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One of Booklist's Must Read Nonfiction picks of 2019 The acclaimed author of A Replacement Life shifts between heartbreak and humor in this gorgeously told, recipe-filled memoir. A family story, an immigrant story, a love story, and an epic meal, Savage Feast explores the challenges of navigating two cultures from an unusual angle. A revealing personal story and family memo One of Booklist's Must Read Nonfiction picks of 2019 The acclaimed author of A Replacement Life shifts between heartbreak and humor in this gorgeously told, recipe-filled memoir. A family story, an immigrant story, a love story, and an epic meal, Savage Feast explores the challenges of navigating two cultures from an unusual angle. A revealing personal story and family memoir told through meals and recipes, Savage Feast begins with Boris’s childhood in Soviet Belarus, where good food was often worth more than money. He describes the unlikely dish that brought his parents together and how years of Holocaust hunger left his grandmother so obsessed with bread that she always kept five loaves on hand. She was the stove magician and Boris’ grandfather the master black marketer who supplied her, evading at least one firing squad on the way. These spoils kept Boris’ family—Jews who lived under threat of discrimination and violence—provided-for and protected. Despite its abundance, food becomes even more important in America, which Boris’ family reaches after an emigration through Vienna and Rome filled with marvel, despair, and bratwurst. How to remain connected to one’s roots while shedding their trauma? The ambrosial cooking of Oksana, Boris’s grandfather’s Ukrainian home aide, begins to show him the way. His quest takes him to a farm in the Hudson River Valley, the kitchen of a Russian restaurant on the Lower East Side, a Native American reservation in South Dakota, and back to Oksana’s kitchen in Brooklyn. His relationships with women—troubled, he realizes, for reasons that go back many generations—unfold concurrently, finally bringing him, after many misadventures, to an American soulmate. Savage Feast is Boris’ tribute to food, that secret passage to an intimate conversation about identity, belonging, family, displacement, and love.


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One of Booklist's Must Read Nonfiction picks of 2019 The acclaimed author of A Replacement Life shifts between heartbreak and humor in this gorgeously told, recipe-filled memoir. A family story, an immigrant story, a love story, and an epic meal, Savage Feast explores the challenges of navigating two cultures from an unusual angle. A revealing personal story and family memo One of Booklist's Must Read Nonfiction picks of 2019 The acclaimed author of A Replacement Life shifts between heartbreak and humor in this gorgeously told, recipe-filled memoir. A family story, an immigrant story, a love story, and an epic meal, Savage Feast explores the challenges of navigating two cultures from an unusual angle. A revealing personal story and family memoir told through meals and recipes, Savage Feast begins with Boris’s childhood in Soviet Belarus, where good food was often worth more than money. He describes the unlikely dish that brought his parents together and how years of Holocaust hunger left his grandmother so obsessed with bread that she always kept five loaves on hand. She was the stove magician and Boris’ grandfather the master black marketer who supplied her, evading at least one firing squad on the way. These spoils kept Boris’ family—Jews who lived under threat of discrimination and violence—provided-for and protected. Despite its abundance, food becomes even more important in America, which Boris’ family reaches after an emigration through Vienna and Rome filled with marvel, despair, and bratwurst. How to remain connected to one’s roots while shedding their trauma? The ambrosial cooking of Oksana, Boris’s grandfather’s Ukrainian home aide, begins to show him the way. His quest takes him to a farm in the Hudson River Valley, the kitchen of a Russian restaurant on the Lower East Side, a Native American reservation in South Dakota, and back to Oksana’s kitchen in Brooklyn. His relationships with women—troubled, he realizes, for reasons that go back many generations—unfold concurrently, finally bringing him, after many misadventures, to an American soulmate. Savage Feast is Boris’ tribute to food, that secret passage to an intimate conversation about identity, belonging, family, displacement, and love.

