The Bread and the Knife
A Life in 26 Bites
- 256 Pages
- September 11, 2018
- ISBN: 9781628729245
"You'll wish the alphabet had more letters just so Dawn Drzal would keep on writing.”?Laura Shapiro, author of What She Ate, Julia Child, Something from the Oven, and Perfection Salad
As it was for M. F. K. Fisher in The Gastronomical Me, food is more than a metaphor in The Bread and the Knife. It is the organizing principle of an existence. Starting with "A Is for Al Dente," the loosely linked chapters evoke an alphabet of food memories that recount a woman’s emotional growth from the challenges of youth to professional accomplishment, marriage, and divorce. Betrayal is embodied in an overripe melon, her awakening in a Béarnaise sauce. Passion fruit juice portends the end of a first marriage, while tarte Tatin offers redemption. Each letter serves up a surprising variation on the struggle for self-knowledge, the joy and pain of familial and romantic love, and food’s astonishing ability to connect us with both the living and the dead.
Ranging from her grandmother's suburban kitchen to an elegant New York restaurant, a longhouse in Borneo, and a palace in Rajasthan, The Bread and the Knife charts the vicissitudes of a woman forced to swallow some hard truths about herself while discovering that the universe can dispense surprising second chances.
The book includes six recipes that run the gamut from "Crepes Filled with Huitlacoche" to her stepfather’s homely “Stromboli Stuffing,” including a couple that are more entertaining to read about than to prepare, like liquified olives with pimento.
“Dawn Drzal has captured the joy and poetry of feeding and being fed—loving and being loved, however imperfectly. The Bread and the Knife is a lexicon of life and the food that sustains us through each joy and sorrow. I want to spend hours in her pages and at her table.”—Giulia Melucci, author of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
"Dawn Drzal's The Bread and the Knife is a refreshingly honest book, self-reflective, and funny. Drzal is an apt storyteller, and her memories are vivid enough to keep you turning pages. Plus, the recipe for white borscht alone is worth the price of the book.”—Tamar Adler, author of An Everlasting Meal and Something Old, Something New
"Food expresses our bounty and generosity, love of family and friends, sure. But food is also inextricably wound up in regret, fear, betrayal and failure, which is harder to swallow (as it were.) Drzal capture how the pleasures and frustrations of providing sustenance for one's loved ones and oneself seep into all of our painful, wondrous human experiences. Spanning the globe yet never straying from the intimacy of the simplest of meals, The Bread and the Knife cuts into the stuff of life, both the dramatic and the prosaic, and the stuff of sustenance is the blade."—Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia and Cleaving
“What I love about The Bread and the Knife is how food inserts itself into our lives, lingering to be recalled when needed. While this is Dawn Drzal’s personal story, it makes me think that surely we must all have our own versions of how food walks in and out of our lives along with loves and losses.” —Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and In My Kitchen