Red Velvet Underground: A Rock Memoir, with Recipes

Midway. Nov. 2015. 208p. index. ISBN 9781572841758. pap. $16. MEMOIR
Smith, a lecturer (communications, Northwestern Univ.) and essayist, looks at cooking as a metaphor for life skills as it involves planning, preparation, and completion. Here, the author blends anecdotes with corresponding recipes and taking a year of cooking lessons for Jonah, her oldest son, before he heads off to the University of Illinois. She delves into her experiences: growing up with hippie parents; playing drums for the Blake Babies, an alternative rock band that rubbed elbows with the likes of the Lemonheads and They Might Be Giants; following a macrobiotic diet; and being a parent, which she says is the hardest thing she has ever done. The recipes are accessible with most ingredients available at health food stores (with the exception of human placenta, a supernutritious food source, according to Smith). The stories are somewhat hard to follow as they are not chronological.
VERDICT An appealing choice for readers who are looking for a humorous take on parenthood and food. Recommend to those who enjoy books that combine elements of storytelling with recipes such as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples.
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