Hot Best Seller

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

Availability: Ready to download

A poignant and transporting cross-cultural love story set against the lush backdrop of the Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hour. It was love at first sight when Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did A poignant and transporting cross-cultural love story set against the lush backdrop of the Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hour. It was love at first sight when Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did not approve of him marrying a black American woman, an actress no less. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forges on. They build a happy life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers, deep friendships and the love of their lives: a baby girl they adopt at birth. Eventually, they reconcile with Saro’s family just as he faces a formidable cancer that will consume all their dreams. From Scratch chronicles three summers Tembi spends in Sicily with her daughter, Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life without her husband in his tiny hometown hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was estranged from Saro’s family and his origins, now she finds solace and nourishment—literally and spiritually—at her mother in law’s table. In the Sicilian countryside, she discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close knit community, and timeless traditions and wisdom that light a path forward. All along the way she reflects on her and Saro’s incredible romance—an indelible love story that leaps off the pages. In Sicily, it is said that every story begins with a marriage or a death—in Tembi Locke’s case, it is both. Her story is about loss, but it’s really about love found. Her story is about travel, but it’s really about finding a home. It is about food, but it’s really about chasing flavor as an act of remembrance. From Scratch is for anyone who has dared to reach for big love, fought for what mattered most, and needed a powerful reminder that life is…delicious.


Compare

A poignant and transporting cross-cultural love story set against the lush backdrop of the Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hour. It was love at first sight when Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did A poignant and transporting cross-cultural love story set against the lush backdrop of the Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hour. It was love at first sight when Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did not approve of him marrying a black American woman, an actress no less. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forges on. They build a happy life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers, deep friendships and the love of their lives: a baby girl they adopt at birth. Eventually, they reconcile with Saro’s family just as he faces a formidable cancer that will consume all their dreams. From Scratch chronicles three summers Tembi spends in Sicily with her daughter, Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life without her husband in his tiny hometown hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was estranged from Saro’s family and his origins, now she finds solace and nourishment—literally and spiritually—at her mother in law’s table. In the Sicilian countryside, she discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close knit community, and timeless traditions and wisdom that light a path forward. All along the way she reflects on her and Saro’s incredible romance—an indelible love story that leaps off the pages. In Sicily, it is said that every story begins with a marriage or a death—in Tembi Locke’s case, it is both. Her story is about loss, but it’s really about love found. Her story is about travel, but it’s really about finding a home. It is about food, but it’s really about chasing flavor as an act of remembrance. From Scratch is for anyone who has dared to reach for big love, fought for what mattered most, and needed a powerful reminder that life is…delicious.

30 review for From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erika Robuck

    From the shores of California to an island in the Mediterranean, FROM SCRATCH is a rich, sensual reading experience. Equal parts uplifting and devastating, it is a memoir of soul-searching beauty. As extraordinary and unique as Tembi Locke's life is, all readers will identify with the themes of love, family, and forgiveness. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Beautiful writing and narration by the author. I visited Sicily in May 2019 and the author's descriptions brought it all flooding back. Sicily has everything, beautiful vistas, gorgeous beaches, amazing architecture, delicious food & wine, & wonderful characters! As I listened, I scribbled quotes on various scraps of paper, such as junk mail envelopes. I wrote on anything I had to hand when I heard something that twanged my heart strings. However, I appear to have mislaid most of them Beautiful writing and narration by the author. I visited Sicily in May 2019 and the author's descriptions brought it all flooding back. Sicily has everything, beautiful vistas, gorgeous beaches, amazing architecture, delicious food & wine, & wonderful characters! As I listened, I scribbled quotes on various scraps of paper, such as junk mail envelopes. I wrote on anything I had to hand when I heard something that twanged my heart strings. However, I appear to have mislaid most of them around my home. So, here is one of the quotes that so moved me: "it was clear that being with Saro had been like weaving a beautiful complicated tapestry. After his death, being with his family was like looking at the flip side of that tapestry, the stitching showed, the bulky knots, the places where the fringe had frayed but it was still part of the same beautiful piece." 9/26/19 Found another quote: "He was kryptonite sprinkled on a pizza, my personal weakness."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    From Scratch: a Memoir. . . . This was an assignment from Reese W and Hello, Sunshine! Good thing, too, because this is not one I would have picked up and read, given my own choosing algorithms. But this was an interesting story, with all the happy accidents that result in real living (as opposed to fictionally contrived situations to fit plot points), full of crazy coincidences for which we make up plots, intervening characters engaged in divine and/or devilish interferences, with promises of From Scratch: a Memoir. . . . This was an assignment from Reese W and Hello, Sunshine! Good thing, too, because this is not one I would have picked up and read, given my own choosing algorithms. But this was an interesting story, with all the happy accidents that result in real living (as opposed to fictionally contrived situations to fit plot points), full of crazy coincidences for which we make up plots, intervening characters engaged in divine and/or devilish interferences, with promises of happy endings, or dire dooms. More than anything this put me in a contemplative mood – thinking semi-dark thoughts wrapped in various themes of “all beginnings have an end.” George Carlin once said “It’s inevitable when you buy the pet. You’re supposed to know it in the pet shop. It’s going to end badly. You are purchasing a small tragedy.” That’s got to be true about every one of our relationships, from the most precious to the ones about which we are most indifferent. So . . . .is the business of life the educating all of us about transitions and reconciling ourselves to being in the moment, and then just as wholly, moving on? Moving on with history that is not allowed to overwhelm or overlimit? So difficult to box up meanings, but beyond the telling of a love/life story, this is my take-away from Ms. Locke’s book. Still pondering on it, and have picked up a few more books with similar themes. . . .maybe my algorithms need tweaking. Or not. Lovely writing – about her travels, family dynamics and how wacky those can be, the many forgivenesses time helps with in that area, and lots and lots of Sicilian cooking, tastes and pleasures. 3.5 stars from me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cortney

