Despite its shameless ripping off of a noted novel to get its title, this book, subtitled “A Memoir with Recipes,” is in fact a tender look at the effects of heart disease on a relationship.
Written by Cecily Ross, a senior editor for The Globe and Mail, it tells the story of her relationship with her second husband Basil. It is primarily a story about brokenness and healing. This brokenness was not simply the matter of Basil’s heart condition, but of how in dealing with this heart condition both Cecily and Basil are forced to look at some of the brokenness that exists in other parts of their lives.
What makes the story particularly interesting is the way in which Ms. Ross has woven in the recipes, no more than 2 or 3 at a time, at the end of each chapter. Each of the recipes in someway connects back to the episode that is being dealt with in the preceding chapter, whether it be a matter of medical interest or of family matters and relationships.
In reading it I get the sense that because of the fact that they have to be careful with Basil’s diet, although they refuse to succumb to the insistence on blandness as the only sure defense against further heart problems, the meals they share and the dishes they have created are somewhat more closely tied together.
On the whole, this book is a good read for a cold, blustery day when one doesn’t wish to venture outdoors. It gives time and space for us to think about the way we relate to food, and how food affects the way in which we relate to each other.