Review: Bon Appétempt by Amelia Morris

Review: Bon Appétempt by Amelia MorrisBon Appétempt by Amelia Morris
Published by Grand Central Publishing on February 3, 2015
Pages: 320
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When Amelia Morris saw a towering, beautiful chocolate cake in Bon Appétit and took the recipe home to recreate it for a Christmas day brunch she was hosting, it resulted in a terrible (but tasty) mess that had to be served in an oversize bowl. It was also a revelation. Both delicious and damaged, it seemed a physical metaphor for the many curious and unexpected situations she's found herself in throughout her life, from her brief career as a six-year-old wrestler to her Brady Bunch-style family (minus the housekeeper and the familial harmony) to her ill-fated twenty-something job at the School of Rock in Los Angeles. As a way to bring order to chaos and in search of a more meaningful lifestyle, she finds herself more and more at home in the kitchen, where she begins to learn that even if the results of her culinary efforts fall well short of the standard set by glossy food magazines, they can still bring satisfaction (and sustenance) to her and her family and friends. Full of hilarious observations about food, family, unemployment, romance, and the extremes of modern L.A., and featuring recipes as basic as Toasted Cheerios and as advanced as gâteau de crêpes, BON APPÉTEMPT is sure to resonate with anyone who has tried and failed, and been all the better for it.

I received this book from Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Bon Appétempt by Amelia Morris is such a good representation of everything I love in my life: food, food memoirs, food, recipes, cooking, and coming of age stories. I all but devoured this book in one sitting.

What I love the most about Bon Appétempt is that Morris is brutally honest about her life. She takes a no holds barred approach to writing and lets us in on all the dirty family details. And yet, Morris doesn’t use these moments to capitalize on our sympathies. She uses them to create real depth as she narrates her coming of age story. She and I are just about the same age, and that really helped me identify with her struggles. I know what it’s like to have a degree in something that isn’t overtly useful. I’m not in healthcare or in law. I’m a writer, plain and simple, and so is she. By the end of the book, I knew that if she could be successful, so could I. And that’s what I think where the beauty of the book lies–in its ability to speak to the 20-somethings out there who struggle with an economy that doesn’t value their creative contributions to society and hold down crappy jobs in a crap-shoot that may or may not pay out.

Morris does an excellent job showing us her transformation from obsessive dieter to a food blogger who isn’t afraid to screw up her food. The idea of her blog, Bon Appétempt, is that our expectations sometimes fall short of expected outcomes. In a way, this idea applies to her life (and ours) as well. It creates a symmetry that I appreciate. Sometimes life isn’t as pretty as the cake on the cover of Bon Apétit, but it certainly still tastes good when you crumble it up, stick it in a bowl, and make a fool out of it.

In the end, Bon Appétempt is must-read for food lovers and for 20-somethings looking for some respite from their stressful life-situations.

four-stars

© 2015 – 2016, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.