitting recipe for such items as tandoori chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, and rainbow cookies.
VERDICT A heartfelt memoir. The author’s ability to follow his passions and find his place in the world will resonate with many readers, especially those interested in multicultural narratives.
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