30 review for Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (a Memoir with Recipes)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Selena

    A beautiful yet heartbreaking memoir of an immigrant family. A book filled with love, despair, culture and amazing food. Boris Fishman grew up in Soviet Belarus where good food was cherished more than money. He tells us stories of his parents and grandparents and the food that impacted his life and his families. A story of belonging and finding oneself. Beautifully written. Thank you Goodreads for an arc copy of Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (A Memoir with Re A beautiful yet heartbreaking memoir of an immigrant family. A book filled with love, despair, culture and amazing food. Boris Fishman grew up in Soviet Belarus where good food was cherished more than money. He tells us stories of his parents and grandparents and the food that impacted his life and his families. A story of belonging and finding oneself. Beautifully written. Thank you Goodreads for an arc copy of Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (A Memoir with Recipes) by Boris Fishman

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Savage Feast is a deeply personal memoir and what makes it even more special? It’s filled with recipes! Savage Feast is a story of family, of one immigrant’s experience, a story of love, and it’s all centered around the love of food. Boris Fishman is born in Soviet Belarus. Fishman conveys that good food was such a hot commodity in Belarus it was even more valuable than money. When he immigrates to the United States, food is more abundant, and he continues to equate it with love. Savage Feast is Savage Feast is a deeply personal memoir and what makes it even more special? It’s filled with recipes! Savage Feast is a story of family, of one immigrant’s experience, a story of love, and it’s all centered around the love of food. Boris Fishman is born in Soviet Belarus. Fishman conveys that good food was such a hot commodity in Belarus it was even more valuable than money. When he immigrates to the United States, food is more abundant, and he continues to equate it with love. Savage Feast is a beautifully-written tribute to food, family, and much more. It was original and an exceptional reading experience. I’m keeping this review on the shorter side because this is a book to experience and savor. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Rayton

    I had no idea who the author was, nor was I familiar or particularly interested in Russian history and cooking, and yet, this was recommended on a podcast so I thought I'd give it a go and thought it was really good. I learned a lot and had fun while doing so. I had no idea who the author was, nor was I familiar or particularly interested in Russian history and cooking, and yet, this was recommended on a podcast so I thought I'd give it a go and thought it was really good. I learned a lot and had fun while doing so.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Berg

    Reading this feels deeply intimate without feeling voyeuristic. The author consistently manages to "find the right distance" between himself and the reader, inviting us into his life and family with a frankness that might be awkward if rendered with less skill. We get to see not only his ownkno struggle with identity and assimilation, but that of his family and the communities they navigate and inhabit in their adoptive country. It is hard to fathom how deeply complicated the questions raised by Reading this feels deeply intimate without feeling voyeuristic. The author consistently manages to "find the right distance" between himself and the reader, inviting us into his life and family with a frankness that might be awkward if rendered with less skill. We get to see not only his ownkno struggle with identity and assimilation, but that of his family and the communities they navigate and inhabit in their adoptive country. It is hard to fathom how deeply complicated the questions raised by such a life must be. Not only is there the personal experience of coming from a people set apart and of coming from a country that no longer exists, there is the inherited history of persecution that encompasses not only violence against those that were but against those that were never to be. (As the Mishnah says, to kill a man is to kill an entire world). While this story is largely foreign to the particulars of my own biography, the parallels to other experiences I have read and had related to me are unmistakable. My oldest and dearest friend took a similar journey thirty years ago, so certain parallels resonated with me particularly well. (Though as I noted in another review, one of the more important things I've come to understand is that each person's experience is unique and as much is to be gained by contemplating the differences as the parallels.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    My favorite kind of family memoir is one that is as much about food as it is about the people and their experiences. Years ago, I read and loved Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya von Bremzen. I’ve been hunting around for something similar since. When I read an excerpt from Savage Feast, in which Boris Fishman discusses the mix of smugness and shame he feels when he is the person on a plane with dozens of tinfoil bundles of profoundly garlicky food, I knew I needed to read the rest of My favorite kind of family memoir is one that is as much about food as it is about the people and their experiences. Years ago, I read and loved Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya von Bremzen. I’ve been hunting around for something similar since. When I read an excerpt from Savage Feast, in which Boris Fishman discusses the mix of smugness and shame he feels when he is the person on a plane with dozens of tinfoil bundles of profoundly garlicky food, I knew I needed to read the rest of the memoir. Like von Bremzen, Fishman offers recipes and memories from Russian history. He adds his own journey through cultural schizophrenia, heartbreak, and depression to acceptance and love along with the memories and recipes. Like all good food-based memoirs, this one made me hungry; I flagged a few of the recipes to try out in my kitchen... Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Beth

