The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love
I first came upon The Gastronomy of Marriage late in 2012. I took a brief look at it in the bookstore. I made a mental note that it would be worth picking up next time I was in book buying mode. Unfortunately, the next time I was in book buying mode The Gastronomy of Marriage, subtitled A Memoir of Food and Love, was playing hard to get. It wasn’t until spring of this year that I finally managed to purchase a copy online.
My only regret is that I didn’t purchase this book earlier. The Gastronomy of Marriage tells the story of Michelle(the author) and Rich her fiance as they move from boyfriend/girlfriend, to engaged couple living together, to their wedding day. Along the way they tackle issues of gender roles, religious upbringings, career choices. Many of these challenges are dealt with in the context of the food they eat and how they prepare it.
Maisto introduces the book with the story of how she fell for Rich. It was when he ordered a chocolate soufflé at the beginning of the meal rather than after. At the time she didn’t realize how important the quality of a man’s eating habits were to her. As she had the opportunity to reflect back she became aware of how central it was to any long-term relationship.
Despite the fact that both Michelle and Rich are lovers of good food, there are still many challenges to overcome. With Michelle being Italian and Rich being Chinese, there were difference in food culture to overcome. Not all of these are overcome but with each person committed to learning and appreciating the others food culture, most of the differences are greatly minimized.
Along the way, they make efforts to fit time to eat together into busy and conflicting schedules. Like many things in marriage this isn’t easy, but it is essential to helping to keep the relationship strong.
The book also has a nice touch in the limited selection of recipes included at the chapters. Most of these recipes relate to the stories being told in the chapter, and hold a special place in the life of Michelle and Rich.
My job as a priest involves doing marriage preparation for couples before their weddings. The Gastronomy of Marriage is a book I would recommend to such couples. Much of the marriage preparation literature is of the how-to manual nature. In The Gastronomy of Marriage the couple preparing for marriage is to drawn into a fascinating love story featuring Michelle and Rich. At the same time couples will find the opportunity to focus on their own relationship and their own upcoming wedding.