From Scratch by Tembi Locke | Summary and Review

In a world brimming with memoirs, some stories transcend mere pages, leaving indelible imprints on our souls. 

“From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” by Tembi Locke is one such narrative, unraveling a profound tale of love that defies cultural boundaries, a journey through the labyrinth of grief, and the therapeutic embrace of culinary traditions. 

From Scratch by Tembi Locke | Summary and Review

In this comprehensive review, we’ll explore the depths of Locke’s heart-wrenching yet inspiring memoir, analyzing its narrative essence, critical reception, and the resonance it has found amongst its readers.

Prepare to be whisked away to the sun-kissed landscapes of Sicily and into the heart of a love story that echoes the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of human relationships.

“From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” Summary

“From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” is not just a memoir; it’s a vibrant tapestry of love, culture, grief, and resilience. 

The narrative unfolds as actress Tembi Locke tells her poignant love story with Saro, a Sicilian chef. Set against the evocative backdrop of Sicily, this memoir beautifully captures their intense love, from its blossoming during Tembi’s study abroad stint in Italy to the challenges they faced, namely familial opposition due to cultural differences.

The couple’s love story is like a rich Sicilian dish – infused with passion, unexpected twists, and deep emotions. 

Despite the odds, they get married and build a life together in the U.S., with Sicily holding a special place in their hearts. Tragically, their shared life is cut short when Saro succumbs to cancer. 

The narrative takes a mournful turn as Tembi grapples with grief, returning to Sicily to reconnect with Saro’s family and find solace. 

Intertwined with this profound journey are – delectable Sicilian recipes – symbolizing the blending of their lives and the healing power of food.

“From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” Review

“From Scratch” is a literary masterpiece that will deeply resonate with you. Locke’s prose is both evocative and elegant, weaving a narrative as flavorful and layered as a Sicilian feast. 

One of the standout features of this memoir is its vivid portrayal of Sicily. Through Locke’s words, readers can almost smell the aromatic herbs, taste the robust wines, and feel the warmth of the Sicilian sun.

Furthermore, the memoir strikes a chord in its honest portrayal of grief. Locke doesn’t hold back in expressing the depths of her pain, making the narrative raw and relatable. 

By intertwining her grief with the solace in cooking and reconnecting with Saro’s family, she subtly underscores the therapeutic power of traditions and familial bonds.

The inclusion of Sicilian recipes further adds depth to the narrative. Each dish, beyond its culinary delight, carries an emotional weight – representing various stages of Tembi and Saro’s relationship and her healing journey. 

It’s a unique blend of a love story and a cookbook – seamlessly combined.

Audience Reception

Since its release, “From Scratch” has received overwhelming praise from readers and critics alike. Book clubs have embraced it, finding ample discussion points in its rich narrative.

Many readers have lauded the memoir for its authenticity. Those who have experienced loss found solace in Tembi’s words, feeling seen and understood in their grieving process. 

Some have even shared personal stories of trying out the recipes, making the experience of reading “From Scratch” interactive and deeply personal.

Moreover, the cross-cultural romance between Tembi and Saro has been celebrated as it depicts love transcending boundaries. 

It offers a refreshing perspective on interracial and intercultural relationships, emphasizing understanding, acceptance, and mutual respect.

Several literary critics have highlighted Locke’s masterful storytelling. The memoir has been praised for its balanced pacing, the intertwining of love and grief, and its vibrant depiction of Sicilian culture. 

It has been featured in several top reading lists and is recommended for those who love memoirs that touch the heart while tantalizing the taste buds.

Tembi Locke’s Background

Tembi Locke, originally from Texas, stepped into the limelight through her acting roles in television and film. Yet, her most compelling narrative arises from her real-life romance and loss. 

Locke’s acting career, spanning over two decades, has seen her in various TV shows, allowing her to channel emotions from diverse life experiences. 

Her profession equipped her with an exceptional capacity to narrate personal stories with objectivity and profound sentiment.

The Power of Culinary Narratives

Culinary tales, often, are more than just about the taste. They evoke memories, revive lost moments, and in Locke’s narrative – provide a therapeutic refuge. 

From Scratch by Tembi Locke, A culinary experience.

