A tale of unconditional love and Thayir Sadam

Name of the Book: Love, Loss and What We Ate
Name of the Author: Padma Lakshmi 
Genre: A Memoir

Padma Lakshmi in her memoir opens her heart and soul,  reveals her flaws and strengths,  takes you on an intimate journey of her life, filled with her tales of her native home in Madras, life in fashion, her complex relationships, marital chaos and her struggle with endometriosis and the miracle of Krishna. 

My favourite part of the book is when she talks about her grandparents home in Madras. Her relationship with her 'thatha' (maternal grandfather), buying ice-cream with the coin from the pocket of his shirt, the resilience of her grandmother and the description of her pickles and how she tempered the Thayir Sadam or curd rice. The story of the cool marble floor and the precious Godrej and it's hidden contents; the pickle jars and the description of womanhood and acceptance into the fold through the actions in the kitchen. Her relationships with her cousins,  making chilly cheese toast and her constant battle with identity, that even made Padma,  Angelique at some point. Her mother Vijaya Lakshmi comes across as a woman of great strength and it's amazing how she has stood by her through every moment. I do like the fact that she uses her mother's name :) 

Her detailed description of the fashion world,  her stints at Madrid, Paris,  Milan, New York; and her work also brings to light the various challenges/barriers of colour,  size and looks that women encounter. Things we all may know but when she narrates her insecurity about the scar from the accident and how it took a world renowned designer to embrace it for the rest of the world to see its beauty and for her to find acceptance. Her account of the Top Chef seasons,  her experiences of food tasting, the constant check to ensure the clothes fit,  the description of the cranberry health drink seamlessly fit into her narration. 

Her blatant honesty comes through when she talks of her marital problems, the lack of empathy from a spouse,  the unrealistic expectations and the devastating effects on her physically,  emotionally and psychologically. Her confusion in her relationships, her courting two men at the same time and the constant dialogue with herself about the morality and the practicality of it has been eloquently put. 

The places where she talks about endometriosis, the late diagnosis, the impact it has had on two decades of her life and sometimes the little known facts about it. She talks about the foundation that she set up along with her doctor and other benefactors- Endometriosis Foundation of America. 
Suffering from an ailment and seeing it's debilitating effects on her fertility and how she dealt with it is very inspiring. She talks about the low moments,  the depression, the feelings of worthlessness... all stemming from the aspect of fertility. 

Teddy to me was the star of the book in some way. His unconditional love for her and the fierce protectiveness is something a woman must hold on to in a partner. He let her be her own person and accepted her the way she is. His acceptance of Krishna makes your heart swell with pride and your heart breaks when you see him fighting his battle with cancer. 

The story moves across timelines and very deftly takes you through cuisines,  cultures, practices and little nuggets of wisdom. Padma Lakshmi has very seamlessly told the story of her life and crafted a dish worth trying. 

Two things I do wonder about- her constant reference to Karma and why is 'chatpati' written as 'chaatpati' throughout the book. I do like the little recipes she shared and I drew inspiration from that for the pic for this post. Who can say no to a lovely serving of Thayir Sadam on a hot summer afternoon. 

#Booksin2017 #Book5Review #Memoir #PadmaLakshmi #love #food 


Anonymous said…
Intriguing description
Beautifully written... am now compelled to read it soon ;)

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