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March 2015
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May 2015

What I'm Into (April 2015 Edition)

  2015-04-09 09.25.32My best friend's porch swing

This month has been all about front porch weather. I want it to stay in the 60s and 70s forever! It's normally much warmer in Nashville by now so I am cherishing every true Spring day we have.


Read and Reading

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I've never listened to Amanda Palmer's music, nor did I know much about her before reading The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help but she gave me much good food for thought and I'm convinced there was one line written just for me. I think I'll be a better writer and creative person as a result. 

The Precious One is such a great example of why I love reading de los Santos. She creates such interesting, layered characters and their respective voices are incredibly clear, especially those of our alternating narrators Taisy and Willow.

The more I think about Scarlet (Gaughen), the more I love it. Such an inventive retelling of Robin Hood's tale, in which Will Scarlet is actually a lady thief. Gaughen gives us such a clear and compelling voice throughout the narrative. Lady Thief was a fantastic follow up and I'm so happy Lion Heart is due out May 19. I can't wait to see how the trilogy ends!


You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads

Currently reading: We Make the Road By Walking (McLaren), Amazing Grace (Norris), De Niro (Levy), Strong Inside: Perry Wallace the Collision of Race and Sports in the South (Maraniss), Are You My Type? Am I Yours?: Relationships Made Easy Through the Enneagram (Baron and Wagele), Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Cannon, Harper, Jackson, Rah), Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church (Evans), A Door in the Hive (Levertov), Cooked (Pollan), Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar (Strayed)


(I read 12 books this month.)



Must-see TV: Madam Secretary, Jane the Virgin, Real Housewives of New York, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Being Mary Jane, Southern Charm, Outlander

I am so happy Bethenny is back on RHONY.

Once Upon a Time has had some incredible twists this season. I just love this show so much!



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I saw Ryan Adams at the Ryman. A friend had an extra ticket and I'm so glad it worked out for me to go. Incredible show!

Listen to the What I'm Into 2014 playlist. Here's the What I'm Into 2015 playlist.



2015-04-09 10.40.08My friend Megan Tietz started her podcast Sorta Awesome this month and it is completely awesome. Megan has the perfect voice for this medium. I could listen to her talk all day. But another reason I love listening to Sorta Awesome is that my good friends are two of Megan's co-hosts: Laura Tremaine and Kelly Gordon. I love how they let us all eavesdrop on a really great conversation. No matter who Megan is talking to each week, I'll be listening with bells on.

I have been a sporadic Popcast listener for some time but this month I became a subscriber. I don't know why I was sporadic before. I've known Jamie and Knox for a few years and it's fun hearing them spar over the topic du jour. Even if Jamie erroneously threw me under the bus in this episode.





Things I Love:

  • Barbara Brown Taylor's books have been a lifeline the last few years and it was a thrill to hear her speak not once but twice. First, she spoke on the themes of Learning to Walk in the Dark at Benton Chapel, and then did a Q&A at a community breakfast the next morning.
  • Cuban tapas with the Bogel family. Always good to spend time with that family.
  • I went home for Easter for the first time since I moved to Nashville 5 years ago. My time in my hometown was an absolute gift. It went too fast and there wasn't nearly enough time to see everyone but I managed to pack a lot in.
  • Like a good auntie, I went to a children's museum with my best friend Erin and her kids and another friend and her kids. My niece-in-love and nephew-in-love have me well-trained.

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  • Addie was in Illinois visiting her parents so we picked a spot halfway between us and had Lou Malnati's (my fave Chicago pizza!) for dinner. She's so good for my soul.
  • Catching up with my old roomie Donna
  • I finally got to meet my dear friend Laura's sweet baby. I could have snuggled her all day!
  • Going on a long walk with Megan, the same route she takes just about every day. It was chillier than I'd like but the conversation was more than worth it.
  • I went to Katherine's church for Easter. So fun seeing her in action!
  • Easter dinner with my family- I love my relatives so much and feel so grateful for the time we got to spend together. Plus, watching the kids hunt for Easter eggs was a riot.
  • The feeling of satisfaction after filing my taxes
  • A final session with my counselor. I owe so much to her for the way she has walked alongside me the last couple of years. It's been good, hard work and her phrases and questions were a big part of that.
  • Coffee and fun with Alece

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  • Getting to meet Tara Austen Weaver! I've read her blog for I don't know how many years so there was no way I was going to miss her stop at Parnassus while promoting her new book Orchard House. The best part, though, was meeting up with her at Thistle Stop Cafe the next day. What a treat to get to know her better! It was like spending time with an old friend.
  • Two weeks after I saw her, Erin came to town for a conference. I snagged her for coffee after the last session and then Tracy and I took her out for dinner at Mas Tacos Por Favor. Best Friend Reunion complete!
  • Lacy came to town so I met up with her and Abby for coffee. Loved hearing more about her endeavors!
  • I've picked up another part-time job, plus another Virtual Assistant client. It's a lot to keep track of but so far I'm making it work.
  •  Tracy's birthday dinner
  • The amount of man-buns at the Ryman
  • The BLT Flatbread at Edgehill Cafe. More please.



Favorite Instagram:

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This is the first time I've gone back home for Easter in 5 years. Thrilled to be with my favorite cousins! #TheYearOfLeigh

(Dress from Stitch Fix, FYI)

(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)


On The Blog:

I have a lot of favorite food memoirs.



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What have you been into this month?

