cover image Feed the Hungry: A Memoir, with Recipes

Feed the Hungry: A Memoir, with Recipes

Nani Power. Free Press, $23 (205pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-5606-0

This rambling memoir takes readers from a Virginia plantation to punk-era New York City, with stops in the Bahamas, Brazil, Japan and other alluring destinations. Power, a novelist and foodie, takes a haphazard approach, with seemingly no organizing principle or purpose other than to share her love of various foods, certain family members, and a few different men. Nevertheless, for every moment of self-indulgence (in both the writing and the eating), there are moments of pure, poetic joy: ""My older uncle Harrison... even shot a bear once, and we baked a haunch of it, a massive, fulvous hunk covered in grease as thick as Vaseline."" Further, the author takes such obvious pleasure in reminiscing over meals and friends that it's hard not to enjoy them alongside her. For anyone who's never tasted authentic Persian rice, her painstaking description of both preparing and eating the dish makes the crispy-bottomed specialty feel close at hand. Moreover, her recollection of crispy Peruvian chicken ""with homemade chunky fried potatoes and a sharp green chile sauce"" is positively mouthwatering. A few recipes garnish the end of each chapter, including dishes like Marinara Sauce, Cold Borscht, and the Brazilian stew Feijoada, a selection as idiosyncratic as the memoir itself.