Indie Next ListDecember 2012
Growing up the youngest in a family of nine can make a kid feel lost, but the alternative, moving to a far-off suburb while all the older kids stay behind, can be even worse. It?s a good thing then that the author was forced to tend to pancakes at a young age so she could further bond with her eccentric restaurateur father. Pandl shares family stories that will resonate with anyone from a large family, and some of the kitchen tales make Anthony Bourdain's confessions seem tame. But most of all, this is the story of a woman's bond with her father, built slowly with blocks of forced labor and family craziness, and then, when all that was swept away, rebuilt with the help of a lot of care and a bit of humor. -- Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
For Julia Pandl, the rite of passage into young-adulthood included mandatory service at her family's restaurant, where she watched as her father--who was also the chef--ruled with the strictness of a drill sergeant. At age twelve, Julie was initiated into the rite of the Sunday brunch, a weekly madhouse at her father's Milwaukee-based restaurant, where she and her eight older siblings before her did service in a situation of controlled chaos, learning the ropes of the family business and, more important, learning life lessons that would shape them for all the years to come. In her wry memoir, she looks back on those formative years, a time not just of growing up but, ultimately, of becoming a source of strength and support as the world her father knew began to change into a tougher, less welcoming place. Part coming-of-age story a la "The Tender Bar," part win- dow into the mysteries of the restaurant business a la "Kitchen Confidential," Julie Pandl provides tender wisdom about the bonds between fathers and daughters and about the simple pleasures that lie in the daily ritual of breaking bread. This honest and exuberant memoir marks the debut of a writer who discovers that humor exists in even the smallest details of our lives and that the biggest moments we ever experience can happen behind the pancake station at the Sunday brunch.