Goodcooking.com Cookbook Review---
Title: The Gastronomy of
Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love
Author: By Michelle Maisto, 2009
Info: 236 pages; Softcover $15.00 US/$18.95 CDN
Publisher: Random House, New York NY
Reviewed by: Sandy Alexander for Good Cooking,
In The Gastronomy of Marriage, Michelle Maisto chronicles the year leading up to
her marriage, using the negotiations between her and her fiancÚ about household
responsibilities, particularly when it comes to dinner preparation, as metaphor
for the adjustments we all make in moving from being alone to becoming part of a
couple. The focus is all on the food and the struggles that ensue as they blend
their households while attempting to maintain their own identities.
This struck me as a particularly apt story for our time. It is set in New York
City, long known as a “melting pot”. Much of the tale revolves around Michelle’s
Italian ancestry and her fiancÚ’s Chinese background, and their attempts to
integrate these varied aspects into their relationship. Nominations for dinner
are as likely to be pasta as they are to be stir-fry; his love of meat and her
vegetarianism complicate the efforts.
The story is told in sometimes excruciating detail, but if you are a food lover,
you will enjoy the combination of narrative description of preparation of dishes
along with Michelle’s varied recipes. It was a bit reminiscent of Julie and
Julia but without Julia. In a Facebook/Twitter age, perhaps we all expect to
read this level of information about everyone!
I read the book in the late afternoon one day, so many of the food images made
me quite hungry. Oddly though, when I was done and had read about recipes from
pasta with broccoli rabe to dofu wa, the item that stuck with me was corn
pudding. I tried the quick, easy recipe and it was very tasty; a fine coda to an
This recipe likely came from the spine of a box of corn-muffin mix, though it
was given to me by a girl who sublet my roommate's bedroom one summer. She and
her boyfriend left stains on the couch cushions and scuffed the kitchen walls
where a nicer apartment would have had a chair rail. But this recipe is so
brainlessly easy, and so delicious warm or cold, that after I made it a few
times I considered us squared up. She was actually a very nice girl.
1 16-ounce can corn, drained
1 16-ounce can creamed corn
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 box cheap corn-muffin mix
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs and then add the corn, creamed corn, melted
butter, and muffin mix (which is to say, put an ingredient or two between the
melted butter and the eggs, so they don't start to, cook). Stir until just
combined. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden and an inserted
toothpick comes out clean.
What is in that fifty-nine-cent box of muffin mix, anyway? Cheap cornmeal,
sweeteners, and a leavening agent? While it would partially defeat the point of
how simple this recipe is, a more clever person might benefit from figuring out
how to replace the muffin mix with a good, coarsely ground cornmeal, sugar,
baking soda or powder, and some salt.