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The Language of Baklava de Diana Abu-Jaber
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The Language of Baklava (edição: 2006)

de Diana Abu-Jaber

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3661052,548 (3.95)11
"From the acclaimed author of Crescent, here is a vibrant, humorous memoir of growing up with a gregarious Jordanian father who loved to cook. Diana Abu-Jaber weaves the story of her life in upstate New York and in Jordan around vividly remembered meals: everything from Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts with her Arab-American cousins to goat stew feasts under a Bedouin tent in the desert. These sensuously evoked meals in turn illuminate the two cultures of Diana's childhood - American and Jordanian - and the richness and difficulty of straddling both. They also bring her wonderfully eccentric family to life, most memorably her imperious American grandmother and her impractical, hotheaded, displaced immigrant father, who, like many an immigrant before him, cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection on to his children." "As she does in her fiction, Diana draws us in with her insight and compassion, and with her talent for describing food and the myriad pleasures and adventures associated with cooking and eating. Each chapter contains mouth-watering recipes for many of the dishes described, from her Middle Eastern grandmother's Mad Genius Knaffea to her American grandmother's Easy Roast Beef, to her aunt Aya's Poetic Baklava. The Language of Baklava gives us the chance not only to grow up alongside Diana, but also to share meals with her every step of the way - unforgettable feasts that teach her, and us, as much about identity, love, and family as they do about food."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (mais)
Membro:ksiazki
Título:The Language of Baklava
Autores:Diana Abu-Jaber
Informação:Anchor (2006), Paperback, 352 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:arab-american, biography, cooking, food literature, memoir, Middle East, nonfiction, recipes

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The Language of Baklava de Diana Abu-Jaber

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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Thoroughly, completely charming. ( )
  Dez.dono | Mar 27, 2018 |
Best when focused on the immigrant struggle and trying to relate to her dad. Not sure how I came across this author but the memoir sounded intriguing: relating to her Jordanian father and the dishes he cooked, the foods of her families (both her Jordanian family and her "American" one), as well as growing up the daughter of an immigrant and navigating through life trying to relate to two different cultures and countries.
 
It's an amusing book that shows the highs, lows, funnies and not so much of what it's like to have a foot in two different worlds. At it's funniest it's hilarious to see some of the cultural misunderstandings that just come from not having the knowledge and sometimes it's not so amusing. For me one the best contrasts is when she is living in Jordan and an English boy living with his apparently always invisible parents says "they" (he and the author) don't belong. When she asks why he says it's because she's closer in skin tone to him than to her Jordanian friends. Contrast this to when she moves back with her family to the US and the new neighbors eye her father warily because it's just not usual to eat food and BBQ on the front yard.
 
But the book is not always so great. Sometimes the passages are a little too long and once the author goes off the college the book somewhat goes downhill. It was still interesting to see her navigate learning to be on her own and away from her father (who insists on "no boys" at college) but without her family present the author's story becomes less interesting. She returns to Jordan but there is no peace there (she misses the US) or when she returns (everything is so different).
 
There's a bit of a time skip and a fast forward which was a bit disappointing. I also found it odd to see how little her mother (who was born in the States and has a mix of European ancestry) is featured. Especially when her dad drags the family back and forth between the US and Jordan and keeps investing in schemes and restaurants that often don't pan out. I began to wonder where the family got the money and why Abu-Jaber's mother would put up with all of this.
 
Still, for the experiences of a first-generation girl and woman I thought it was an interesting read. It's enough to get me to borrow what I think may be the sequel (based on the description), 'Life Without a Recipe'. I somewhat wish I had borrowed this or got it cheap but for the right person it's probably not a bad pickup, even if only for the recipes. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
The Language of Baklava pulls and immerses readers from the beginning. While Diana's father and uncles are described as loud, overbearing and demanding, we learn how kind, generous and thoughtful most of them can be. While the women are pictured as compliant and uncomplaining, Diana ensures we see just how capable, smart and independent they are.

The story of Abu-Jaber's father is the experience of many immigrant families in the US. Missing home and family, the resulting disorientation, and sadly the bias, disrespect or outright discrimination from Americans for their different language, dress and customs. Adult immigrants also suffer an emotional disconnect as their children grow and assimilate into American culture.

Diana's life is enriched by briefly living in Jordan when her father fears he is losing his children to American culture. It helps her understand him better and accept her Jordanian heritage.

The Language of Baklava is special in its love of family, cooking, serving and eating Jordanian foods, and visiting many relatives especially Auntie Aya who knows best how to mend fences between family members.

Diana's mother's mother, Gram is priceless. She is a proud but historically and culturally ignorant American especially during a trip to a Chinese restaurant. Believing she is worldly and sophisticated, she behaves firtatiously, misunderstanding dramatic differences in Chinese and Japanese history /culture she infuritates and embarrasses Diana big time.