    “That morning I wanted nothing more than to know that it was possible for me to feel alive, fully alive again. The half living of life after loss was shifting. I wanted to be reminded of the bounty of life...” Oh this precious little book touched my heart. I was tearing up at the prologue. Through Tembi’s words you can feel the love she has for her family. I know first hand the challenges of learning to navigate the world again as a mom and widow so this book really hit home for me. I laughed. I “That morning I wanted nothing more than to know that it was possible for me to feel alive, fully alive again. The half living of life after loss was shifting. I wanted to be reminded of the bounty of life...” Oh this precious little book touched my heart. I was tearing up at the prologue. Through Tembi’s words you can feel the love she has for her family. I know first hand the challenges of learning to navigate the world again as a mom and widow so this book really hit home for me. I laughed. I cried. I felt like I had traveled to Italy and ate all this delicious food. It was the beautiful blending of two cultures through love and loss. I highly recommend this unforgettable memoir.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    I really wanted to like this, to connect with someone else who has felt grief, but it fell incredibly flat. The way it was written, I wasn't able to connect with the characters, and there was no plot. It was simply a sad woman who ate pasta. I expected to follow their love story and then feel the loss, grieving alongside Tembi, but it never happened.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan Meissner

    What a beautiful tribute to love in all its forms, even the love you still feel when you are mourning. That love is its own kind of love, as true, as powerful, as life-shaping as the kind you'd easily been able to express before everything changed. I loved especially these lines on p. 176. "...throughout life, we revisit the empty spaces. That was her understanding of grief. That we are always trying to reconcile memory with reality..." This is what it means to grieve; to cherish still every What a beautiful tribute to love in all its forms, even the love you still feel when you are mourning. That love is its own kind of love, as true, as powerful, as life-shaping as the kind you'd easily been able to express before everything changed. I loved especially these lines on p. 176. "...throughout life, we revisit the empty spaces. That was her understanding of grief. That we are always trying to reconcile memory with reality..." This is what it means to grieve; to cherish still every memory within this new, raw and uncharted reality. Tembi's memoir is perfectly structured, exquisitely rendered, achingly beautiful...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Probably would have given this book 2 stars, except that the writing really is beautiful. It just wasn't what I expected. This is a memoir about loss, period. If that's what you're here for, then you will likely get a lot out of it, but it wasn't what I was hoping for at this particular moment in my life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jodie

    The love story of Tembi and Saro is one of passion, commitment, and everlasting love. Not since Paul Kalanithi’s “When Breath Becomes Air” have I been so moved by a book.. Tembi Locke conveys passion and sincerity which is deeply felt on each and every page. It is articulate, vulnerable and full of symbolism. I could not put this book down and highly recommend it. Please note: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review which I have provided here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jude (NYJudester) Fricano

