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Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family…

Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family

by Patricia Volk

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
An enjoyable book about a New York City family who happens to be in the restaurant business. If you expect great stories about the life of a family and their restaurant, you will be disappointed. This vignettes only mention the restaurants in side notes. As little short stories about separate family members of the author it was quite a good read. ( )
  yukon92 | Aug 16, 2014 |
I thoroughly enjoyed Stuffed. I found it to be funny and clever and culturally informative. Don't let the title deceive you. The story does not center around a restaurant. In fact, Volk barely makes mention of the family establishment(s). Instead, Volk offers insight into memories of her family through foodstuff. A cookie. Meat. Soup. Chocolate. Each morsel of food is an opportunity to tell a small tale about a great-grandfather, her aunts, a sister. Probably the most profound chapter is the death of her father. The loss is profound, the love endless. The take-away from all this is love your family, warts and all. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 25, 2011 |
I read this for a research project. It's a very funny, sometimes painful, family memoir about several generations of Volk's family and their lives (mostly) in New York City. There are moments of real rhetorical brilliance here, but I think the book needs an edit too. A lot of family members are reduced to one-liners about their lives--this is funny, but I'd like to see more self-exploration by Volk here as she thinks about what her family means.

I find it odd that it is presented as a restaurant memoir. Ruth Reichel's excellent books are a lot more about food than this one is. Was the publisher trying to cash in on the food and restauarant memoir trend?

Volk's conclusion that you should love your family because they are yours is too pat for me. She is hurt by some of them many times. Anyone who comes from a violent or abusive background would see that, and wonder why she's so intent on love, despite everything. ( )
  jrak | Dec 3, 2010 |
Since I've recently read Kitchen Confidential and Tender at the Bone, I thought I'd continue the food-related-memoir theme. But I'd say this book was less about life in the kitchen and more about life in a family, albeit an atypical one. Favorite part: "What she (her mom) wants for me is an even cleaner, thinner, happier life than she has. Mom made me and now she will make me better." ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
Love on every page. Love love love and more love. A wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book. ( )
  VenusofUrbino | Dec 4, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Volkprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mössner, Ursula-MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375724990, Paperback)

Patricia Volk's enchanting memoir nails both 20th-century American life and the glorious eccentricities of her relatives with the gift for vivid detail of a fiction writer. (After all, she's published one novel and two short-story collections.) "Our hallway was the color of ballpark mustard. The living room was cocoa, my mother's wall-to-wall, iceberg green," she tells us. Volk begins with her adored immediate family: charismatic father, hypercritical but loving mother ("Mom made me, and now she will make me better"), and older sister Jo Ann, best friend and occasional mortal enemy. But they're only the beginning, just as the garment-district restaurant that rules her father's life is only one of the family achievements. Great-grandfather Sussman brought pastrami to the New World. Grandfather Jake, a demolition expert, was profiled in The New Yorker. "Everybody did one thing better than anybody else. Aunt Gertie sang the works of Victor Herbert. Aunt Ruthie mamboed. Granny Ethel braked with such finesse it was impossible to tell the moment the car went from moving to a stop." Of course, perennially negative Aunt Lil embroidered a pillow with the motto "I've Never Forgotten a Rotten Thing Anyone Has Done to Me"--but maybe she was embittered by the fact that Uncle Al slept with her for 11 years then refused to marry her because she wasn't a virgin. (She sent out wedding invitations anyway, and he fell in line.) All these great stories are arranged along a casual chronological arc ("from Sussman Volk in 1888 to Cecil Volk in 1988"), but nothing is ever really finished. Her father closes Morgen's in Manhattan; her sister's husband opens a trendy food shop in Florida. "We're still feeding people," Volk asserts. Readers will find her prose as delicious as family housekeeper Mattie's chocolate cake. Recipes included. --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:32 -0400)

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Explores the lives of the author's Austrian-Jewish-American family, including profiles of her father, a restaurateur and inventor, and her grandmother, who won the 1916 trophy for ""Best Legs in Atlantic City.""

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