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Cakewalk: A Memoir
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2010
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Description
From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhood.
Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was harder to come by. Her parents were disastrously mismatched, far too preoccupied with their mutual misery to notice its effects on their kids.
A frustrated artist, Kate’s beautiful, capricious mother lived in a constant state of creative and marital emergency, enlisting Kate as her confidante—“We’re the girls, we have to stick together”—and instructing her three children to refer to her in public as their babysitter. Kate’s father was aloof, ambitious, and prone to blasts of withering abuse increasingly directed at the daughter who found herself standing between her embattled parents. Kate looked for comfort in the imaginary worlds of books and found refuge in the kitchen, where she taught herself to bake and entered the one realm where she was able to wield control.
Telling her own story with the same lyricism, compassion, and eye for lush detail she brings to her fiction, coupled with the candor and humor she is known for in her personal essays, Kate Moses leavens each tale of her coming-of-age in Cakewalk with a recipe from her lifetime of confectionary obsession. There is the mysteriously erotic German Chocolate Cake implicated in a birds-and-bees speech when Kate was seven, the gingerbread people her mother baked for Christmas the year Kate officially realized she was fat, the chocolate chip cookies Kate used to curry favor during a hilariously gruesome adolescence, and the brownies she baked for her idol, the legendary M.F.K. Fisher, who pronounced them “delicious.”
Filled with the abundance and joy that were so lacking in Kate’s youth, Cakewalk is a wise, loving tribute to life in all its sweetness as well as its bitterness and, ultimately, a recipe for forgiveness.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/11/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780440338383
ASIN:
B0036S4AWC
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kate Moses. (2010). Cakewalk: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kate Moses. 2010. Cakewalk: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kate Moses, Cakewalk: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group, 2010.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kate Moses. Cakewalk: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group, 2010.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:14:03
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Hailed as “a new writer of startling, lyrical intensity” by The Times Literary Supplement, Kate Moses received the 2003 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize as well as a Prix des Lectrices de Elle for Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath, published in a dozen languages. While a senior editor and contributing writer for Salon, Moses co-founded the popular daily feature “Mothers Who Think” and co-edited two anthologies of essays on motherhood, the nationally bestselling, American Book Award–winning Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves. She lives in San Francisco. For more recipes, stories, and baking tips, visit the Cakewalk blog at www.katemoses.com.
      • name: Kate Moses
imprint
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publishDate
2010-05-11T00:00:00-04:00
isOwnedByCollections
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title
Cakewalk
fullDescription
From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhood.
Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was harder to come by. Her parents were disastrously mismatched, far too preoccupied with their mutual misery to notice its effects on their kids.
A frustrated artist, Kate’s beautiful, capricious mother lived in a constant state of creative and marital emergency, enlisting Kate as her confidante—“We’re the girls, we have to stick together”—and instructing her three children to refer to her in public as their babysitter. Kate’s father was aloof, ambitious, and prone to blasts of withering abuse increasingly directed at the daughter who found herself standing between her embattled parents. Kate looked for comfort in the imaginary worlds of books and found refuge in the kitchen, where she taught herself to bake and entered the one realm where she was able to wield control.
Telling her own story with the same lyricism, compassion, and eye for lush detail she brings to her fiction, coupled with the candor and humor she is known for in her personal essays, Kate Moses leavens each tale of her coming-of-age in Cakewalk with a recipe from her lifetime of confectionary obsession. There is the mysteriously erotic German Chocolate Cake implicated in a birds-and-bees speech when Kate was seven, the gingerbread people her mother baked for Christmas the year Kate officially realized she was fat, the chocolate chip cookies Kate used to curry favor during a hilariously gruesome adolescence, and the brownies she baked for her idol, the legendary M.F.K. Fisher, who pronounced them “delicious.”
Filled with the abundance and joy that were so lacking in Kate’s youth, Cakewalk is a wise, loving tribute to life in all its sweetness as well as its bitterness and, ultimately, a recipe for forgiveness.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Sylvia Brownrigg, author of The Metaphysical Touch
      • content: "Kate Moses is a great and gifted storyteller, and in this very funny, smart and lyrical account of one family's complex history, she gives us a cross between the childhood memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and a story of culinary education, such as Julie and Julia.
        It's a good thing Cakewalk is a book and not a cake, because it' s the kind of work you just devour, great chunks at a time. Anyone interested in love, family, or baked goods will want to read and own this remarkable book–two copies, ideally, one for the kitchen and one somewhere a little more pristine, where it won' t become coated in flour and butter as the reader tries out the many mouthwatering recipes."
      • premium: False
      • source: Mary Pols, author of Accidentally on Purpose: A One-Night Stand, My Unplanned Parenthood, and Loving the Best Mistake I Ever Made
      • content: "What we have here is no less than a collection of Proustian madeleines for the modern age. Spanning a childhood spent being uprooted from all the good places and trapped in all the lonely ones, Moses conjures up Alaska in her cookies, backwoods California in her blackberry jam and the warmth and stability of the good family life we all long for in a towering spiced pecan birthday cake.
        Cooking memoirs are all the rage. What makes this one special is that this is a truly gifted writer who just happens to be as experimental and adventuresome in the kitchen as she is at the keyboard. A crazy, richly compelling tale of learning to sweeten her way through good times and bad."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 1, 2010
        Salon.com senior editor Moses (Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath, 2003, etc.) shares an emotive life framed by sugary sweets.