    I wanted to love this book. Sicily, food, culture, family, love .. but unfortunately I did not. The story was too drawn out, too much forced drama. There were parts that made me smile, other parts I rolled my eyes. I wish I loved it. I just didn’t feel it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stacey A. Prose and Palate

    "She had said so many things, things that were hard to hear, harder still to push through. Things the therapist and books all said were very normal. When those moments happened, when the grief was too big and it threatened to buckle the frame of the house, we'd often go to the back yard of our house and lie on the grass, put our bodies prostrate on the earth. On the blanket looking at the stars, I would tell her to give her hurt to the stars. They could take it. I told her she could say anything "She had said so many things, things that were hard to hear, harder still to push through. Things the therapist and books all said were very normal. When those moments happened, when the grief was too big and it threatened to buckle the frame of the house, we'd often go to the back yard of our house and lie on the grass, put our bodies prostrate on the earth. On the blanket looking at the stars, I would tell her to give her hurt to the stars. They could take it. I told her she could say anything to them. She could cry, she could scream, she could curse, anything she felt. She often said only one thing: "Babbo, you should not have left me.” I have unintentionallly put myself through the emotional ringer this month reading so many back to back books regarding death and grief, but it has turned out to be an incredibly cathartic experience for me. When I read the above passage from Tembi Locke’s emotional memoir, it immediately brought tears to my eyes because it is something that I think is always on your lips when you lose a parent... whether you are coping as a 7 year old daughter or a daughter who is 42... we think “you should not have left me." We want our loved ones to always be with us, and no matter how old we are, it always seems incomprehensible and unbearable when it comes time to have to say goodbye. From Scratch is the heartbreakingly, gorgeous debut that Reese Witherspoon selected as her May read for her Hello Sunshine Book Club pick. It is a meditation on love, family, loss, and navigating overwhelming grief. It is an honest testament of what is is like to care for someone with a terminal illness, and highlights the struggle of adjusting to becoming a family of 2 instead of 3. And then there’s the food. I LOVED how food was infused all through out this story. Here in the South, food is definitely a love language and I related so much to the scenes where Tembi and her in-laws come together and find comfort and connection in the kitchen. But most of all, this book is a love letter to those we cherish and who leave us too soon. All the stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This was the perfect book for me to read during a week in Italy. Not only is it set largely in Sicily, but it ticks a lot of boxes in terms of my reading interests: food, travel, bereavement, and the challenges of being an American overseas. During a semester abroad in Florence, Tembi Locke (an actress I was previously unfamiliar with) met and fell in love with Saro Gullo, an Italian chef. His parents could hardly accept him marrying someone from outside of Sicily, let alone a black woman from This was the perfect book for me to read during a week in Italy. Not only is it set largely in Sicily, but it ticks a lot of boxes in terms of my reading interests: food, travel, bereavement, and the challenges of being an American overseas. During a semester abroad in Florence, Tembi Locke (an actress I was previously unfamiliar with) met and fell in love with Saro Gullo, an Italian chef. His parents could hardly accept him marrying someone from outside of Sicily, let alone a black woman from Texas, and refused to attend their wedding. But as the years passed they softened towards Locke, who gradually became accepted in Saro’s hometown of Aliminusa. In fact, after Saro’s death from bone cancer in 2012, she became like a second daughter to Saro’s mother; the book focuses on the three summers in a row when she and her adopted daughter Zoela traveled to the family home in Sicily to stay with Nonna. That first year they brought over some of Saro’s ashes, and though in each year that followed the sadness hadn’t truly dissipated, there was still, somehow, more joy in the simplicity of the Sicilian way of life, in her hard-won acceptance into a new family, and in food prepared with love. As an expat, I particularly appreciated the exploration of what it’s like to live between countries and cultures; Locke does a wonderful job of presenting the extreme differences between L.A., where she lives, and Sicily without judgment (i.e., implying that one is better than the other). It’s an honest, sad yet hopeful memoir, and there are even recipes! I plan to order it for my sister as soon as we get home from our vacation. A favorite passage: “The food from Nonnas kitchen told a story, an epic and personal story of an island and a family. It told the story of poverty, grief, love, and joy. ... Her food spoke of malleability and resourcefulness in loss, in love, and in life. She had learned how to turn subsistence living into abundance.” Readalikes: Traveling with Ghosts: A Memoir by Shannon Leone Fowler Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law by Katherine Wilson

  12. 4 out of 5

    Isa

    A beautifully written testament of accepting life with all that life has to give, of love .....love for another human being, love for parents, love for children and love for one's origins and birth place....

