Reviews and Such Books

Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage

I recently posted my thoughts on A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg’s memoir with recipes. I enjoy these types of books. Whether they be memoirs, essays, or as in the case of my favourite food book The Supper of the Lamba work of theologyThe Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family & How We Learn to Eat, also falls into this category.

Cassoulet cover
Cover shot of The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage.

The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage

English Conversation About A wedding
English Conversation About A wedding

The book is divided into three parts, each of which corresponds to the subtitle.

Many of the entries in the first part deal with food and ethnicity. or food and culture. Neal Pollack’s chapter entitled Food Fight is one of the highlights. Food Fight deals with his experiences in having the internet critique his parenting skills. It is humourous and a cautionary tale all at once.
The second section deals with family. The titular cassoulet is featured in this section. What I found compelling in this story is how the tradition at it’s centre became a source of reflection and reconsideration for the authors.

I found the third section to be the one I appreciated most. Grant & Harper, the editors, met through Literary Mama, a site that subheads itself as “reading for the maternally inclined.” The third section is focused on getting kids to eat and instilling into them a love of good food. The editors also have a blog that is entitled Learning to Eat.

What I found particularly satisfying in this section is the emphasis on there being no one right way.The experiences of the writers were diverse and focused on what worked for their family. This, to a lesser sense is true of the book’s general tenor. This is a collection of stories that allows the reader to find points of connection with the writers, rather than prescribe one approach.

Bad and Plenty, Edward Lewine, encapsulates both the the good and the bad of our approaches to our children and how they ate. Told with genuine hilarity this tale around a school’s Holiday Party is at times both encouraging and horrifying. It’s reading a chapter like this that makes me think never having had children isn’t all that bad.

In general though, The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage offers an encouraging view of eating and eating together
Like A Homemade Life, The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage features recipes at the end of each chapter. The difference between the two books is that the recipes in Cassoulet are not always as intimately tied to the chapters of which they are a part. This time around I didn’t attempt to recreate any of the recipes.
This is a book I would certainly suggest you add to your culinary bookshelf. Or if you don’t have a culinary bookshelf, use this book to start one.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.