Kate Moses, Cakewalk, and Kate on film with August Kleinzahler

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Next week, Cakewalk, a memoir by Kate Moses, will be available in stores, though I suspect you've been hearing about the book for quite some time already, following a terrific review in Chicago Tribune, a fascinating interview in the Wall Street Journal blog, Speakeasy, and a lot of blogger buzz.  Cakewalk is the story of Kate's growing up with a "capricious mother" and an "aloof, ambitious" father; it is this story, in Kate's words:

Life does not always reward us with the best cookie in the box, or the happiest family. Sometimes you take what you get and make the best of it. In my case, that’s where imagination came in as handily as learning how to bake. For both of these lifesavers, I have my confusing, painful, unforgettable childhood to thank. Which makes me wonder if my cake obsession, really, is not much more than my struggle to find a way to redeem with sweetness those moments that left, however bitter on occasion, such a lasting taste in my mouth. 

Nearly every chapter of Cakewalk concludes with a Kate Moses recipe; when you visit Kate and her husband, Gary Kamiya, in their warmly accommodating San Francisco home, you'll find Kate, as we found her last August, at work in her kitchen—slicing, pounding, folding, releasing her latest culinary invention into the world.  

But Kate, as those who read Cakewalk (or who read her novel Wintering or her essays for Salon) know, is equally brilliant on the page.  Her talent is deeply rooted in knowing; together with Gary she owns one of the most remarkable libraries anywhere and her long work with the Lannan Foundation has yielded interactions with the greatest working writers of our day.  I love talking with Kate because she teaches me, and because she does it in a way that can't intimidate.  The essence of Kate (her sweetness, her thoroughness, her delightability) is here, in this interview, conducted in March, with poet August Kleinzahler, on behalf of Lannan.  


Beth F said...

Sounds like it had my name on it! I'll consider it for one of my Weekend Cooking posts.

lib said...

"...because she teaches me, and because she does it in a way that can't intimidate." What a gift you have with this friendship, Beth. A friend, a mentor and a good cook! WOW!

Lilian Nattel said...

Writing and cake making--what a wonderful combination.

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