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins. A family memoir centered by food and recipes, Savage Feast tells the author's story from his childhood in Soviet Belarus through emigration through Vienna and Rome to a new start in Brooklyn. For Boris, food and sharing meals with his family become a way to maintain his roots even as he feels pulled towards his new American life. Additionally, when Boris feels adrift, he turns to cooking and exploring in the kitchen as a way t I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins. A family memoir centered by food and recipes, Savage Feast tells the author's story from his childhood in Soviet Belarus through emigration through Vienna and Rome to a new start in Brooklyn. For Boris, food and sharing meals with his family become a way to maintain his roots even as he feels pulled towards his new American life. Additionally, when Boris feels adrift, he turns to cooking and exploring in the kitchen as a way to work out his next step. This book takes Boris on journeys cooking with his grandfather's Ukrainian home aid to the kitchen of Russian restaurant on the Lower East Side to a children's camp on a Native American reservation in South Dakota. With food as its grounding force, this memoir explores the author's experiences as an immigrant to America, whose family culture is still very much rooted in Russia. As an only child who immigrated with his parents and grandparents, Boris faces a lot of familial pressure to live a certain way while also trying to follow his dreams of writing and embracing his new home in America. I did like how he incorporated cooking, eating, and also the process of obtaining food throughout the narrative. For example, one of the first stories shared once his family reaches America is about his father trying to go buy groceries for the first time and disappearing for two hours: "'I'm sorry,' he said. 'I lost my mind.' He had gone only a block. The supermarket door had slid open by itself, whereupon he nearly toppled the tiny old Austrian woman coming out" (70). My favorite chapters were the ones that dealt with Oksana, Boris's grandfather's Ukrainian home aide, who is an experienced cook. The description of her relationship with the family, as well as the dishes she prepared, were especially vivid. Oksana herself felt somehow more fleshed out than Boris's family, most of which I didn't get a clear sense of who they were or what they were like, with the exception of his grandfather. There was a disjointed quality to the structure of this memoir. Each chapter seemed to jump ahead in time and it was sometimes hard to pick up the thread of Boris's story and what had happened since the conclusion of the previous chapter. For instance, the book skips over the family getting settled in America, his grandmother's decline in health, and Boris's college experience. The placement of the recipes sometimes felt abrupt (perhaps this was due to this being a proof copy?) and were dropped at random throughout each relevant chapter. It seems like it would have been more orderly to arrange these either at the opening or closing of the appropriate chapter, or waiting to share them all together at the conclusion of the book. In addition, there is one chapter that details Boris's grandfather meeting Oksana for the first time. They are alone for the duration of the chapter, yet their initial conversations are quoted extensively, which didn't read like a memoir but more like a fictional account of their meeting. Not only did it feel very different from the rest of the book, which is from Boris's point of view, but it also felt almost like a standalone short story that somehow got inserted into a middle of a memoir. I did love this chapter, but it just didn't flow super well with the rest of the book. Ultimately, this memoir is the author's tribute to food and shared experiences of meals with those closest to him as he navigates questions of identity, belonging, family, and love. I appreciated the focus on food and the inclusion of menus, but ultimately I didn't enjoy reading this as much as I had hoped and found the editing lacking.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barb Wiseberg

    I loved the story, intertwined with so many unique recipes!!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I think I am in the minority with this review. I’d heard the author speak on NPR and was eager to have the book. He was eloquent. But his book was choppy. The stories were bumpy, hard to grasp, his descriptions were just off the mark. I ended up not caring about his story because I couldn’t follow it. However two things struck me. First, his struggle with Judaism as a young man raised in the former USSR, two generations after WWII, were interesting. He called himself an atheist but at the same t I think I am in the minority with this review. I’d heard the author speak on NPR and was eager to have the book. He was eloquent. But his book was choppy. The stories were bumpy, hard to grasp, his descriptions were just off the mark. I ended up not caring about his story because I couldn’t follow it. However two things struck me. First, his struggle with Judaism as a young man raised in the former USSR, two generations after WWII, were interesting. He called himself an atheist but at the same time wanted more from his family with their lack of commitment to tradition, to religion and Passover Seder. Second, I enjoyed the recipes - little delicious respites, scattered throughout the book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rita Ciresi

