Julia Wendell’s Take This Spoon* is a deeply personal and strikingly accessible collection of poems that brings together the poet’s memories of food and family, heartbreak and health.
Ms. Wendell opens each section of the book with a family recipe (which, I have to say, made me long for my pre-paleo days) for something delectable and luxuriously rich (cheese soufflé, peanut butter pie, an intensely garlicky salad that I want right now). The poems pick up on these recipes, investigating the place of food in domestic life and in the poet’s personal history, which includes struggles with both anorexia and addiction. These challenges are at the heart of the collection, as the poet confronts her relationship with her mother and how it affects her responses to her own children.
Ms. Wendell’s informal and comfortable style is disarming; these are poems you can imagine as conversations in the poet’s kitchen. Her descriptive language is evocative, not only of culinary exploits, but of the experiences of childhood and parenthood, and the gap between the two.
For a taste of Take This Spoon, you can visit Ms. Wendell’s website to read “Cream of Tartar.”
*I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration, which did not affect the content of my review.