A great grandfather who, as part of an
innocent barter deal, received the
recipe that made it possible for the world to order
a pastrami on rye.
A grandfather who became a demolition expert and was
heralded as “the greatest wrecker of all time,” according to E.B. White.
An uncle, the first to combine scallions and cream cheese.
And her own
father, the inventor of the six-color retractable pen and pencil set as well as the
double-sided cigarette lighter.
And that’s just the male side of the
Patricia Volk’s Stuffed, Adventures of a Restaurant
Family is a highly entertaining look at what constitutes a family of overachievers.
discovering, creating and inventing, they also ran more than a dozen New
York restaurants over several generations.
Volk prepares the vignettes in
this book with amazing insight, then serves them up with wit and humor. While exposing
the eccentricities of her family, she
brings out the charm but also does not try to
hide the darker side. She lets
us in on the endearing qualities of a grandfather who
finds loopholes in his
convictions so as to allow him to eat liverwurst, then brings
to light the
fact that this same man routinely beat his son.
Volk, not to be outdone by her family, has herself done something
Along with some of the finest prose I’ve read in a long
while, she has found a way to
tell her family’s story without apologies,
bitterness or sugar-coating, and she does
it with humor and honesty. This is
rare in today’s memoir-glutted market.
Read brilliantly by Barbara Rosenblat, this book was meant to be heard. I’m
the print version, with its inclusion of many family recipes, is a
to anyone’s library but listening to Rosenblat’s rendering
of Volk’s work is not to be
missed. Each character becomes distinct, each
accent and nuance. You’ll swear you’re
in The Big Apple just sitting down to
coffee and a
Stuffed is a scrumptious meal you will hate to see come to
Available on both CD and cassette in its unabridged