    Larger than life characters, plenty of food, and lots of angst and guilt populate this enjoyable story about three generations of an immigrant family.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    This utterly vivid memoir begins with Fishman's protestations of hunger, and it carries his reader through portraits of his larger-than-life family: his grandfather Arkady, a charming man used to hustling to survive; the Ukrainian woman Okshana who comes to care and cook for him; Fishman's cautious parents and their sometimes strangling love; Fishman's own alternation between passionate attachment and recoil. Fishman describes the difficulty of coming into adulthood, not only as a Russian immigr This utterly vivid memoir begins with Fishman's protestations of hunger, and it carries his reader through portraits of his larger-than-life family: his grandfather Arkady, a charming man used to hustling to survive; the Ukrainian woman Okshana who comes to care and cook for him; Fishman's cautious parents and their sometimes strangling love; Fishman's own alternation between passionate attachment and recoil. Fishman describes the difficulty of coming into adulthood, not only as a Russian immigrant who feels caught between the Soviet past and the American present, but as an only child who loves his parents dearly and yet feels the pressure and pull of their tremendous cautious, their desire to protect him and keep him close. There's a sequence where he brings them all to Miami, longing for a sunny vacation where everyone could feel joyful and free, and then once he gets there, he feels perpetually irritated, both with the hospitality that doesn't satisfy them and also with them for their constant penny-pinching and fault-finding. He also describes his love life, his obsession with impossible women and their distance from his family life, which is also all-consuming. After sinking into depression, Fishman finds recovery in food: farm work and kitchen work in a Russian restaurant, of course. Fishman's sense of humor and his psychological subtlety, his clear-sightedness (without prescriptivism) about himself and his family, make this memoir gripping to read, while his love and his aspiration to create a family himself in the model of his parents' love for one another is very moving. The book is unpredictable, wherein lies its power, and the recipes laced throughout bring an immediacy and a flavor to its contents that this reader found intoxicating.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael Wiecezak

    In recent years, I have had a strong desire to visit a foreign country for not only the once in a lifetime experience but for the opportunity to marvel in all the delicious delicacies that you can't discover in the United States. My top two destinations would be Italy and Spain; Italy for the gorgeous location and Spain for the need to have incredible paella. Belarus, on the other hand, might not be in my top five or ten but after reading Savage Feast, I was able to explore a country that many p In recent years, I have had a strong desire to visit a foreign country for not only the once in a lifetime experience but for the opportunity to marvel in all the delicious delicacies that you can't discover in the United States. My top two destinations would be Italy and Spain; Italy for the gorgeous location and Spain for the need to have incredible paella. Belarus, on the other hand, might not be in my top five or ten but after reading Savage Feast, I was able to explore a country that many people simply overlook as the landlocked country between Poland and Russia. I would describe this story as an around-the-world food adventure that also has a lot of heart. Boris Fishman, the author, grew up while the country was under Russian control after World War II and brings a grand authenticity to a type of cuisine that is not necessarily a hidden surprise. He describes his journey so exquisitely and with vivid details that it is a testament to making your personal dreams a reality. The tagline to this book is Three Generations, Two Continents and a Dinner Table which is imply that food can stretch so wide and far and it can reach so many platforms. The sections that I found to be most delightful are the interactions that Boris had with Oksana, his grandfather's home aide when it came to making family favorites such as borscht (beet soup) and liver pie. It is just one example of how this book opened my eyes and made me fascinated with a part of the food spectrum that needs to be more dissected and appreciated.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Geffen

