Most people admit growing up was hard- but for Nashville born Elena Sitke, puberty and sibling squabbles were have the battle. Her first ever memoir, What’s On the MENu is a stunning and in-depth look at life in a family of cannibals. Though short (at 17 pages this is the perfect beach read) Elena covers topics normal people would never even dream of going through- including delicate issues like bringing home boyfriends (or fresh meet, as her brother refers to them as) to meet her parents.
Her first (and only chapter) is titled “Dating the Dinner” and is filled with humor and witticisms that I think anyone can connect to- regardless of dietary restrictions. I particularly loved her family’s reaction to her dating a devout Catholic. Here’s a little ‘taste’ of how that conversation went:
“But Elena, honey,” my mom said as she added a pinch of salt to the pasta water. “I know you think this guy is cute and all, but do you know what they taste like?”
“Mom,” I tried to tell her pleadingly, “please mom he’s not for dinner. I really like him and he likes me.”
“Yeah but sweetie, one day you’ll break up and you’ll want to eat him- and I’m telling you from personal experience, that whole body of Christ thing is a load of bull. Get yourself a nice Jewish boy or something.”
Elena and her mom are just too funny together!
The prologue, written by her editor, really brings it all back home to the reality of the situation though. Here’s an excerpt: “Though I was always wary around Elena, I never worried she would eat me. She always claimed that Canadians weren’t her type (whatever that means?). To be entirely honest though, it didn’t come as shocking news when we found out that she herself was eaten by a distant relative before she could even finish chapter 1. We chose to publish what little there was, in hopes that we would be able to make something off of it”.
I would give What’s On the MENu a definite 8 out of 10 for fascinating content and subject matter. I wish it could have been longer, but these things happen!