Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: National Geographic (March 3, 2015)
It was a culinary journey like no other: Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook—and eat—a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. From the tiny, makeshift kitchen of her eccentric, creative mother to a string of foster homes to the house from which she launches her own cooking adventure, Martin’s heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal—and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.
I love memoirs, and I love cookbooks, so this book grabbed my attention right away. I loved reading about Sasha’s childhood. Her mother wasn’t your ordinary mother. She was quite the character. I loved reading about her, through the good and the bad.
Subsequently, Sasha and her brother had a very different childhood from anyone I know. At times it was very good, but a lot of her young years were very bad, and had a lasting effect on her. She ultimately finds peace and forgiveness through her love of cooking.
This is such a good book! Not only does it have the fascinating story of Sasha’s life, it also had recipes from around the world. One that I’d like to try is Muamba de Galinha, which is a spicy Angolan Chicken Stew:
Muamba de Galinha
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
Generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
4-5 whole chicken legs
1/4 to 1/3 cup red palm oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 habanero pepper, as desired
1 cup water
salt and pepper
1 small pumpkin (about 1 1/2 pounds) to make 1 pounds cubed
1/2 pound okra (fresh or frozen) sliced in rounds
Mix lemon juice, zest, crushed garlic, salt and chili powder and rub into the chicken.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight
Add the oil to a large pot and heat on medium-high heat
Brown the chicken (avoid crowding) 5-10 minutes a side
Cook the onions until soft and beginning to brown
Add in the remaining marinade and tomatoes.
Slit the habanero in half and deseed (for more fire, just chop it) and add to mix
Add the water and season with salt and pepper
Cover and cook at a gently bubble for 30 to 45 minuets, or until the chicken is tender
Meanwhile, peel, seed and cut the pumpkin into 1.5 inch cubes
Stir the pumpkin and sliced okra into the broth
Cover and cook until all the ingredients are cooked through (about 30 minuets)
Adjust seasoning and serve hot
*can be served on its own, with boiled yucca, or served over rice
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs or recipes.
About The Author
Sasha Martin is an award-winning writer and blogger who spent almost four years cooking her way around the world. She graduated from Wesleyan University and was an MFK Fisher Scholar at the Culinary Institute of America. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Keith and their daughter Ava.
Sasha’s work has been featured on NPR, as well as in Whole Living, Bon Appetit, The Smithsonian, The Huffington Post, and CNNgo. Her website, Global Table Adventure, is a go-to hub for foodies around the world.
Her first book, Life From Scratch chronicles her lifelong struggle to find inner-peace, including the years she spent cooking the world as a new mother.