    Boris Fishman loves to eat. He wants us to enjoy his dishes, so he provides recipes that he learned from his grandfather's Ukranian home aide when depression claimed him. He knew he loved to eat and finally realized that immersing himself in the art of his old world style of Jewish cooking (including pork) would be a road out. It's complicated. So is his family's immigrant journey from Belarus to NYC. He was nine years old in 1988 when they changed homelands, but he brought along the past, inclu Boris Fishman loves to eat. He wants us to enjoy his dishes, so he provides recipes that he learned from his grandfather's Ukranian home aide when depression claimed him. He knew he loved to eat and finally realized that immersing himself in the art of his old world style of Jewish cooking (including pork) would be a road out. It's complicated. So is his family's immigrant journey from Belarus to NYC. He was nine years old in 1988 when they changed homelands, but he brought along the past, including all of the anxiety and fear his parents and grandparents had instilled in him. He navigated this new world more easily and learned the language more completely (he became a writer!), but he couldn't ever leave home. The recipes are complex. In spite of the encouragement of my daughter-in-law, also a youthful Jewish immigrant from Russia who loves to concoct such multi-step dishes and attended college with the author, I doubt I'll ever prepare one of her friend's recipes. I'm content to eat them at my son and daughter-in-law's home, or her parents', and at the restaurants they select for all of us to visit. I miss my daughter-in-law's grandmother, who passed last year. That soup, which simmered all day, was worth the wait. But, like Boris Fishman's recipes, I'm never going to make it myself.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    My review from the March, 2019 Baltimore Style. With his extended family, 8-year old Boris Fishman travelled to the United States as an immigrant from Belarus. In Savage Feast : a Memoir with recipes we get to know Boris and this extended family, especially his grandfather, who is a character in both definitions of the word. Grandfather Arkady was a brilliant black marketer and swindler, who kept food on their table in Minsk, and remained irascible in Brooklyn throughout his old, old age. When Boris My review from the March, 2019 Baltimore Style. With his extended family, 8-year old Boris Fishman travelled to the United States as an immigrant from Belarus. In Savage Feast : a Memoir with recipes we get to know Boris and this extended family, especially his grandfather, who is a character in both definitions of the word. Grandfather Arkady was a brilliant black marketer and swindler, who kept food on their table in Minsk, and remained irascible in Brooklyn throughout his old, old age. When Boris and Arkady grow close to Arkady’s home health aide, Oksana, a Ukrainian immigrant, Boris travels with her to her home village to get an idea of the old Soviet life. The soul-searching of the immigrant is powerful throughout - Where do I belong? How do I fit in? Can I go back or must I keep moving forward? Boris’ narrative sometimes grows tiresome, but Arkady and Oksana always return to

