Book Review: The Gastronomy of Marriage

I just finished reading this little gem and all I can say is, “Wow! I wish I would have read this 5 years ago!” You see, my 5 year wedding anniversary is coming up and for the past 5 years of my life, food has been a major source of contention. The Gastronomy of Marriage is a “must read” for anyone getting married who is not already living with their spouse-to-be and a “should read” for everyone else who is about to get married. Without going too far out on a limb, I would venture to say that by reading this book I have saved myself hours of agonizing in the kitchen, perhaps even saving my marriage.

I smiled to myself several times as I read this book. In the book, author Michelle Maisto (lover of all things pasta and somewhat vegetarian (sans fish)) is soon to marry Rich (lover of clean, simple flavors and larger portions). One comes from an Italian background, the other Chinese. Both are in love and both are foodies, but trying to figure out what to eat each and every night begins to be more of a hassle than ever imagined.

I could relate to this book. My husband and I did not live together before we got married. We had a short courtship (5 months) and then  moved in together. We had no idea what each others’ eating habits were but soon found out! At the time, I think my husband was living on microwave popcorn, what he refers to as “roller dogs” and Mountain Dew but now that we have kids we are obviously setting a better example. For a while I was trying to make a meal every night that would please my husband and cover the various nutritional requirements for the kids. But I wasn’t really happy because I wasn’t eating what I wanted.

Maisto touches on this in her book, mentioning that some of us have stronger relationships to food than others. For Maisto, food was  a major part of any holiday celebration, her mother spending days preparing for the feast. For her husband, food is sometimes thought of as a hassle. In the book, Maisto says she thinks her husband would sometimes rather take a Jetson-style pill, getting his nutrition in a matter of seconds without having to be inconvenienced with the preparation or act of eating. I know my husband couldn’t agree more!

This is the perfect book for a wedding gift or engagement gift, especially if the couple has not lived together before. It could be that the couple hasn’t even considered this unforeseeable issue that is sure to cause at least some degree of disparity within the marriage. The book is also great for those that are already married like myself who might learn something to change the way they do something. For me, reading this book has given me courage to re-think the way I view mealtimes in this family and I have come up with a compromise that I think everyone will enjoy. Quite possibly this book has saved my marriage as this was about the only thing my husband and I have ever disagreed on! What I got from the book was this- Do what you want, make yourself happy first, then accommodate your loved one. Most of us are all big enough people to take care of our own food needs- we don’t need to stress ourselves out trying to be the perfect little homemaker for the sake of being the perfect newlywed couple. In the end, everything will come together just fine.

Another thing I liked about the book was the omitting of bad language. Although in life I do tend to cuss like a sailor, it isn’t always appreciated in literature. I loved Julie Powell’s book Julie and Julia, but I could never recommend it to my mom. This book I can and did, she will be reading it soon and I know she will enjoy it. There aren’t a lot of books we can share nowadays because she only reads “PG” books.

And as a bonus, Maisto has added a few recipes! I will be sure to try a few. This book has a 5 star rating on Amazon right now and receives 5 stars from me. It’s a gem- very helpful, enjoyable to read and also a quick read. I read it over the weekend and suggest you do to!