In “From Scratch,” food symbolizes comfort, tradition, and the tangible essence of her memories with Saro. Similarly, in “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert discovers herself through the cuisines of Italy, spiritual practices in India, and the balance in Indonesia. 

These memoirs use food not just for sensory delight but also for a roadmap to self-discovery and healing.

Sicilian Culture and Traditions

Sicily, with its cobblestone streets, historic landmarks, and a heritage interwoven with Greek, Arab, and Norman influences, offers a rich cultural backdrop. Family lies at the heart of Sicilian culture, often extending beyond immediate relations and embodying entire communities. 

This profound sense of belonging is palpable throughout “From Scratch,” where Locke finds solace and acceptance despite being an outsider.

Themes and Symbolism

One of the standout symbols in “From Scratch” is Sicily itself, representing both the joy of love and the pain of loss for Locke. 

The intertwining of two cultures, American and Sicilian, echoes the challenges and triumphs of interracial relationships. Food and recipes symbolize memories, traditions, and the continuity of life amidst profound grief.

The Journey of Grief

Locke’s traversal through grief, beautifully encapsulated in her memoir, showcases stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

Unlike the linear representation in the Kübler-Ross model, Locke’s experience emphasizes that grief is cyclical, revisiting at unexpected moments. 

Sicily’s traditional mourning process that emphasizes communal support provides Locke with a framework to navigate her sorrow.

Audience Testimonials:

A common sentiment among readers is the memoir’s authentic portrayal of love, loss, and healing. 

One testimonial reads, “Locke’s journey resonated deeply, making me revisit my own experiences with grief.” Critics have lauded the book for its raw emotion, intercultural narrative, and the beautiful intertwining of food and memories.

The Role of Memoirs in Modern Literature:

In an era where personal narratives often get lost in the digital noise, “From Scratch” stands out as a beacon of genuine emotion. 

Locke’s memoir, while personal, captures universal emotions, making it a valuable addition to contemporary literature.

Her voice, coupled with the memoir’s rich cultural tapestry, offers insights into the shared human experience.

Netflix’s “From Scratch” Adaptation: A Journey from Page to Screen

The Netflix adaptation shines a spotlight on all the elements in the book, adding layers of cinematic visuals, stirring performances, and a score that touches the soul. 

Leading the cast is Zoe Saldaña, an actress whose prowess and depth bring out the myriad emotions Tembi experiences. Her portrayal is not merely an act; it’s a deep dive into the psyche of a woman torn by loss but propelled by hope and memory.

A unique aspect of the series is its co-creation spearheaded by sisters Attica and Tembi Locke.

Their collaboration embodies the essence of sisterhood, understanding, and shared history. Their perspectives, interwoven into the narrative, offer a dual lens of personal experience and creative interpretation. 

This synergy is evident in their interviews, where they discuss the nuances of adapting such a personal tale for the screen. 

For Tembi, this project was a journey back in time, reliving moments of joy and pain, while for Attica, it was about paying homage to her sister’s story, ensuring its authenticity and depth remained intact.

Beyond the personal narrative, “From Scratch” is also a celebration of cultures. 

Sicily, with its rich history, traditions, and culinary delights, becomes a central character in the story.

The series doesn’t just showcase the beauty of the landscapes; it delves into the heart of Sicilian traditions, the importance of family, and the culinary art that plays a pivotal role in Tembi’s healing process. 

The Netflix adaptation ensures viewers get a taste of this, metaphorically and visually. Every dish and every recipe has a story and a memory attached, making the culinary elements not just about food but about moments, memories, and ties that bind.

In essence, the “From Scratch” Netflix adaptation is not just a retelling of a memoir; it’s a beautifully crafted narrative that speaks to the heart. 

It underscores the idea that even in the face of profound grief, there’s a glimmer of hope, and sometimes, healing can come from the most unexpected sources, be it through family, food, or memories etched in time.


“From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” is more than just a book; it’s an experience. Tembi Locke has crafted a story that’s both personal and universal. 

It serves as a reminder of the impermanence of life, the enduring nature of love, and the healing power of food and family. Whether you’re in it for the love story, the culinary journey, or a deep dive into human emotions, this memoir is a feast for the soul.

If you have an appetite for similar heart-touching stories, don’t forget to check out our other fiction book reviews.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top