The Restaurant Critic’s Wife Meets Pasta

L, a great colleague, handed me the book The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan. L informed me that I had to toss my ridiculous rule out the window and read the book to the very end. Opening the book, I found a beautiful note card which read bring pasta (I had been tricked into a book club). I honored L’s request and finished the book; but it was a hard, annoying reading. This book is about an emotionally abusive husband named Sam, who makes his wife quit her job so he can further his career. He won’t let her have any friends. He freaks out if she talks to anyone (these are not spoiler alerts). Classic abuse scenario is that the abuser removes the victim from anyone who might serve as a support system. This pattern of behavior, which should be raising red flags, is explained away as being part of Sam’s “charisma”.

Lila, the main protagonist, seems to think it’s OK to let her husband destroy her social life and mental well-being, along with that of her children. I kept screaming, “LEAVE!” I finished the book and was happy to make pasta and to march into my friend’s book club with fliers on domestic violence, because abuse is never okay.

Signs of abuse by your intimate partner

  • Monitors what you’re doing all the time
  • Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
  • Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
  • Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
  • Gets very angry during and after drinking alcohol or using drugs
  •  Controls how you spend your money
  • Controls your use of needed medicines
  •  Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
  •  Humiliates you in front of others
  • Destroys your property or things you care about
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, or pets
  • Hurts you (by hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking or biting)
  •  Uses (or threatens to use) a weapon against you
  •  Forces you to have sex against your will
  • Controls your birth control or insists that you get pregnant
  • Blames you for his or her violent outbursts
  • Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
  •  Says things like, “If I can’t have you then no one can.”


Shrimp seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 sprig oregano, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper


  • ½ lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ lb. pasta
  • 2 green onions
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 1 half jalapeno
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup of wine (feel free drink the other half)
  • 2- 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes (you can also toss fresh tomatoes in a blender with two garlic cloves and half a jalapeño)

Rinse the shrimp under cool water, drain, and then pat dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine the herbs and spices for the blackening seasoning. Sprinkle the blackening seasoning over the shrimp and stir to coat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10 minutes). While the pasta is cooking, mince two garlic cloves and green onions, and add to a large skillet with the butter. Heat the butter and garlic over a medium flame until the butter starts to foam and sizzle. Add the mushrooms and shrimp and sauté until shrimp are opaque and slightly firm (3-5 minutes), then remove them from the skillet. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), juice from one lemon, and half cup of wine. Stir and cook over medium heat, dissolving the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet and toss with the sauce. Return the shrimp to the skillet and stir to combine. Sprinkle fresh thyme and oregano over top. Bon Appetite!


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4 Responses to The Restaurant Critic’s Wife Meets Pasta

    • kedawithani says:

      Lol… I like that you included the pasta recipe…☺ Domestic abuse is a perennial issue whose solution lies with the power of the victim to leave. I’ve been emotionally abused and it is no joke… there really is a mental war going on in your head about what’s real and what isn’t. I stuck around for three years trying to decipher fact from fiction… trying to take control of a situation and change my logiCal thinking mind to accept the bs treatment I was getting… hmph I feel a rant coming on so I will stop there… nice read…!

      Liked by 1 person

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