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mellie Antoinette

    “Life is still revealing itself to you. Be open to it.” This was a beautiful memoir about grief, the aftermath of loss and ultimately the gut-wrenching steps it takes to carry it all forward into the future. With sunny hints of a Sicilian sky slipping through, tomatoes roasting on the stove and almonds to crack in the warm summer heat, it’s amazing how Tembi sewed the comforting hints of food and “otherness” - that second sense of self that happens when we lose a piece of our soul - into her “Life is still revealing itself to you. Be open to it.” This was a beautiful memoir about grief, the aftermath of loss and ultimately the gut-wrenching steps it takes to carry it all forward into the future. With sunny hints of a Sicilian sky slipping through, tomatoes roasting on the stove and almonds to crack in the warm summer heat, it’s amazing how Tembi sewed the comforting hints of food and “otherness” - that second sense of self that happens when we lose a piece of our soul - into her journey back to the every day of the life she lives. “Coincidence and fate are two words for the same phenomenon.” Although she’s a long way from her own personal magic hour, she is building it, one brick, one smile, one memory at time. I really enjoyed this one!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    3.5. I think that Reese and I do not have the same taste. This is the second of her book club picks that I felt was just ok. Parts of this were wonderful, beautifully written, moved me to tears. But large sections were slow and a little too sentimental. There were meant times I was counting the pages to see when it would end. I intimately know grief and I’ve read other books that fully embrace the experience and strongly echoed my experience. This was not that book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mikala Hill

    In all fairness, I am not the "memoir" type. But I was rooting for this one. It started off strong...and then drug on until the end. Bummer.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    From Scratch is a beautiful story that moves through love, loss and moving on. While sad and heartbreaking, it is also a testament to love, family and community. We meet Saro and witness a very moving romance between him and Tembi. The love they share is so strong that it overcomes thousands of miles of separation. When Saro becomes ill, their love provides strength and courage. The writing is exceptional and lyrical. The descriptions of the food and scenery are wonderful. I highly recommend From Scratch is a beautiful story that moves through love, loss and moving on. While sad and heartbreaking, it is also a testament to love, family and community. We meet Saro and witness a very moving romance between him and Tembi. The love they share is so strong that it overcomes thousands of miles of separation. When Saro becomes ill, their love provides strength and courage. The writing is exceptional and lyrical. The descriptions of the food and scenery are wonderful. I highly recommend From Scratch.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marianne Fokas

    I loved this book. It appealed to me on many levels, I am of Italian heritage and my husband also died from cancer. I thought her writing was beautiful and the feelings expressed were so real and spot on when it comes to caregiving, and grief. It is also a story about healing and the love of family. And the food, Tembi had my mouth watering on so many occasions. I was so happy to see the included recipes! I plan on trying a lot of them. Wonderful debut novel!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The story she had to tell was compelling but it was overwritten. It seemed like her prose was trying too hard.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Amazing book. One of best memoirs I've ever read. Ever.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I am sure writing this book was cathartic for Ms. Locke. At least I hope it was. For me, I felt like I spent a book reading about her complaining about things that only someone with privilege could complain about. Yes, there were some racial issues and I am not diminishing the difficulties in losing a spouse; however, when someone spends pages explaining how gorgeous it is while they are able to spend summers mourning their husband’s passing in Sicily, those issues seem a bit less pressing. So, I am sure writing this book was cathartic for Ms. Locke. At least I hope it was. For me, I felt like I spent a book reading about her complaining about things that only someone with privilege could complain about. Yes, there were some racial issues and I am not diminishing the difficulties in losing a spouse; however, when someone spends pages explaining how gorgeous it is while they are able to spend summers mourning their husband’s passing in Sicily, those issues seem a bit less pressing. So, just not the book for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Am I the only one who sometimes actually mourns the end of a book? My own healing from loss took me to Italy a few years ago. This book spoke to me in so many aspects and touched on that journey to Italy once again.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    A poignant memoir about finding love and moving on. Locke is a fantastic writer, able to keep you involved and engaged with warm, lush prose. She is particularly good at painting a picture of Sicily or a plate of pasta. You can feel the sun, smell the dishes, and get fully enwrapped in the warmth and love here. A bit of a weepy at first, but in the second half of the book Locke writes in more detail about her life as a widow and her growing relationship with her mother-in-law and it really A poignant memoir about finding love and moving on. Locke is a fantastic writer, able to keep you involved and engaged with warm, lush prose. She is particularly good at painting a picture of Sicily or a plate of pasta. You can feel the sun, smell the dishes, and get fully enwrapped in the warmth and love here. A bit of a weepy at first, but in the second half of the book Locke writes in more detail about her life as a widow and her growing relationship with her mother-in-law and it really surprised me how much she kept me enrapt.

