07 February 2012

Today's Imprint Read: Charlotte au Chocolat by Charlotte Silver

What would it be like to have grown up in a restaurant? Every night you put on your pretty dress, sit down at your special table, sip your Shirley Temple, and anticipate being served by an ever-changing wait staff. Meanwhile your parents are in the kitchen cooking for hundreds.

I grew up rich. The setting—or stage set—of my childhood was the velvety pink-and-green dining room of my mother's restaurant, Upstairs at the Pudding, located above the Hasty Pudding Club in a red-brick Victorian building at 10 Holyoke Street in Harvard Square. My life was not a child's life of jungle gyms and Velcro sneakers, but of soft lighting, stiff petticoats, rolling pins smothered in flour, and candied violets in wax paper. It was a life of manners, of air kisses, of "How do you dos," and a life for which I needed six party dresses a year, three every spring and three every winter. We were rich. Everybody knew it.

Yet we were not; we were not rich at all. For as long as I could remember, the restaurant had tottered on the brink of collapse. I always knew we would lose it one day. And we did lose it; we did. (p. 1)
Charlotte au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood, by Charlotte Silver (Riverhead Books 2012; quote is from uncorrected proofs)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Cambridge, Mass., and environs
  • Characters: Charlotte Silver, her family, and assorted waiters and kitchen staff; the rich and famous make cameos
  • Main theme: Loving tribute to her mother and the sacrifices she made to keep restaurant and family running
  • Other themes: Food and drink, family, manners, times gone by
  • Genre: Memoir
Want to Know More? For a fun annotated menu from Charlotte's childhood, check out the publisher's website. For more on author Charlotte Silver, read her interview with the Boston Globe. For more on Charlotte au Chocolat, including events and news, visit the memoir's Facebook page and watch the fantastic book trailer (below). For more Riverhead Books and for news about events and great books, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.


Jenn's Bookshelves 2/7/12, 8:13 AM  

This sounds like a good one! I've been reading quite a few books involving family owned restaurants lately (Baker's Daughter, A Good American, etc.). Adding this one to the list!

Julie P. 2/7/12, 8:47 AM  

I'm planning on starting this one very shortly. Totally looking forward to it!

Laurel-Rain Snow 2/7/12, 8:55 AM  

This one sounds delicious! And perfect for my Chocolate & Mimosas site...where I can review it after I read it! lol

Thanks for tempting me.


Anonymous,  2/7/12, 9:12 AM  

That's a good twist on the foodie memoir. I like it. Hope you enjoy.

Beth Hoffman 2/7/12, 9:39 AM  

This sounds quite interesting. When I read her Boston Globe interview and she spoke of Julia Child loving her mother's roasted red pepper soup, saying: "It was a sexy and voluptuous soup." I was hooked!

Lisa (Southern Girl Reads) 2/7/12, 10:06 AM  

As a lover of chef's and food, I think this would be a great read. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Book Loving Mommy 2/7/12, 10:22 AM  

This sounds really interesting! Thanks for stopping by :)

Meg @ write meg! 2/7/12, 10:23 AM  

Oooh, definitely intrigued by this one -- especially with such a cute cover. I love foodie memoirs and will be adding this to my wishlist!

Barbara 2/7/12, 10:26 AM  

I love memoirs (except the whiny ones) and this sounds like a good read. On my list.

Alice Audrey 2/7/12, 10:49 AM  

I could see them making a movie out of this one. I mean a long one complete with sound. ;)

Zibilee 2/7/12, 11:34 AM  

Memoirs are one of my favorite genres, and this teaser you posted makes me want to rush out and get this one now! It sounds so intriguing! Thanks for posting this today!

Between the Covers Louise 2/7/12, 11:51 AM  

I am very cautious about reading memoirs, but this sounds interesting. Nice teaser!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my teaser.

Louise @ Between the Covers Blog

danicapage 2/7/12, 12:23 PM  

Looks interesting! I'll have to check it out.

Here's my Teaser Tuesday.

SunnyReads 2/7/12, 1:33 PM  

Sounds fascinating! Thanks for stopping by SunnyReads!

Alice Audrey 2/7/12, 3:24 PM  

Silly me. I had the volume turned off.

caite 2/7/12, 4:58 PM  

I grew up in a bar...I wonder what that says.

bermudaonion 2/7/12, 5:03 PM  

I cannot wait to read this book!

Anonymous,  2/7/12, 6:38 PM  


Thanks for stopping by my teaser!

Marg 2/7/12, 7:32 PM  

This sounds like a fun read! Loved the trailer!

Heather 2/7/12, 7:36 PM  

What an adorable cover! And the inside sounds (yes, I'll go for it too) delicious. I have to add this to my wish list.

picky 2/7/12, 8:01 PM  

This sounds really great. I've seen this cover a lot in the last week and actually really love it too.

Thanks for the teaser! I'll keep my eye out for this.

Anonymous,  2/7/12, 10:15 PM  

Shirley Temple's every night? Now that's the life!

wutheringwillow 2/7/12, 10:40 PM  

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Wonderful teaser! Thanks for sharing!

Li @ rulethewaves.net 2/7/12, 11:46 PM  

Great teaser! Sounds like an interesting read =) Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier today =D

Karen White 2/8/12, 9:57 AM  

What a fun book trailer. It makes it seem like a kids' book though - which I am assuming its not?

Sonia Lal 2/8/12, 2:30 PM  

It sounds very interesting. Never heard of this, title or writer though.

(Diane) bookchickdi 2/11/12, 11:39 AM  

My husband and I used to own a restaurant; I think I would like this book.

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook 2/11/12, 7:55 PM  

This sounds like a fun read. I enjoyed the video! I think I'd love to try Parmesan fried lamb chops!

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