Always Home, by Fanny Singer. Pub 2020
This book was an unexpected birthday gift from a friend living in California. She knows of my love of good writing and good food (and of the annual reading challenge), and after reading some favourable reviews of this book, she kindly sent it my way. It came along in the vacation library, and I read it by the fire and in the tent.
Fanny Singer is the daughter of Alice Waters, American chef, entrepreneur, and advocate of good, wholesome food. Fanny is a writer on popular culture, but this book is a memoir about growing up in an unusual family with an unusual mom. The book begins with her earliest years and continues through to the near-present with her recent return to California from years abroad. Fanny is an excellent writer, telling interesting, intricate, kind, and caring stories about her family and friends. Food is omnipresent in the stories, and she shares the recipes for almost every dish and meal in a prose style that is easy to follow (all recipes should read like this, although they’d never fit on recipe cards). Fanny provides the recipes right within the stories, so they are an integral part of what she’s telling and clearly an essential element of her life and family.
My favourite chapters are about Domaine Tempier and the family’s times there with Lulu Peyraud. These stories read like fiction, with the big characters and charming anecdotes. The heat of the Mistral is palpable in the language, as is the aroma of the food and the taste of the wine.
My favourite recipe is Green Goddess Lobster Rolls. I was definitely drooling over the description of the tender lobster meeting bright green avocado dressing, and the lightly toasted buttery buns. Such a clever and delicious variation. I also liked the sound of Potage de Cresson, a potato and watercress soup that would be warming and bright on a dreary dark rainy day.
Although likely best read in snippets, a chapter or story at a time, I enjoy reading it over several days while camping. I was nowhere that any of the ingredients could be found but perhaps that was for the best – I could only read the recipes, not try any of them out.
Fate: passing along to another reader to enjoy.