Coming on 9/20/2016 from NAL/Berkley,
available for preorder now
“A brave and generous memoir, a lucid love letter to her own family’s history that . . . does the work of a great memoir in piercing the reader’s separateness and reminding us that we are not alone. I love this book.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion
From the Washington Post columnist and James Beard Award-winning author of Poor Man’s Feast comes a story of seeking truth, acceptance, and self in a world of contradiction. Treyf: According to Leviticus, unkosher and prohibited, like lobster, shrimp, pork, fish without scales, the mixing of meat and dairy. Also, imperfect, intolerable, offensive, undesirable, unclean, improper, broken, forbidden, illicit.
Fans of Augusten Burroughs and Jo Ann Beard will enjoy this kaleidoscopic, universal memoir in which Elissa Altman explores the tradition, religion, family expectations, and the forbidden that were the fixed points in her Queens, New York, childhood. Every part of Altman’s youth was laced with contradiction and hope, betrayal and the yearning for acceptance: synagogue on Saturday and Chinese pork ribs on Sunday; bat mitzvahs followed by shrimp-in-lobster-sauce luncheons; her old-country grandparents, whose kindness and love were tied to unspoken rage, and her bell-bottomed neighbors, whose adoring affection hid dark secrets.
While the suburban promise of The Brady Bunch blared on television, Altman searched for peace and meaning in a world teeming with faith, violence, sex, and paradox. Spanning from 1940s wartime Brooklyn to 1970s Queens to present-day rural New England, Treyf captures the collision of youthful cravings and grown-up identities. It is a vivid tale of what it means to come to yourself both in spite and in honor to your past.
“One of the finest food memoirs of recent years.” — New York Times Book Review
Born and raised in New York to a food-phobic mother and a food-fanatical father, Elissa Altman learned early on that fancy is always best. After a childhood spent dining at fine establishments, from Le Pavillon to La Grenouille, she devoted her life to all things gastronomical. Then, Elissa met and fell in love with Susan—a frugal, small-town Connecticut Yankee with a devotion to simple living—and it changed her relationship with food, and the people who taught her about it, forever. Told with tender and often hilarious honesty, and filled with twenty-six delicious recipes, Poor Man’s Feast is a tale of finding sustenance and peace in a world of excess and inauthenticity, demonstrating how all our stories are inextricably bound up with how we feed ourselves and those we love.