I loved every essay in Lisa Catherine Harper and Caroline M. Grant's The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage. From junk food to soul food, from busy weeknight meals to holiday feasts, from feeding a vegan to the kosher pantry, each story will bring you to the kitchens, tables, and hearts of real American families.
I'm not sure I can adequately detail how meaningful some of the writing is, but the following should give you an idea of the goodness you'll find tucked within the pages:
- "There are doubtless measurable benefits to dinner-table conversation. It’s a natural check on overeating, for example. Even if you’re talking and eating at the same time, you simply can’t generate the same food-shoveling velocity that you could if you were eating silently. Plus, I’m sure it’s good for mental health, for social health, for learning how to become a good date — although, my god, I’ll miss them when there’s someone they’re dating besides us. Bust mostly the benefits are immeasurable. What dinner table conversation gives us is time to stop and appreciate how much we have, right now, even as we imagine, deliriously, that it could go on forever." Catherine Newman, Talk with Your Mouth Full
- "I cannot imagine making cassoulet alone any more than I can imagine life without you. Please don't let a great tradition die." Deborah Copaken Kogan and Paul Kogan, The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage
- My Mom stood frozen, a glass of Prosecco in on hand, a plate brimming with salmon, potatoes, and asparagus in the other. She gave me a look that expressed first suspicion, then delight and pride. "Melissa," she said, "this is the best gift ever." Better than the massage I bought her last Mother's Day? Or the bouquet of roses the year before? Or the computer I chipped in on for her sixtieth birthday? The cashmere sweater from Barney's? A simple gift of food was better than all that? I suppose it was. But I was given the gift that day - understanding in my heart that food is love, family and community - and finally being able to create a meal that confirmed all of this, and so much more." Melissa Clark, Rachael Ray Saved My Life
See what I mean? I've highlighted passages, bookmarked recipes, and re-read certain stories more than a few times because I was laughing so hard I feared I may have missed something. In essence, this book makes you feel, and that alone is worth the purchase price.
I have a copy of The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage to give away to one lucky Family Bites reader. To enter, leave a comment letting me know your favourite book about food. Contest ends Friday May 10th! PS - If you're reading this via email, please click though and leave a comment on the blog.