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen Fasimpaur

    This is an enjoyable food memoir that tells the story of a family who immigrates to New York from Belarus. The majority of the book tells the story of different generations of this family, how they relate to their homeland, to their new home in America, and to each other, often through food. The very end of the book delves into the author's own depression, struggle with relationships, and therapy, which is administered conventionally as well as through cooking and working on a farm. He says "Cook This is an enjoyable food memoir that tells the story of a family who immigrates to New York from Belarus. The majority of the book tells the story of different generations of this family, how they relate to their homeland, to their new home in America, and to each other, often through food. The very end of the book delves into the author's own depression, struggle with relationships, and therapy, which is administered conventionally as well as through cooking and working on a farm. He says "Cooking is making something where there was nothing. That something happens to keep you alive...It is the literal opposite of the emptying out of depression. Only something so elemental could do it -- because your emptying is elemental." I found myself wishing that the last part of the book were longer. Or perhaps developed more in another book. Fishman is foremost a writer, and I look forward to reading more of his work to see if he develops these themes more fully.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    A Boris Fishman book is comfort food. His forte is the family dynamics of Russian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn. I appreciate the memoir's descriptions of individual sensitivities rooted in war, generations deep, delicate and raw, the ways they flavor and feed relationships, and group cooking and eating as cure or sublimation. I sympathized when reading about his inventive strategies (working with soil, cows, cooks, food) to struggle through the slough of despond to a series of awakenings. And w A Boris Fishman book is comfort food. His forte is the family dynamics of Russian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn. I appreciate the memoir's descriptions of individual sensitivities rooted in war, generations deep, delicate and raw, the ways they flavor and feed relationships, and group cooking and eating as cure or sublimation. I sympathized when reading about his inventive strategies (working with soil, cows, cooks, food) to struggle through the slough of despond to a series of awakenings. And when he finds the right woman (all wrong), restraint is thrown to the wind. Lovely honesty and just the right balance of irony.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Some immigrants who came to the United States as children feel torn between two cultures. This seems to be especially true for Russian Jews. Are they American or Russian? Defining their own identity seems extremely difficult, at least according to works they publish. Two recent explorations of this problem can be found in Boris Fishman’s nonfiction “Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (A Memoir with Recipes)” (Harper) and Maria Kuznetsova’s novel “Oksana, Behave!” Some immigrants who came to the United States as children feel torn between two cultures. This seems to be especially true for Russian Jews. Are they American or Russian? Defining their own identity seems extremely difficult, at least according to works they publish. Two recent explorations of this problem can be found in Boris Fishman’s nonfiction “Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (A Memoir with Recipes)” (Harper) and Maria Kuznetsova’s novel “Oksana, Behave!” (Spiegel and Grau). Read the rest of my review at http://www.thereportergroup.org/Artic...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    This is a memoir of an immigrant family so of course there is food. Coming together in this strange new world, the old family recipes contribute the warmth needed to survive. Food is emotional sustenance. Boris Fishman came to this country from Belarus at age 7. Because his parents and grandparents had a hard time learning English, he became an adult at an early age, translating and guiding his family through the American way. The scars from the old country are evident. Although my immigrant fam This is a memoir of an immigrant family so of course there is food. Coming together in this strange new world, the old family recipes contribute the warmth needed to survive. Food is emotional sustenance. Boris Fishman came to this country from Belarus at age 7. Because his parents and grandparents had a hard time learning English, he became an adult at an early age, translating and guiding his family through the American way. The scars from the old country are evident. Although my immigrant family story is very different, I found myself understanding and loving these crazy people and their difficult relationships. At times I wondered whether the author shared a bit too much.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zhuo Zhang

    I absolutely love this book. The author's writing is so beautiful as well as thought-provoking that I want to finish it all at once but also want to keep reading it. As an immigrant myself, I feel connected in a lot of parts that mentioned by the author. For his family, food brings all of them together. The lady who took care of his grandfather is the key of the family, I feel. The chapter that the author and the lady went back to hometown is the most impressive. Great read! I absolutely love this book. The author's writing is so beautiful as well as thought-provoking that I want to finish it all at once but also want to keep reading it. As an immigrant myself, I feel connected in a lot of parts that mentioned by the author. For his family, food brings all of them together. The lady who took care of his grandfather is the key of the family, I feel. The chapter that the author and the lady went back to hometown is the most impressive. Great read!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary Smith

    I must admit to sliding through some parts of the memoir---Boris' love life for example. But, even though his family story has absolutely nothing in common with mine, this was a really interesting read about life under Soviets and immigration ("fitting in"). And the recipes!!! Well worth reading. The description of the trip for everyone he arranges for 3 days in Miami is worth the entire price of the book. I must admit to sliding through some parts of the memoir---Boris' love life for example. But, even though his family story has absolutely nothing in common with mine, this was a really interesting read about life under Soviets and immigration ("fitting in"). And the recipes!!! Well worth reading. The description of the trip for everyone he arranges for 3 days in Miami is worth the entire price of the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    alison spekterman

    Immigrant stories are often uplifting, heartbreaking, laugh-out-loud funny and thought-provoking because they remind us of our own family histories or because they simply remind us of what it is to be part of the human experience. Savage Feast touched all of my emotions. It made me nostalgic for those of the author's grandfather's generation and sad for future generations who will know such brave and complicated survivors only through literature and family recollection. Immigrant stories are often uplifting, heartbreaking, laugh-out-loud funny and thought-provoking because they remind us of our own family histories or because they simply remind us of what it is to be part of the human experience. Savage Feast touched all of my emotions. It made me nostalgic for those of the author's grandfather's generation and sad for future generations who will know such brave and complicated survivors only through literature and family recollection.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Allyson Ferrari

