Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir

by Padma Lakshmi

Hardcover, 2016




Ecco (2016), Edition: First Edition, 336 pages


Television personality Padma Lakshmi examines "her journey from [a humble family kitchen], led by ferocious and unforgettable women, to the judges' table of Top Chef and beyond. It chronicles the fierce devotion of the remarkable people who shaped her along the way, from her headstrong mother who flouted conservative Indian convention to make a life in New York, to her Brahmin grandfather--a brilliant engineer with an irrepressible sweet tooth--to the man seemingly wrong for her in every way who proved to be her truest ally"

User reviews

LibraryThing member Writermala
As memoirs go all I can say about this one is that it's different. Padma Lakshmi has led a life that no one else could have and she does a decent job of describing it. She seems somewhat ambivalent most of the time. Her descriptions of her Brahminical heritage sound despondent like she is pining for them. They are not accurate quite often. For example no self-respecting Brahmin priest would schedule an annaprasanam" on Saturday at 9 AM since that is an inauspicious time.… (more)
LibraryThing member Clara53
I had no idea who Padma Lakshmi was until I opened this book. And the picture on the cover would not have enticed me to read it, but I have read a positive book review in a paper which got me interested. ​I would say it took guts to write this memoir - not because of some horrific disclosure, but simply due to the fact that she started her career as a model. People would judge, no matter what, no matter how difficult her path was or was not. And I am sure she knew it in her in heart. She starts the book with her short marriage to Salman Rushdie (which was an eye-opener for me in more than one way - just read p. 39-40 about him), and only then revisits her childhood and her life since then. I was struck by the fact how unconventional (by Indian standards) her mother's character was when Padma was growing up. At times her narrative is self-effacing to a degree and also honest (especially her first immigrant experiences), and at times I had the feeling she is prevaricating about certain events. But of course there is no such "rule" that you disclose EVERYTHING in a memoir...… (more)
LibraryThing member Susan.Macura
As a fan of Top Chef, I admired the way Ms. Lakshmi hosted the show. I knew nothing about the rest of her life, but felt intrigued enough by her performance on that show to try her memoir. I did not expect that her life could have been so fascinating! She has had her share of ups and downs, from her modeling career to her hosting duties on food shows, as well as her involvement in other business ventures. Her personal life is also filled with highs and lows, from her marriage to Salman Rushdie, to her relationships with business tycoon Teddy Forstmann at the same time she was also involved with Adam Dell, whom she had a child with, despite the odds against her ever becoming pregnant due to her medical history. She has had an amazing life with yet more to come!… (more)
LibraryThing member meltonmarty
Somewhat hard to follow with back and forth between a life event, and then all the different things leading up to it. Not particularly well written. Does us interesting vocabulary. It is memoir of a privileged life. Even though this author admits and apologizes for her selfishness, it is quite evident and unsettling to think many people make decisions like this without considering the consequences to others.… (more)
LibraryThing member reader1009
nonfiction/memoir - cookbook author and food network show host talks about growing up as an immigrant, becoming or trying to become a fashion model, falling in and out of love with Salman Rushdie, struggling with endometriosis (one of those diseases where she assumed her chronic pain was normal but it turned out to be a serious problem), having a baby (and the custody battle that followed), and finding love again before losing him to brain cancer. She also talks a little about her family's Brahman Hindi traditions, and includes a few of her more traditional recipes.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jessika.C
A few years ago when I was still in high school I took a Culinary Arts elective class where I figured I’d learn how to do some pretty plating. There were only about three girls that took the class seriously and I was not one of them. At least I learned how to decorate a cupcake with marshmallow flower petals. Anyway, one of the things the teacher did to fill the time was make us watch Top Chef and see how real chefs would choose spices and whatnot then how they would present the meal to the judges’ table. That was the first time I ever watched the show and saw Padma Lakshmi. I don’t think I’d ever heard of her before then.

When I first picked up this book I didn’t even remember that was her. It was almost a pleasant surprise to find a book about a woman that paved her own way and some recipes to try out. Only recently have I learned of the scandals she got herself into, i.e. entering relationships with much older men, custody battles, etc. but that I still didn’t have an opinion about her until after I read the book.

Lakshmi tells her life story connecting everything back to her love of food. She was a model yet that wasn’t what garnered her lots of attention it was her cookbook. Being a model helped sell the book but that was what got her into writing. Her biggest gig had to do with food and in a way it still is. She’s honest with her experiences and doesn’t shy away from sharing details that, in my opinion, make her look bad. I don’t think we would make good friends but she seems like the kind of person that would make going to a fancy lunch kind of fun.
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Original language


Physical description

336 p.; 9.1 inches


0062202618 / 9780062202611
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