Fair Shares for All
Fair Shares for All
A Memoir of Family and Food
Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812979862, 279pp.
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
In this beautifully written, vividly rendered memoir, John Haney, Gourmet magazine’s copy chief, describes his family’s day-to-day struggles, from the twilight of Queen Victoria’s reign to the dawn of the third millennium, in London’s least affluent working-class enclaves and suburbs, including a place called the Isle of Dogs–and reflects on how his family’s affection for the past and the food they loved kept them together. In crossing the Atlantic–and with it the class barrier–John is left with deep feelings of displacement and nostalgia for his Cockney roots. As he eats in some of New York City’s most expensive restaurants, he tries (and fails) to reconcile his new appetites with the indelible tastes of his youth–and the long-ago life that has continued to, and always will, define him. Peopled with unforgettable characters who find in even the greasiest kitchens the sustenance to see them through life’s hardships, Fair Shares for All is a remarkable memoir of resolve and resilience, food and family.
“Rollicking . . . altogether unforgettable . . . a book for any reader who appreciates artful memoir.”
–The Seattle Times
“An appetite, gluttonously documented . . . Haney makes frequent pit stops for his favorite foods. . . . They nourish him and feed the reader too. . . . [He] vividly captures a particular moment in history.”
–The New York Times
“An extraordinary book. The Isle of Dogs was filled with enormously generous characters whose lives were defined by the memory of hunger. As Haney describes their food he offers up an entire world, and it is not one you are likely to forget.”
“[A] colorful and heartfelt autobiography . . . The culinary descriptions make for a mouthwatering and occasionally cringe-worthy scene-stealer. . . . This memoir is insightful and evocative, expertly conveying the author’s emotional connection to food.”
“Poignant, loquacious . . . This keenly felt memoir will evoke tender impressions of childhood.”
“Fair Shares for All explores the complexity of social class and family life by looking at what’s on the table. This is at every moment so much more than a book about food, but the food, along with John Haney’s unsentimental eye for the past and his beautiful writing, sustains us.”
“Fair Shares for All does the best magic trick of all by giving the reader a front-row seat into someone else’s life. In this cleanly written, poignant, and at times very funny revisiting of his childhood, Haney has turned us from casual readers to devoted fans.”
–Jane and Michael Stern