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Day of Honey

A Memoir of Food, Love, and War

Ciezadlo, Annia

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Day of Honey
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Ciezadlo presents a beautifully written, fiercely intelligent memoir exploring the heightened meaning of cooking during wartime.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2011
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416583936
1416583939
Branch Call Number: B Ciezadlo C
Characteristics: viii, 382 p. ; 25 cm.

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Sep 05, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Annia is a freelance journalist who marries a Lebanese reporter and ends up spending her honeymoon in Baghdad in 2003. Over the next six years they find themselves living in Beirut and Iraq during wartime. Annia finds that even during these terrible times of sectarian violence, people find ways to live normal lives. Breaking bread together, sharing recipes, and finding an illusive birthday cake for a child all help anchor the rhythms of daily life. This book is a wonderful lesson in Middle East history, food, wars and culture through the eyes of a westerner who falls for the man and his country.

"Journalist Annia Ciezadlo, a New York City native, reported from Beirut and Baghdad between 2003 and 2009. Ciezadlo felt comfortable in the region, since she and her journalist husband often stayed with his family in Beirut. Observing the contrast between war's violence and the welcome extended to her by ordinary people, Ciezadlo's accounts in this memoir emphasise the meals she was served and the ways in which they brought people together. This focus on positive cultural interactions moderates her realistic depictions of conflict, including ethnic and religious battles. The final chapter of Day of Honey includes recipes for many of the mouth-watering foods she describes in the book." Biography and Memoir July 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/90664ed0-112c-4dc3-badc-4aff1fc6e001?postId=b5fb9674-9abe-43b9-af02-3e8998058388

Jul 20, 2012
  • Pisinga rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

From the beginning I was looking forward to read this book with a sense of satisfaction. But, as I continued to read, this feeling gradually began to evaporate.
I liked some interesting facts about Iraq. Especially, the culture and love for poetry and literature in general. But gradually, the book became a book about the authors’ mother-in-law. Well, what a "gift" is that woman! There is a limit to tolerate some humiliations, even if they are coming from your husband’s mother! Also there are so many names in Arabic, and you begin to feel confused, trying to figure out who is who and where is from.

Love can bring us to places we never expected. Annia Ciezadlo is a New York reporter who falls in love with a fellow American reporter with Middle East origins. When he gets a job as a Middle East bureau chief, Annia goes with him and spends the next several years in Iraq and then Lebanon. Trying to make a home in war torn countries, Annia turns to food for comfort. She explores the history of both Iraqi and Lebanese food and looks at how food is intertwined with family, nationality, love, power, and war. This fast moving account offers both personal stories of Annia’s time abroad, as well as political snapshots that give readers insight into the lives of those who must live in a world of political upheaval.

The author discusses her marriage to a man from Beirut, the bond she forged with her Lebanese in-laws, and how she found love, good food, and a meaningful life, despite dividing her time between wartorn Iraq and Lebanon.

"In her extraordinary debut, Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War, Annia Ciezadlo turns food into a language, a set of signs and connections, that helps tie together a complex moving memoir of the Middle East. She interweaves her private story with portraits of memorable individuals she comes to know along the way, and with the shattering public events in Baghdad and Beirut. She does so with grace and skill, without falling into sentimentality or simple generalizations."
Reviewed in the Globe & Mail March 25, 2011 by Naomi Duguid

Jul 05, 2011
  • bluehydrangea rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is an inspiring memoir, especially if you wonder how people get on with life in a war zone. Annia Ciezadlo writes about getting to know her husband's family, their city (Beirut), and a new reporting ground (Baghdad) always with food at the centre, though this isn't done in a forced way. There are also fascinating insights into how war reporters actually do their work. I think this is a tough-minded book: all through it people are losing loved ones, homes, and neighbourhoods to bombs but life goes on... There are some interesting looking recipes at the back but I didn't try them, and I think if food is not your thing you could still get a lot out of this book.

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