Not everyone is a professional chef, or heck, even a half decent cook. America is so inundated with the idea that people are incapable of cooking a decent meal, we actually have a reality television show called “Worst Cooks In America”. Now while these cooks are probably far from the worst (the actual worst not being ready for reality television), many of us have expectations for ourselves that we cannot perform any better than others expect us to. Amelia Morris was in the same spot when she decided to start making random recipes from food magazines meant for a more wealthy and fancy crowd. While her first few attempts were delicious, if disastrous, she bettered herself by just trying. In this period of her life, Bon Appetempt was born. Both a food blog and now a book, it chronicles Morris’ attempts to make dishes more complicated than boxed dinners and frozen chicken patties.
Bon Appetempt: A Coming-of-Age Story is a memoir with recipes. Call it a cookbook and the author will be sure to remind you. Morris’ life starts out in Pennsylvania. Both her parents are doctors; there’s also an older brother named Billy. Quickly life changes for everyone when Morris’ father gets his mistress pregnant and splits from her mom. Parents share custody, but Morris eventually makes the conscious decision that she wants to live with her mom full time in Pittsburgh. She makes it through high school, meets a boy she fancies named Matt and goes off to college. Once at college she can’t really find the craft she’d like to study. Knowing she used to and still did like writing, she decides she might major in creative writing. However it isn’t as easy as 1,2,3 when it comes to writing a novel and selling it. Morris struggles with her creative endeavors. As does her boyfriend Matt, the budding screenwriter. The two continue to work meager, hourly jobs while pecking at their projects, but it takes a while before they finally get on their feet. In the midst of this is when Morris decides to start Bon Appetempt, her current food blog that chronicles her attempts to make some of the finer food items in life.
Bon Appetempt (the book, not the blog) is a funny and heartwarming memoir. It does a great job of reminding the reader that working for their dreams will eventually pay off. Sure, others have worked longer than Amelia Morris did to sell their novel or screenplay, but she worked herself into a system where she enjoyed what she was doing until she was in the position to really enjoy life. She may have struggled for a good bit, not being able to keep a steady job, having a hard time carving out daily writing time, but when she did figure it out, it paid off. Starting her food blog was probably the tipping point in what led her to the life she is currently living. She was dedicated to that and it rewarded her when one of her essays won an award and the blog was featured in some very prominent food magazines. Her story is not unlike many of the aspiring writers out there, most of which could learn a good lesson from her: just keep chugging along.
Rating: 8 out of 10 – Bon Appetempt should be required reading for aspiring writers. It reminds us that even when we think our dreams might be out of reach, they could also be waiting right around the corner.