New book: The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat, edited by Lisa Catherine Harper ’88 and Caroline M. Grant (Roost Books)
The editors: The author of A Double Life: Discovering Motherhood, a memoir of pregnancy and early motherhood that won the River Teeth Prize for Literary Nonfiction, Harper has taught creative writing and literature in the San Francisco Bay Area. Grant is editor-in-chief of the website Literary Mama and the associate director of the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Five years ago, Harper and Grant started the blog Learning to Eat, where they write about how they feed their families and explore larger questions such as “Does family dinner, every night, really matter?” That blog sparked their anthology.
The book: This anthology of 28 original essays explores family food, how food reflects the dynamic of family life, and why food matters in our lives beyond the table. The contributors include food writers, parents, journalists, and chefs, who discuss what food means to their families. Among the contributors are Jeff Gordinier ’88 (who wrote “Why Won’t My Kids Eat Foie Gras?”); Paul Kogan ’88 (who co-wrote the title essay with his wife); Keith Blanchard ’88 (who wrote about his candy addiction); and Greg Dicum ’91 (who discussed wrestling with his own veganism while raising his child). Family meals are more than a means to fill our bellies, “they help create and define our relationships,” write the editors.
Opening lines: “The grilled fish he ate with his father in a rustic seaside restaurant. The vinaigrette they drizzled over their soup, or the oysters they ate together the first night in their new city. The chicken Milanese her brother taught her to cook after weight-loss surgery. The cassoulet that anchored and saved their marriage.
“Food is never simply about what you eat.”