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Favorite Food Memoirs

Food memoirs have been calling my name for several years now. I can't get enough of them and yet I find there are still plenty more I need to read. Since I'm frequently asked for book recommendations, I thought I'd start compiling lists of different categories and there was no better place to start than books about food. Mainly because most of the best things in life involve good food, yes?

Also, I have a lot of favorites.

  Favorite Food Memoirs via

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry- Kathleen Flinn

One of the first food memoirs I recall reading, it swept me off my feet. After learning she's been fired, Flinn decides to move to Paris and pursue her dream of a diploma from Le Cordon Bleu. Funny yet informative, Flinn includes many great recipes along the way.


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- Barbara Kingsolver

Kingsolver and her family document a year of deliberately eating food that was produced where they lived. The book is chock full of information on processed food, farmer's markets, and more, as well as delicious recipes. I haven't taken a similar plunge but it definitely made me reassess where my food comes from.


Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table- Ruth Reichl

Masterfully written memoir by renowned food critic Ruth Reichl. She details her chaotic childhood compliments of her undiagnosed bipolar mother, work-prone father, and a revolving door of help. It's her mother's penchant for serving spoiled food that ultimately propels Reichl into the kitchen. Reichl's unpredictable relationship with her mother is at the heart of each story and its resolution is full of redemption. Reichl wrote two more memoirs- Comfort Me With Apples and Garlic and Sapphires- that are more than worth your time but to me, this is her best work.


The Language of Baklava- Diana Abu-Jaber

Abu-Jaber painted such a rich and vibrant picture of culture, relationships, and self-identity. There is so much to relate to, even for those of us without immigrant parents. I hope she will write another memoir because there were quite a few times where I wanted to know the rest of the story.


Yes, Chef- Marcus Samuelsson

I was familiar with Marcus Samuelsson thanks to Top Chef but I had no idea about his story. I like to see how chefs become the people they are and finding out what kitchen life is really like. Samuelsson pulls no punches, detailing honestly about the explosive personalities of his mentors, the good and bad of working in restaurants, the racism he encountered (while differentiating himself from African Americans, as he had a somewhat different experience in Sweden), and the constant striving of any good chef.


Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef- Gabrielle Hamilton

Beautifully written chef's memoir but so much more than that. Hamilton's bohemian childhood translated to an interesting life. We see the role the kitchen has always played, from accidental cook fending for herself to opening an acclaimed restaurant. The food descriptions are stunning when they occur but I was most mesmerized by Hamilton's winding journey. We live markedly different lives but I enjoyed reading about how she discovered- and continues to discover- herself.


The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman's Romp Through a World of Men, Meat, and Moral Crisis- Tara Austen Weaver

I've read and loved Tara Austen Weaver's blog for a few years now. She's such an engaging writer and while I knew some of her story from her blog, I was curious about her journey from vegetarian to carnivore, as well as the impact of her diet on her health. I loved reading about her interactions with butchers, meat-lovers, steak aficionados, and sausage makers, as well as seeing whether her foray with meat would last.


A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table- Molly Wizenberg

A Homemade Life was a true treat. I'm a fan of Wizenberg's blog Orangette, albeit a sporadic reader. Her book is beautifully written, memories and stories gently folded around food. Her recollections of her father were especially evocative. I laughed and cried and, of course, bookmarked recipes to try. I also found her second book Delancey to be delightful and was just a wee bit proud of myself for having dined at the restaurant prior to the book's release. If you're in Seattle, you have to get some pizza and a fancy drink on my behalf. Also, the chocolate chip cookie with gray salt. You won't regret it.


An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace- Tamar Adler

Tamar Adler has such a reverential approach to food and eating in An Everlasting Meal. Beautifully written, her book also serves as a handy guide. I will never approach eggs or leftovers in quite the same way after reading her words. A must read for anyone who enjoys eating or cooking. (This isn't entirely memoir but it's had such an impact on me, I couldn't leave it out.)


The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals- Michael Pollan

If you like to eat, this is a must-read. Beware, however, it will change the way you eat. Very eye-opening and insightful.


On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town - Susan Herrmann Loomis

How is it possible to paint a dreamy yet realistic vision of life in France? Loomis drew me in from the start and while I'm not going to pack my bags for Paris quite yet, she did have me considering the possibilities of life abroad. Oh, to have a life revolving around food and restored convents like them!


My Life in France- Julia Child

I had vague memories of Julia Child's cooking show, supplemented by the movie Julie and Julia, before I read this. Julia's personality shines throughout. Her determination to perfect recipes and compulsion to continue working on her cookbooks after years of work is quite inspiring. Her efforts changed the way cookbooks are published.


Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith- Fred Bahnson

Beautifully written exploration of the relationship between faith and food, especially the garden and soil. But I hasten to add, this is for more than gardeners and farmers. It's for all of us seeking, all of us eating. The writing is alive and moved me time and again. 


Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table- Shauna Niequist

Equal parts memoir, manifesto, and cookbook, I read Shauna's essays, underlining and nodding in recognition. I respond to Shauna's writing as if I've jumped in to the middle of conversation with her. This is her best work yet.


The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love- Kristin Kimball

Reading this was like a walk down memory lane. Not because I bought a farm with a guy I barely knew but because we have a family farm. This is a beautifully written memoir but also packed with information on farming, green living, and ethical eating.


What are your favorite food memoirs?

Disclosure : Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site.