Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tango, Taxis, and Tasting the World

The bright yellow cover intrigued me on our new-books shelf months ago, and I knew I wanted to read this book. Driving Hungry by Layne Mosler is a traveling culinary memoir about a San Francisco 30-something who loved restaurants and worked in one, knew rather quickly that she could never be a line cook, uproots her life and goes on a gastronomic adventure.

Her first stop is Buenos Aires, where she takes her first tango lesson in flip flips, falls in love with a tango instructor, and also falls onto the idea for her popular food blog Taxi Gourmet. The formula for each adventure is that she gets into a taxi, asks the driver about their favorite restaurant and dish, and has them take her to try them out. Her blog starts to become more popular as she writes about food and the interesting people she meets along the way. After a few years, she decides to move on, back to the States in the land of taxis-New York City.

The section on NYC is decidedly a darker time for her, but it does have its highlights. She actually decides to get behind the wheel after so many taxi rides and becomes a taxi driver herself! Layne shares her driving adventures (and disasters), somehow still finding time to go on her own food field trips. She begins to feel the pull of wanderlust rather quickly in New York, so she makes her way to Berlin for a summer.

Layne falls in love with Berlin, with the people, its war torn history, and the food. She makes friends quickly, in particular with a taxi driver who writes his own taxi blog, Rumen. After her summer, she returns to New York, still feeling the pull of Berlin.

Overall, the book surprised me. I was expecting the bulk of the writing to be about the actual food, but instead it was more about Layne discovering herself and learning life lessons from the people that came and went so quickly in her travels. I truly enjoyed this book and hope that you will pick it up as well!

See, sometimes you can judge books by their covers ;)