Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger: A Memoir

Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger: A Memoir Review

Donovan is such a vivid writer--smart, raunchy, vulnerable and funny-- that if her vaunted caramel cakes and sugar pies are half as good as her prose, well, I'd be open to even giving that signature buttermilk whipped cream she tops her desserts with a try."--Maureen Corrigan, NPR

Renowned southern pastry chef Lisa Donovan's memoir of cooking, survival, and the incredible power in reclaiming the stories of women

Noted chef and James Beard Award-winning essayist Lisa Donovan helped establish some of the South's most important kitchens, and her pastry work is at the forefront of a resurgence in traditional desserts. Yet Donovan struggled to make a living in an industry where male chefs built successful careers on the stories, recipes, and culinary heritage passed down from generations of female cooks and cooks of color. At one of her career peaks, she made the perfect dessert at a celebration for food-world goddess Diana Kennedy. When Kennedy asked why she had not heard of her, Donovan said she did not know. I do, Kennedy said, Stop letting men tell your story.

OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HUNGER is Donovan's searing, beautiful, and searching chronicle of reclaiming her own story and the narrative of the women who came before her. Her family's matriarchs found strength and passion through food, and they inspired Donovan's accomplished career. Donovan's love language is hospitality, and she wants to welcome everyone to the table of good food and fairness.

Donovan herself had been told at every juncture that she wasn't enough: she came from a struggling southern family that felt ashamed of its own mixed race heritage and whose elders diminished their women. She survived abuse and assault as a young mother. But Donovan's salvations were food, self-reliance, and the network of women in food who stood by her.

In the school of the late John Egerton, OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HUNGER is an unforgettable Southern journey of class, gender, and race as told at table.

Title:Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger: A Memoir

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    Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger: A Memoir Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I can count the number of pastry chef memoirs I have read on one finger - this one! And Lisa Donovan is my kind of chef, "uncomplicated and thoughtfully prepared - nothing flashy, just good, just deli...

  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Lisa Donovan worked her way from a server in a small town restaurant to pastry chef for renowned Southern restaurants. The road to get there held plenty of roadblocks which Donovan found a way through...

  • Kathleen

    My review for the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Even though women perform 80% of the meal preparation within their households, fewer than 7% of American restaurants are led by female chefs. This perniciou...

  • Lori White

    Man! The first 6/8 of Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger by Lisa Donovan was fierce, and visceral and I could not devour it fast enough. The writing was tight and true and honest and, quite frankly, remarka...

  • Judy G

    First i dont have a kindle and my ebk is Nook so thie editions dont include ebkI did nt finish this book and i read maybe 100 pages up to where Lisa is mother of baby joseph in florida and baking and ...

  • Madeline

    4.5 stars!! i really enjoyed this, more full thoughts to come. also lmao it took me two months to finish an audio book... BUT i did it! YAY!I have never really read any food writing before, so this wa...

  • Kim

    Part food narrative, part memoir, this book weaves stories of Lisa's upbringing with her more recent past, as well as her hopes for the future. A raw, honest look into being a woman, and a mother, in ...

  • Diane Law

    This is a good book. But it seemed to take me so long to finish it. It is interesting and written well but maybe not for me at this time....

  • Sabrina

    [TW: this memoir contains sexual assault, physical, and emotional abuse]I went into this expecting a traditional food memoir structure, focused on her relationship to food and her career as a pastry c...

  • Nicole

    magical, lyrical, gritty, fierce. I simply cannot get over this book. I had checked the e-book out on Kindle months ago, and after being completely entranced by the first chapter, it was auto-returned...