        The author grew up in Palo Alto, Calif., in the 1960s, and her mercurial, struggling-artist mother co-dependently bonded amid a male-dominated household. A"compliant, tidy daughter," Moses recalls sugar being the"mainstay of my diet as a child," which only amplified her"cake obsession" as an adult. The author recalls fond memories of her San Franciscan relatives, especially her"parsimonious old coot" of a grandfather who demonstrated an uncanny knack for fudge-making and trolling the dump for discarded treasures. Her confident mother subsisted within a"fairly constant thrum of creative emergency," demonstrated in the crafting of spectacular birthday cakes for her children like three-dimensional bunnies and an elaborate gingerbread Noah's Ark. Though Moses believed her parents to be"disastrously mismatched," they managed to keep the family unified throughout frequent relocations to various East Coast locales to accommodate her father's job, as well as a move from Virginia to Alaska in 1974 that created significant riffs in her parent's marriage. In the years that followed, the author found contentment in random boyfriends, her college days back in California, a prized editorial job at North Point Press in Berkeley, where she befriended authors like M.F.K. Fisher and Kay Boyle, and in creating a family of her own. Deliberate, sensitive and meticulous, the narrative brims with dense, curiously exacting detail, and each chapter closes with a tempting, uncomplicated recipe.

        A delectable, well-crafted memoir.

        (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2010
        Novelist Moses recounts her lifes journey, planting its mileposts by the foods that have figured in her personal history. As emphasis, she provides a relevant recipe with each chapter. The foods that have meant most to her fall into the category of American comfort foods, her tastes leaning toward the decidedly simple. Traversing the country from California to Pennsylvania as a schoolgirl, she relished what was for her the novelty of McDonalds but she at the same time was developing a taste for more exotic fare such as fried clams. Her family moved often, and her parents eventually divorced. Moses reflects on how all of this uncertainty affected her eating preferences. Landing an editorial position at Berkeleys North Point Press, she encountered writers on the order of Kay Boyle and the estimable M. F. K. Fisher, and they helped to broaden and to ground her tastes, both literary and gustatory.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

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From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhood.
Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was harder to come by. Her parents were disastrously mismatched, far too preoccupied with their mutual misery to notice its effects on their kids.
A frustrated artist, Kate’s beautiful, capricious mother lived in a constant state of creative and marital emergency, enlisting Kate as her confidante—“We’re the girls, we have to stick together”—and instructing her three children to refer to her in public as their babysitter. Kate’s father was aloof, ambitious, and prone to blasts of withering abuse increasingly directed at the daughter who...
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