An excellent, funny, sad and moving read. ( )
  Bookish59 | Dec 29, 2016 |
Great memoir with recipes by a Jordanian/American woman who lived in both worlds. Such a loving portrayal of the difficulties faced by her Jordanian father adapting to the US and leaving his homeland behind. Lovely cooking stories and I can't wait to make the Baklava and other recipes. ( )
  jeanfeldeisen | Oct 10, 2012 |
In this culinary memoir, Diana Abu-Jaber shares a candid and hilarious snapshot of her life amid her loving and maniacal Jordanian family. From her earliest recollections, Diana lives under the shadow of her father, the irrepressible and comical Bud, whose multiple dreams for the future clash uproariously. Bud longs to open a restaurant and is very tired of working at jobs that he feels are beneath his potential. He also longs return to Jordan to live amongst his multitude of crazy brothers, who goad each other and egg each other on into heightening feats of absurdity. Being the oldest of Bud's three daughters, Diana is the child who tests the waters. Though Bud is strict and militant about the opposite sex and schooling, Diana gives him a run for his money, pitting her fiery temper against his own. As Diana grows to adolescence under Bud's scrutiny, she travels from Jordan to America and back again, spending part of her life as a normal American girl living in the suburbs and part of her life among the many uncles, the strange Bedouin aunts and the myriad of street children who make up her Jordanian family. Peppered throughout Diana's life story are the recipes that both Bud and other family members have shared with her over the years, giving this very entertaining memoir a flavorful edge. Both uproariously funny and startlingly thought-provoking, The Language of Baklava is one woman's interpretation of the immigrant experience shared with flavor, love and gusto.

This was a book club selection. I thought it would be interesting to choose from a few food memoirs and see what we came up with. This book was the unanimous choice, and after I began reading it, I knew that I was in for one heck of a story. Aside from the interesting and delicious sounding meals described within the text, I noticed immediately how ridiculously funny the book was. I love foodie literature and will read almost anything that fits this description, but when I find a book that's as all-encompassing and playful as this one was, I really begin to get excited and greedily scoop all I can out of it.

Diana is a middle class American girl. But not really. Though she looks and acts like an American and her mother is a long-legged American beauty, Diana is really half Jordanian, a fact that Bud never lets her forget. From the time she's a little girl, the table is always heaped with delicious Jordanian foods and surrounded by a bevy of crazy uncles who seem to make it their life's mission to fly back and forth between Jordan and America. The brothers are all loud and boisterous, and Bud is the king of them all. They've come to America to make their fortunes yet when they get together, all they do is lament the fact that they are not in Jordan. Meanwhile, Diana is going to school and making friends with other American children and becoming the kind of child that gets under Bud's skin: a very American child who is sassy to her parents and doesn't want to eat the food he prepares for her. When Bud decides the family is moving back to Jordan, Diana and her sisters are in for some big changes.

Living in Jordan, the family is besieged by the uncles and Bud begins his hijinks in earnest. Fighting and carousing with the brothers and attempting to capture the dreams that eluded him in America, Bud finds that things in Jordan aren't what he thought they would be. Meanwhile, Diana is making new friends and new routines, and despite the fact that Jordanian ice cream bears no resemblance in taste nor appearance to its western cousin, she's happy and free to enjoy a life filled with games, children and laughter. Though there are some squabbles, everything seems to fit perfectly in place, until the day Bud comes home angry with his employment situation and decides that the family should move back to America.

When the family returns to America, things are much like they were in the past, but now Diana is a teenager and begins to torment Bud about boys and school, like any other American teen might. Though she likes being back in America, something has changed in Diana and now she can relate to Bud's ever-growing restlessness for his home in Jordan. Bud and his group of brothers are still lamenting the fact that they are not in Jordan, but Diana ignores this until the day when, as an adult, she travels there to finish her second novel. This time she feels that she has finally come home, and Bud, who has traveled along with her, is in top form, recklessly agreeing to buy a restaurant from one of his more swindly brothers. As Diana gets to know Jordan as an adult, she meets some of her more maniacal and ridiculous relatives, and learns how the seeds of Bud's personality were planted.

Not only was this a worthy memoir, but the inclusion of recipes made this book a superior read for me. I had a really enjoyable time learning about Diana and her family and quickly developed a soft spot for the ever-outrageous Bud. There are a lot of memoirs out there right now but this is one I think will stand out. Not only because of the story it tells, but because of the no-nonsense way it's rendered. Diana seems to be saying, "My family is nuts, take them or leave them, that's they way they are." I loved the unapologetic take on the lives of this Jordanian crew and will be interested in reading some of Abu-Jaber's fictional work as well. Recommended. ( )
  zibilee | Jan 7, 2011 |
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"From the acclaimed author of Crescent, here is a vibrant, humorous memoir of growing up with a gregarious Jordanian father who loved to cook. Diana Abu-Jaber weaves the story of her life in upstate New York and in Jordan around vividly remembered meals: everything from Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts with her Arab-American cousins to goat stew feasts under a Bedouin tent in the desert. These sensuously evoked meals in turn illuminate the two cultures of Diana's childhood - American and Jordanian - and the richness and difficulty of straddling both. They also bring her wonderfully eccentric family to life, most memorably her imperious American grandmother and her impractical, hotheaded, displaced immigrant father, who, like many an immigrant before him, cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection on to his children." "As she does in her fiction, Diana draws us in with her insight and compassion, and with her talent for describing food and the myriad pleasures and adventures associated with cooking and eating. Each chapter contains mouth-watering recipes for many of the dishes described, from her Middle Eastern grandmother's Mad Genius Knaffea to her American grandmother's Easy Roast Beef, to her aunt Aya's Poetic Baklava. The Language of Baklava gives us the chance not only to grow up alongside Diana, but also to share meals with her every step of the way - unforgettable feasts that teach her, and us, as much about identity, love, and family as they do about food."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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