    I enjoyed this book, I don't really know that much about Belarus or its people and I felt like I was able to experience some of the food through Fishman's family and the recipes he shared. He was very honest about his relationship with his family and later about his struggles with depression. I don't know if I've ever wanted to try Russian/ Soviet food but some actually piqued my interest, and his humorous interjections helped as well. I enjoyed this book, I don't really know that much about Belarus or its people and I felt like I was able to experience some of the food through Fishman's family and the recipes he shared. He was very honest about his relationship with his family and later about his struggles with depression. I don't know if I've ever wanted to try Russian/ Soviet food but some actually piqued my interest, and his humorous interjections helped as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily Rash

    At first, the way it is written was a little confusing, but still good. It continued to get better and more poetic by the end of it. It is a really good read! I have never read anything, fiction or nonfiction, about people from the USSR. Although I will probably never make any of the recipes, it gave me a new insight into immigrants from that part of the world.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This memoir is written beautifully with great humor and pathos. The author writes about his personal history in both Russia and Brooklyn, NY. The focus is on his grandparents and the life they had to lead to get along in a country of great anti-semitism. The author recounts his trials and tribulations after he comes to the US at age 9 and his bouts with debilitating depression.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    Boris Fishman loves and hates in equal measure. Except food. He definitely loves food. His memoir of emigrating from Russia at the age of 9 and the tidal pulls between his family, writing and search for a great love are funny, wry, gut-wrenching and wonderful. I have a feeling it's got some similarities to Gary Shteyngart's "Little Failure" which I'd also like to read. Boris Fishman loves and hates in equal measure. Except food. He definitely loves food. His memoir of emigrating from Russia at the age of 9 and the tidal pulls between his family, writing and search for a great love are funny, wry, gut-wrenching and wonderful. I have a feeling it's got some similarities to Gary Shteyngart's "Little Failure" which I'd also like to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maury

    Interesting, but not captivating. I would have liked recipes for some of the foods he talked about but didn’t learn to cook. I’m shocked that a (nonJewish) Ukrainian would make vegetarian borscht. All the borscht I’ve eaten in Western Ukraine has had meat in it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    A memoir of a Russian (Belarusian) Jew who left the Soviet Union for the US as a boy together with his family. I rarely read memoirs, but this was quite interesting. The food part isn't as exciting as a foodie might hope. In the end, they ate the food of the 1970s-1980s Soviet Union. A memoir of a Russian (Belarusian) Jew who left the Soviet Union for the US as a boy together with his family. I rarely read memoirs, but this was quite interesting. The food part isn't as exciting as a foodie might hope. In the end, they ate the food of the 1970s-1980s Soviet Union.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Memoir about a family’s Soviet immigration that gets at the heart of an “in-between” identity impacted by generational trauma. The food writing is enticing, and I’m looking forward to trying some of the recipes

  28. 5 out of 5

    Yana

    Absolutely loved this book.. many scenes are so similar to my life! He nailed the family dynamics, the identifity crises, the food and comfort that comes with it.. I'm excited to try all the recipes - there's a unique twist on village cooking that brings it alive and yet it's familiar. Absolutely loved this book.. many scenes are so similar to my life! He nailed the family dynamics, the identifity crises, the food and comfort that comes with it.. I'm excited to try all the recipes - there's a unique twist on village cooking that brings it alive and yet it's familiar.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Rohrer-walsh

    This was recommended as a novel that included cooking, which it is. But the recipes and their ingredients are almost confined to a country and time period that I didn't appreciate them as much as I'd hope I would have. Additionally, the story, even after 50+ pages, did not grab me. This was recommended as a novel that included cooking, which it is. But the recipes and their ingredients are almost confined to a country and time period that I didn't appreciate them as much as I'd hope I would have. Additionally, the story, even after 50+ pages, did not grab me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    An interesting story about a man and his family coming to the U.S. from Russia as a child, with family recipes to represent different parts of his life. Some dull points where I would rate it 3 stars, but it was a lovely story which often focused on his lovely relationship with his grandfather.

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