True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat
Edited by Caroline M. Grant, Lisa Catherine Harper
Published by Shambhala Publications, March 2013
This book is exactly what it says on the cover, a collection of poignant, amusing and captivating anecdotes about family foods, family meals, family recipes and everything that goes into the experience of learning to eat, enjoy or loathe family mealtimes.
Based on the popular blog Learning To Eat, this book is a collection of essays written by American authors from varying backgrounds, all of whom are united in their fascination with food, and each essay ends with a recipe. From the frustrations of trying to source fresh seafood, cooking for workmen, revisiting Southern soul food, running a food blog right through to finding out that your family is not as devoutly kosher as you might have believed, this is a treat to read.
Pregnancy diets, childhood nutrition and obsessions with certain types of food, growing food, preserving food, eating too much, too little or the wrong sorts of food - all have a mention at least and some have whole essays. The Cassoulet of the title gets a whole, wonderful and well-deserved essay, and is definitely my favourite piece of the whole book.
Sad families, happy families, hungry families, dysfunctional families - all eat, and all have stories to tell. Some families cook freestyle, others have collections of much-loved cookbooks, some love to cook, others hate it. The final part of the book, entitled Learning To Eat, is particularly illuminating - and reassuring- if you have a child who is a picky eater or just doesn't really enjoy eating food.
To sum up? Well worth a read.