The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec
The Temporary Bride is a work born of a colliding of cultures, and a life of food and adventure. Densely atmospheric from the beginning, Jennifer Klinec’s memoir charts her early life, her self-emancipation from Canada and her later journeys in Iran. Her quest for unknown food and experience touches the reader; it makes one want to experiment with food, and to travel to places unimaginable. Perhaps the book’s greatest love story is between Klinec and the dishes she cooks, conveyed through a language of food that is rich, velvety and all-encompassing.
With an eastern European heritage and an unending desire to discover, Klinec is a veteran of culture and cuisine. It’s an absolute pleasure to read of her cooking, as her respect and admiration for ingredients shine from the pages; she writes about food with a delicacy and warmth that’s so often missing from recipe books. It’s a real homage to the passion that drove her halfway across the world in search of something new.
Klinec’s experience of Iran appears to reflect a balance of hospitality, curiosity and hostility that characterises the country. This book is most impressive for its intimate rendering of this nation that so many know so little about – a place of intrigue, repression and closely guarded values. Klinec’s relationship with Vahid is tender, emotionally tentative and founded on a fundamental misunderstanding of culture that must be untangled. It’s a love story with all its flaws, not much left out. A classic tale of love overcoming all obstacles, The Temporary Bride is quite a memoir, with a lifetime of feeling crushed into this story.
Devour this book while eating – it demands it. Like a good recipe book, the pages should be thumbed with crumbs, jam and sauces. Klinec has created a special memory for herself, and an inspiration for others: to journey, to love, and to cook from the heart.
The Temporary Bride is published by Virago at the paperback price of £13.99, for further information visit here.