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Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch (edition 2012)

by Julia Pandl

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6510183,505 (3.86)11
Title:Memoir of the Sunday Brunch
Authors:Julia Pandl
Info:Algonquin Books (2012), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl (Author)



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An eccentric family doing the hard work of running a restaurant... this was more family than foodie... I had trouble getting through it, honestly, because I was put off by the crowded chaos of the family life.
And you'll rethink eating omelets on Mother's Day for sure. ( )
  ewillse | Jan 18, 2016 |
Julia Pandl was the youngest of nine children born to Terry and George Pandl. Her father ran a very popular restaurant in a suburb of Milwaukee WI that was particularly famous for Sunday Brunch. At the age of 12 Julie began working in the restaurant – without salary. Her first job was “pick up the parking lot” – ridding the asphalt of used cigarette butts and discarded candy wrappers. Once she was done with that her sister set her up on a 5-gallon pickle bucket turned upside down, gave her a pile of shrimp larger than she was and said, “Start peeling.”

This is a delightful memoir of a young woman growing up as the baby of the family with a larger-than-life father. She takes us from sullen pre-adolescence to young adulthood, from being the pampered youngest child to assuming the caregiver role for her aging parents. Along the way she treats us to some laugh-out-loud observations on life, love, faith, family, friendship and trust.

The first half of the book is more focused on her experiences as a teen, working in the restaurant, and traveling with her father to and from work. The book takes on a more serious tone in the second half, when first her mother and then her father are stricken with the illnesses that will eventually take their lives, and Julie moves back home to help care for them. It’s poignant without being maudlin.

I’ve seen reviews that characterize this as “a cross between A Girl Named Zippy and Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone,” and I have to agree.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Julia Pandl is the youngest of nine children born to George and Teresa Pandl. Her dad owned a restaurant in Milwaukee, and every Sunday each child was expected to work the famous Sunday brunch. She recounts this life in Memoir of the Sunday Brunch.

I have to tell you how much I loved this book! You not only get an insider's look at what a tough life the restaurant business is, you also get a wonderful, honest look at life in a big Catholic Midwestern family, and Julia's relationship with her tough, loving father is so beautifully written it will make you want to give your own dad a hug.

George not only loved food, family and the church, he was a voracious reader. He even read during mass, though they were always books with a religious theme, to be fair. He was a huge presence in his family's life, and Julia loved him very much, even though he was always trying to feed food to his family that was leftover from the restaurant- as in leftover from months and years ago.

When she was fourteen, she asked if she could drive them to the restaurant, and George let her drive a little bit further each week, until soon she was driving them all the way. These rides cemented their close, loving relationship.

Working the brunch was not easy. Julia's first job was picking up trash in the parking lot. Next she moved onto peeling shrimp, and soon her job was making the pancakes for the line. As someone who owned a fast food restaurant, this section of the book had a special appeal for me.

As a Catholic, I also enjoyed reading about how the Pandl's faith informed their life. Terry had religious statues, rosaries and funeral cards all over the house. Terry is not a big part of the book until she loses a foot to diabetes. Julia's relationship with her mother seems to deepen as she helps to care for her aging parents.

The end of the book is very moving. Julia and her siblings must deal with her parents' serious illnesses, and these last few chapters are something that will make everyone reflect upon their own parents, as this is something that most of us will face at some point in our lives.

There is so much to love here in Memoir of the Sunday Brunch. Julia Pandl writes from the heart; with all the fun, the joy, the fighting, the hard work, the love, and the sorrow that living in a big family brings. This is one of my favorite book of this year, and it makes me appreciate my family even more. ( )
  bookchickdi | Mar 1, 2014 |
A lovely memoir about food, memory, and family. Read a longer review here: http://booklovercook.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/food-books-i-love-memoir-of-the-su... ( )
  booklovercook | Feb 20, 2014 |
This is a truly wonderful love story of a family. Her stories had me laughing out loud in some places and the sections around a death in the family broke my heart? Julia Pandl wrote just like we feel during such emotional times. I haven't seen grief expressed so well and so creatively before. I never thought I would say that I would read anything by a publisher. But Algonquin is masterful. Their editorial staff is remarkable and I will read anything they do. This is just one fine example of the terrific quality if writing that they publish. Years ago I was part of their Marching & Chowder Society. I'm thrilled to find they have kept their high standards and are still putting out exceptional work. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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At the age of twelve, Julia Pandl was initiated into the ritual of the Sunday brunch at her father's Milwaukee-based restaurant, a weekly madhouse where she--and her eight siblings before her--learned not just the family business but also life lessons that would shape them for years to come. Now, looking back on those years, she tells a story that is part childhood memories, part a window into the mysteries of the restaurant business.… (more)

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