Review of Jessie Ware’s “Omelette”, by Juliano Zaffino

“Finally, at thirty-six, I’m ready to fully embrace and respect this world that has given me so much intangible pride, purpose and love. And the spread will be excellent.” Omelette: Food, Love, Chaos and Other Conversations, the debut food memoir (“Foodoir”, allegedly) by Jessie Ware is a sumptuous feast of a book — journeying through her life in a scattershot way, Ware opens doors on moments as wide-ranging as her childhood, her teenage and student years, her relationship, pregnancies, career and podcast, an entire biography told through food, through defining dishes and philosophies of eating. Ware also knows how to dole out plentiful side orders of anecdotes, from showbiz-insider-hors-d’oeuvres to TMI family moments, the unexpected, so relatable lashing out at Jack from Nando’s, and a boat trip that honestly gave me mild second-hand PTSD (it’s hilarious, but also bleak and anxiety-inducing…). Through stories of her family and friends, intersecting with her life — in piles of Pizza Hut boxes, holiday dinners and free bars and trifle fights — Ware balances humour and pathos at every turn, in a way few memoirists pull off so deftly. Her prose is seasoned with a real joyful love, food as comfort and courage. challenge and camaraderie: “To eat gives me more pleasure than anything, perhaps even more than music. But add music to the act of eating and that is alchemy of crescendoing delight. I live to eat; I do not eat to live.”

Juliano Zaffino (he/they) is a queer writer and reader living in London. As well as running the online literary community YourShelf, Jay hosts The YourShelf Podcast and is the editor and publisher of The YourShelf Press. Jay reads widely, and has reviewed books for the online literary journals Severine and Lunate. Jay’s work has been published in the New River Press Yearbook 2019 and the first issue of Untitled: Voices. Jay’s debut collection, All Those Bodies And They’re Moving, was published 31 January 2020 by The YourShelf Press.

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