CSA member Caroline Grant, editor of the blog Literary Mama, local food lover, and Mother of two boys has been busy cooking up a new project we think you should know about – The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How we Learn to Eat.
The recently released book is an anthology of 28 essays, each with an accompanying original recipe. The concept for the book emerged 5 years ago at a San Francisco playground around a snack time playdate picnic. Co-editors Lisa Harper and Caroline, both writers, food lovers, and mothers of boys exactly the same age, laid out their snacks. The initial anxiety and sizing up of two foodie Moms laying out snacks in front of the other for the first time gave way to a conversation on how our dialogue on food should not be focused on rules and checklists, but on what food means in our lives, families, and histories.
In the first section of the book contributors explore how a particular dish or ingredient becomes meaningful or significant in shaping their lives. “Still Life on the Half Shell” is a story of a Bay Area writer who moved to Florida and found herself unmoored in provisioning her household. Accustomed to the bounty of bustling farmers markets, she was at a loss when she did not find a similar avenue for purchasing farm fresh foods. Her discovery of truck farmers on back roads and parking lots and the small unassuming shack of an oyster farm, is what helped her become rooted in her new home.
Tales of Family, the second section of the book, is focused on relationships forged, broken, and mended at the table. “The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage” essay was co-written by a husband and wife who chronicle their marriage’s ups and downs through the tradition they started of making a monthly cassoulet to remember their courtship in Paris. There was a time when they weren’t sure if their marriage would survive or if the cassoulet would be prepared. In this essay the work that is involved in making a cassoulet becomes a metaphor for the time and attention it takes to nurture a marriage.
The final section of the book delves into they myriad of ways and places that people learn to eat. We all learn to eat as babies, but also relearn to eat many times throughout our lives. Farmers Markets, restaurants, school cafeterias, and even playdate picnics can have profound effects on our relationships to food. The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage is a wonderful vehicle to explore and reflect on all the incarnations of meaning that food has in our lives, work, and family.
Thanks Caroline for sharing info on your book with us!
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