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The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Love and Food In Iran by Jennifer Klinec


While Jennifer Klinec’s The Temporary Bride is a memoir, at the end of it, I was left feeling as if it was a novel and I was waiting for the sequel to be written and released. I eagerly wanted to hear what happens next to these two interesting main characters.


The London-based Canadian author of The Temporary bride: A Memoir of Love and Food in Iran has built a successful business around “home cooking” and holds cooking classes in her London home. I’m imagining a vast open warehouse style home with an equally vast stainless steel altar; with all kinds of tools and vessels clamouring for space on racks, hooks and in drawers. Her quest for genuinely authentic food takes her all over the world: each place increasingly more interesting and remote. On her travels, she tries to get into home kitchens, where, as she correctly predicts, the truest, most authentic, cooking occurs. This story is based around the love story that emerged when she found herself immersed in the kitchens of Iran due to her passion for good food. There, she found an unexpected, and at first unwanted, love in the sharing of family meals.


Of course, Iran brings other cultural challenges beyond new and unusual ingredients. One feels for the unsuspecting Iranian mother who lets this thirty-something eccentric woman into her family home; a mother who teaches her to cook, and shares her family intimacy with this stranger. Generosity indeed. And when Jennifer leaves, she takes not just the lingering memories of the food prepared and consumed, the ritualistic mealtimes, and the details of family recipes, but also the woman’s only son. The poor mother falsely assumed her son, ten years Jennifer’s junior, would not be interested in this eccentric foreign older woman, so that the budding romance is unseen.


The descriptions of food, aromas and places are exquisite. The author’s passion for food and life shines through this true story. And as I have already mentioned the characters are immensely real – flaws and imperfections intermingle with raw emotion and at times the irrational behaviour that surrounds new love. This is a lovely little memoir written with passion and honesty. I’m sure we will read the next instalment.


REVIEWER: Gillian Whalley Torckler

TITLE: The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Love and Food In Iran

AUTHOR(S): Jennifer Klinec

PUBLISHER: Hachette

RRP: $39.99


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