Lots of reviews going on for this book, Stir - My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home, by Jessica Fechtor, and due to it being our current Cook the Books Club selection, I'm joining the crowd, and delighted to do so. It was a book I hadn't thought to really enjoy. As Fechtor herself says:
Surprisingly, to me anyway, it was a terrific read, due to the author's straightforward account, evocative writing, and her ability to keep a sense of perspective, objectivity and (gallows?) humor through a truly horrific time. All that and the fact that we know she does get better in the end."When I tell people that I am writing the story of a blocked and broken brain --- and oh, by the way, there will be recipes, too --- I get some strange looks. Food is not supposed to top the list of things you think about, apparently, when you're recovering from a near-fatal brain explosion."
As an example, she has come out of her second surgery, discovered her sense of smell is gone as well as her left eye, and wonders: "What was next?"
" But the fever was coming down, and soon it disappeared. The antibiotic was working. Someone came in to fit me with my helmet, which turned out to be a hockey helmet.... White plastic, with a thick elastic chin strap secured on either side to a black rubber loop by each ear. It came down over the part of my face that was missing and, by hiding the defect, made me look sort of normal. As normal as a woman in a hospital gown and a hockey helmet can look, anyway."
"'Just another few questions. What did you like to do before you got sick?'
'I liked to cook?' I squeaked.
'Well,' she said, 'maybe we can get some peanut butter up here and you can spread it on some bread. Would you like that?'"
Outstanding meals illustrate each chapter, as Jess makes connections with memories, family and friends through food and her cooking. It was interesting and informative to get more understanding of Jewish foods and holidays. So many recipes that I've saved and want to make; like those Sweet Potato Curry Latkes, her Cleveland Cassata Cake and Lemony Pasta with Morel Mushrooms and Peas, Amy's Potato Salad, Sarah's Cholent with Kugel, the Cornmeal Cherry Scones, and much more.
I usually have one egg, and Bob two.
Jessica headed up a list of comfort breakfast food to make when she got home from the hospital, with Crispy Rice and Eggs. Something very simple, but I thought it would be perfect to remember this book, especially since I had cooked up another batch of red rice (though Bob informed me this one wasn't red enough) and had some left. Just enough for her recipe, in fact.
So, besides the round-up at Cook the Books Club, hosted this time by my fellow Hawaiian blogger friend, Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, I will be sharing this at 2017 Foodies Read Challenge, with the Monthly Motif Reading Challenge, as well as for the Weekend Cooking event over at Beth Fish Reads. Please do visit, and participate as well if you'd like.