Adventures of a Restaurant Family
By Patricia Volk
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375724992, 256pp.)
Publication Date: October 22, 2002
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Patricia Volk’s delicious memoir lets us into her big, crazy, loving, cheerful, infuriating and wonderful family, where you’re never just hungry–your starving to death, and you’re never just full–you’re stuffed. Volk’s family fed New York City for one hundred years, from 1888 when her great-grandfather introduced pastrami to America until 1988, when her father closed his garment center restaurant. All along, food was pretty much at the center of their lives. But as seductively as Volk evokes the food, Stuffed is at heart a paean to her quirky, vibrant relatives: her grandmother with the “best legs in Atlantic City”; her grandfather, who invented the wrecking ball; her larger-than-life father, who sculpted snow thrones when other dads were struggling with snowmen. Writing with great freshness and humor, Patricia Volk will leave you hungering to sit down to dinner with her robust family–both for the spectacle and for the food.
Patricia Volk is the author of the memoir Stuffed; the novels To My Dearest Friends and White Light; and two collections of short stories, All it Takes and The Yellow Banana. She has published stories, book reviews, and essays in dozens of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, New York, The New Yorker and Playboy. She was a weekly columnist for New York Newsday, and she lives in New York.
: “Taut, sharp... Vibrantly textured. . . . Volk has a gift for seeing the world in a grain of salt.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This funny, hearbreaking book is good enough to eat. A whole lost world is conjured up here, with a vitality and love of daily life that has no time for sentimentality.” –Philip Lopate
“My nominee for Book of the Year. . . It’s funny, it’s affecting, it’s wise, it’s New York, it’s close to the bone, it’s wonderfully well-written. Above all, it’s about how a real family functions." –Michael M. Thomas, The New York Observer
"The message of Volk's loopy, generous memoir, Stuffed, is that there is no such thing as too much food or too much feeling. . . . Stuffed is just what a good restaurant meal should be–soaked in atmosphere, full of strong flavors, handsome on the plate." —Los Angeles Times
“Unnervingly delightful. . . . In these gorgeous, generous pages . . . the sweetness never ends. ” –The Miami Herald