Heartwarming and cozy, like cocoa before a warm fire, this book explores the random thoughts and musings expressed by a group of actors, creatives, writers, directors and artists, (most of them with only a personal, and not professional, involvement with food) when asked to create an essay for this collection, bounded only by the twin concepts of food and feelings.
With such an abundance of creative license to work with, the essays that unfolded are truly remarkable – diverse, entertaining, soul-affirming and even disturbing, running the gamut from reminiscing about the good times experienced in the safety of grandma’s kitchen, to the horror of the newly experienced private-school meal, shrouded in bigotry, degradation and (perhaps only self-perceived) cowardice.
With incredibly talented and in many cases, well-known contributors, – including Ted Danson, Rosie Perez, Katie Holmes, Ruth Reichel, John Leguizamo and the books creator, Zosia Mamet. – each of these stories is steeped in candor, emotion, and the bittersweet realization that our individual relationship to food, fed and forged through experience and memory, is so imbued with emotive content that any attempts at disentanglement would be futile.
Although hard-pressed to choose favorites of this collection, the following do stand-out:
Ball Buster (Andrew Bevan ) – Hilarious, poignant, sassy and melancholic, this essay exposes the pain of a breakup, on Valentine’s Day, and while enjoying a delicious plate of spaghetti and (the now irreversibly trauma-linked) giant meatballs.
A warm holiday memory frozen in time (Mark D Sylvester) – A poignant essay from a gay man, unaccepted by his parents, who, sent through the “cure” as a child in the 70’s, has nonetheless treasured warm and comforting memories of his mothers honey pecan cookies – perhaps his only external sign that she may really have loved him, after all.
Poulet Yassa (Gabourey Sidibe) – A heartbreaking essay on an absent Senegalese father, unable to see or love his long-abandoned American daughter, despite her (only somewhat conscious and completely desperate) attempts to bridge the gap with native food.
A collection that is destined to warm as it inspires you, this is perfect reading for a day which needs both distraction and comfort, – a thoughtful reminder of the solace sought in meals and memories, and the power of food (when served in love) to heal and sustain.
A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
My stop today on the @randomthingstours #blogtour for #myfirstpopsicle @zosiamamet @iconbooks