Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (A Memoir with Recipes) by Boris Fishman
Publication: February 26th, 2019 by Harper
Genre: Autobiography – Memoir
The acclaimed author of A Replacement Life shifts between heartbreak and humor in this gorgeously told a recipe-filled memoir. A family story, an immigrant story, a love story, and an epic meal, Savage Feast explores the challenges of navigating two cultures from an unusual angle.
A revealing personal story and family memoir told through meals and recipes, Savage Feast begins with Boris’s childhood in Soviet Belarus, where good food was often worth more than money. He describes the unlikely dish that brought his parents together and how years of Holocaust hunger left his grandmother so obsessed with bread that she always kept five loaves on hand. She was the stove magician and Boris’ grandfather the master black marketer who supplied her, evading at least one firing squad on the way. These spoils kept Boris’ family—Jews who lived under threat of discrimination and violence—provided-for and protected.
Despite its abundance, food becomes even more important in America, which Boris’ family reaches after an emigration through Vienna and Rome filled with marvel, despair, and bratwurst. How to remain connected to one’s roots while shedding their trauma? The ambrosial cooking of Oksana, Boris’s grandfather’s Ukrainian home aide, begins to show him the way. His quest takes him to a farm in the Hudson River Valley, the kitchen of a Russian restaurant on the Lower East Side, a Native American reservation in South Dakota, and back to Oksana’s kitchen in Brooklyn. His relationships with women—troubled, he realizes, for reasons that go back many generations—unfold concurrently, finally bringing him, after many misadventures, to an American soulmate.
Savage Feast is Boris’ tribute to food, that secret passage to an intimate conversation about identity, belonging, family, displacement, and love.
About the author: Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus, and immigrated to the United States in 1988 at the age of nine. His journalism, essays, and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. His first novel, A Replacement Life won the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal, was one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books, and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. He lives in New York. www.borisfishman.com
Review of Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (A Memoir with Recipes) by Boris Fishman
Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table is a beautiful but heartbreaking memoir of an immigrant family that is full of love, food, recipes, and despair. A family that cherished food more than anything else. Fishman shares personal stories about his parents and grandparents and how food helped play a part in the lives of him and his family. A story that is sure to tug at your heartstrings as you read a story of belonging and how one person manages to find themselves. ** I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**