When we first meet our narrator, Layne Mosler, in Buenos Aires, she’s busy learning the tango. By any account, it’s a bold decision to move to Buenos Aires in order to practice tango. But Driving Hungry isn’t about tango. It’s about what happens when, tired and hungry, Mosler asks a taxi driver to take her to his favourite restaurant. From there, she begins her taxi adventures. Mosler then creates what becomes a popular blog about the food recommendations she receives from cabbies in Buenos Aires. These taxi adventures take her to New York City, and then Berlin. Mosler spends the book trying to find her life’s passion, and she goes after it tenaciously.
Driving Hungry: A Delicious Journey from Buenos Aires, to New York, to Berlin
Throughout the book, I admired the connections Mosler makes between what she learned about tango dancing and her subsequent taxi adventures. Through dancing she learns to give up control, and it’s that attitude that led to her alternative success as a food blogger and taxi driver. I also admired her single-minded focus on pursuing unusual occupations—tango dancing, driving a taxi—and her disinterest in justifying these interests. She only pursues them wholeheartedly. Finally, I truly appreciated that Mosler does not mention her age or the ‘ticking of her biological clock’. She doesn’t write about wanting a boyfriend or trying to find a husband. She has a lot of other things going on. Mosler wants to find a city that she belongs to, and this is the main passion that consumes her.
Despite not a great deal happening in this story, and Mosler’s disparate interests in going from tango to food writing, she writes a seamless story that is a compelling read. I was desperate to know what happens to her. And not because she is vulnerable and I hope she finds her way, but because she is strong and brave, and I want to know what she’ll do next.
I was not a follower of her popular blog, and still found this to be a very satisfying memoir by a writer who took us through her story of finding food in three cities. She did not overdo the descriptions of her meals. Instead, she gave just enough to let us know she was a discerning eater not searching for the most gourmet or organic meal, but the most authentic dish, with roots in the places the cuisine came from. Mosler is able to find her extremely niche passion, all by way of a trip to Buenos Aires to learn the tango.