Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Since Hungry is a book about Darlene Barnes's experiences as a fraternity cook, there are some hilarious examples of the type of stories you'd expect from a job like this. The book is deeper than that, though. I was struck by what an important part of their family she became, and found many of her stories incredibly touching. And beyond the personal stories, Hungry delves into the ins and outs of being a chef.
In the first couple of chapters, Barnes comes across a tad... opinionated? sanctimonious? ... when it comes to food. I have to admit, it was kind of grating. But as I read on with a more open mind and warmed up to her personality, annoyance was replaced with respect and fondness. Darlene Barnes knows her stuff. She's passionate about food, and she does her job with the utmost integrity.
Hungry isn't about spouting off platitudes or legalistic views about "good food." Barnes offers insights into her thought process as she navigates the changes she makes in the frat's kitchen. She offers up easy changes anyone can make, and encourages readers to be more deliberate about their food choices.
There are recipes throughout the book! Sadly, I have minimal skills in the kitchen, but I would read these recipes and think, "Hmmm, that's not so hard" or "Wow, I could totally do that!" Most recipes were pretty simple, useful (the salad dressings: so easy!), with ingredients easy enough to find.
Barnes doesn't have an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to good food; instead, she shows us how small steps can lead to major changes. I felt empowered by the end of the book, and was even motivated to look for a good (and not overpriced) farmer's market in my area (which was a success!).
Hungry is an inspiring, enjoyable memoir that will be of interest not only to foodies, but to anyone who would like to incorporate more fresh food into their lives.I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.