  23. 4 out of 5

    2TReads

    This was such a wonderful, yet heartbreaking memoir. Part sweeping love story, and part grief manual. It gives us a glimpse into two parts of Tembi Locke's life; how she met and fell in love with her husband Saro and built a family, and how she was able to get through her grief when Saro passed away. It is a story of love, family, grief, forgiveness and strength, with a generous helping of food (which played a main role in Tembi and Saro's relationship because he was a chef). A truly This was such a wonderful, yet heartbreaking memoir. Part sweeping love story, and part grief manual. It gives us a glimpse into two parts of Tembi Locke's life; how she met and fell in love with her husband Saro and built a family, and how she was able to get through her grief when Saro passed away. It is a story of love, family, grief, forgiveness and strength, with a generous helping of food (which played a main role in Tembi and Saro's relationship because he was a chef). A truly heartwarming tale of love and family.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chandra

    A beautifully written memoir about love, family, food, and grief. Be prepared to cry a lot at certain parts!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A beautifully written memoir. The recollection of a love that travels from one continent to another and back again. A must read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa ❤️

    Beautifully written!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I really liked this one. I didn’t expect a memoir to have so many twists and turns. And I love a good good story. This one checked a lot of boxes for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Dowsett

    Sad, though the story was, I enjoyed the warmth and tenderness that bonded the family together. A touching life story

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scilla

    Amazing! I am not a memoir genre reader, but this was easy and so entertaining! I loved hearing Tembi’s stories from Sicily! Reads as though your girlfriend is just talking to you about her life experiences! For those fans of Elena Ferrante you will feel the same old world feel while reading this memoir. I come from a portuguese background in Sao Miguel and even though the language and people are different it has reminded me of stories I’ve heard of my parents growing up from humble beginnings. Amazing! I am not a memoir genre reader, but this was easy and so entertaining! I loved hearing Tembi’s stories from Sicily! Reads as though your girlfriend is just talking to you about her life experiences! For those fans of Elena Ferrante you will feel the same old world feel while reading this memoir. I come from a portuguese background in Sao Miguel and even though the language and people are different it has reminded me of stories I’ve heard of my parents growing up from humble beginnings. Definitely a 5 ⭐️, but bring on the tissues!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Exquisite! I listened to the audible version narrated by the author and it was beautifully peppered with gorgeous Italian language. Tembi Locke's effortless flow from English to Italian accented phrases hooked me immediately. Her story was crafted in lyrical, romantic prose. I fell in love with every single word she told. I loved that Aliminusa, Sicily was a central character in the story. I felt like I was there, her descriptions of the area, the food, the taste of Italian food left me longing Exquisite! I listened to the audible version narrated by the author and it was beautifully peppered with gorgeous Italian language. Tembi Locke's effortless flow from English to Italian accented phrases hooked me immediately. Her story was crafted in lyrical, romantic prose. I fell in love with every single word she told. I loved that Aliminusa, Sicily was a central character in the story. I felt like I was there, her descriptions of the area, the food, the taste of Italian food left me longing for a trip of my own. This was so much more than a love story, this woman's amazing strength and character shone through in the humblest form. She intricately demonstrated her vulnerability, strength, boldness, courage, love, and perseverance in such a beautiful, unpretentious and modest way. I don't know Tembi's work as an actress but she definitely has a gift at writing. I would love to read more. Her writing made me feel like she was just a friend in my living room, telling me about her life. When it was over, I wanted to sit with her and drink a glass of wine, pour over her family's photographs, hear more stories, and ask a ton of questions. I wanted to know more about her life now, how her daughter is, does she still visit every summer, is Nonna still living? I wanted to hug her and thank her for sharing her beautiful story. Selfishly, I really wish the book had included some photographs but I looked up a youtube interview and during it, they flashed several pictures. Beautiful. I

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.