My Kitchen Year
136 Recipes That Saved My LifeBook - 2015
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Job loss is stressful for anyone. When job loss happens at age 61 - 4 years before most people retire - it can be devastating: an entire career, working family, not to mention a salary – gone. When this happened to Ruth Reichl, the 61-year-old editor of the beloved magazine Gourmet which had been an institution in the industry until it closed its doors, she battled depression, anxiety and grief, and retreated from friends and family… to her kitchen.
Out of her year of grieving, however, comes an incredibly personal and beautiful cookbook. Reichl includes the recipes she developed in her year of recovery but also chronicles how her feelings led her to experimenting with different foods and palettes, giving each recipe a very intimate context to be savoured as much as the food itself. This is, in fact, a mood cookbook.
In fact the entire feel of the cookbook is one of comfort; the design trend in the publishing industry for heavy stock paper, matte-and-cloth covers and plentiful but not glossy pictures makes holding the book feel like holding a cozy blanket. And as Reichl works through her grief, the joy she feels in cooking starts trickling back into her seasonal descriptions: “Hot. Hawks dance in the air. Grass prickles. Warm peanut butter and jam on thick white bread. Summertime picnic. Feel about five.” Then, as her cookbook nears completion, her anxiety creeps back but with an air of anticipation for what comes next: “Four a.m. Can’t sleep. Motorcycle screams up the highway. Strange birds chirp. One lonely siren. Hot fudge on vanilla ice cream. Better!”
Let’s face it, we aren’t all of us prepared to tackle spice-rubbed pork cooked in banana leaves, but a diva grilled cheese, or hot fudge? Now we’re talking. Because who can be anxious in the face of hot fudge?
Find My Kitchen Year at the Stratford Public Library (and if you’re lucky, under your Christmas tree).
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