Author Charlotte Silver describes her childhood as rich with food, experiences, odd (and wonderful) people. She grew up in her mother's Cambridge, Mass., restaurant — Harvard Square's Upstairs at the Pudding — a rather glamorous upbringing complete with foie gras and other delights.
In her new memoir, Charlotte au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood, Silver vividly tells the story of her adventures in the famed establishment. Named after a dessert created by her mother, Silver describes Upstairs at the Pudding as a historic building nestled above the Hasty Pudding Club, one of the oldest social clubs for Harvard students.
Silver tells NPR's Rachel Martin that, as a child, she remembers Upstairs at the Pudding as a building "not of this era," and that the restaurant served as a "faculty clubhouse." "It was so much part of Harvard," she says. "You would often have famous professors and public intellectuals dining there, and it was also a place where celebrities came."
In Charlotte au Chocolat, Silver recalls some of the restaurant's extraordinary events such as Harvard's Man and Woman of the Year awards and Strawberry Nights, a celebration in February that brought out movie stars during "the dreariest time of the year in Cambridge."
"Everything would become terribly glamorous when Ella Fitzgerald and Harrison Ford showed up," Silver says. "But it also was a place that people in the community went to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or just to have a lunch."