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The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat
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The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat

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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Without mantras or manifestos, 29 writers serve up sharp, sweet, and candid memories; salty irreverence; and delicious original recipes. Food is so much more than what we eat. The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage is an anthology of original essays about how we learn (and relearn) to eat, and how pivotal food is beyond the table.

With essays from:

•Keith Blanchard
•Max Brooks
...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Roost Books
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Community Reviews

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MyGoodBookshelf
“This is what food means in our families. What does it mean in yours?” 4.5 Stars

**I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley.**

I am a person who loves food- every aspect of it. Choosing a recipe, the sometimes laborious preparation and of course best of all, the eating! Whilst it is a given that within my family, like most other families, we have our own special recipes and food ‘traditions,’ I must confess that I’ve never really considered before just how important food can actually be...more
Matt
Both of the editors have worked on projects involving motherhood, so I suppose they couldn't help adding a few "my child won't eat anything that isn't white" hysteria pieces in the latter 3rd Learning to Eat section of the book. Other than those, most of the pieces are enjoyable explorations of our emotional ties to preparing food and sharing food...indeed expressing our love for others through how and what we prepare for our dearest and even strangers. A lovely book, and a cassoulet is an intri...more
Lisa
The title sounded so promising but this was very uneven. Many of the essays were amateurish at best--a smattering of parent rants about food aversions, eating disorders, and so-so recipes added to the mix. I don't even want to discuss the cover . . .
Caroline M.
Mar 31, 2013 Caroline M. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Nothing like reading the finished, bound edition. Of course I am utterly biased, but these essays never fail to move me. They are funny, relevant, heartbreaking, honest, surprising, and true. Plus, each one comes with a delicious recipe.
Lisa
Mar 19, 2013 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
As editor, I am, of course, biased. That said, having read and re-read the stories in this collection, they continue to make me laugh, cry, and think again about why I care about food and feeding my family.
Oona
I wanted to love this book, and while the short chapters were ideal for my current reading reality, I was underwhelmed.
Cheryl
Have to read Karen's piece
Tamsen
I often eat alone, which takes a lot of the joy out of cooking. Spending an hour on cooking a dinner you'll be forced to eat as leftovers for the next week isn't exactly exciting. So I find ways to cook small meals - nothing complicated - no cassoulets here.

There is a woman in my office that I ask every day - what are you making for dinner tonight? It's usually nothing I could eat anyways (I'm a vegetarian) but I aways reply how good it sounds. It sounds so good to have a spouse cook you a meal,...more
Darren
This is a collection of essays brought together to portray how we learn (or relearn) to eat and the role and importance that food plays to our life and our relationships.

Contributions range from journalists and writers to academics and those at the sharp end in a commercial kitchen, providing a diverse range of opinions and insights (from a predominantly U.S. perspective) in a reasonably-short, bite-sized form, split into three main sections (food, family and learning to eat).

Reviewing such anth...more
Kristen Northrup
I wasn't sure until I finished this how I would rate it. Some essays were great and others were painful. Never painful by way of bad writing, per se. But a couple were really pompous and a few were just too raw for me. Some people associate food and family with miserable traumatic things and it's really none of my business, even if they're voluntarily sharing it. The title is sort of a spoiler, by the way. The full version is along the lines of The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage That One Time But...more
Auriel
I think I'm withholding a star simply because of how narrow of a perspective this collection delivers. There is an overabundance of stories from upper middle class families mostly living in major metropolises like New York City and San Francisco, which is fine, but I would've appreciated a greater range. Maybe if the tagline reflected this, I wouldn't feel the need to address this in my review. However, I thoroughly enjoyed most of the stories in this collection.
Niya B
Better than some collections on food writing, worse than others. The stories are heartfelt, but a bit inconsistent. The themes around family eating, feeding children, learning how to share memories and pass them on, how to express care and affection, or anxiety and a lack of confidence through food are interesting, but not always compelling. In addition, as with most cookbooks, some of the recipes are absolutely worth keeping - others not so much. It would've been nice to see a broader conversat...more
Cinnamongurl
I read it quickly, so it's obviously readable. But perhaps I read it so fast in the hopes that the next essay would be better. Some essays were great, others pedestrian. But overall, the book just made me sad about how fucked up about food North Americans are, generally. "Healthy food" was discussed in essay after essay, especially on getting children to eat it or on bragging about your own children eating it, but the only type of food deemed healthy in essay after essay was vegetables. The essa...more
Jessica
I'm sure the fact that I didn't care for this book is my own fault (due to boredom or frame of mind) but I didn't get very far into it. It reminded me a lot of "Man with a Pan," which I also didn't love. I'm just sick of anthologies of stories that give you a three-page glimpse into someone's life and then end with a recipe that I will never make. I kind of want more of these peoples' writing, but at the same time, I'm good. How many different ways can you talk about a parent of [Italian/Jewish/...more
Catherine
A kindle gift from Tracy for my vacation, this book of essays was great to pick up and put down as needed. I enjoyed most of the essays very much, but found some of the writers about children’s food issues to be a little tiresome and pretentious.
Tracy
I loved this collection of essays about food, eating and family. Lots of well known food writers and ones I had never heard of wrote personal accounts of their meals and basically, it's fantastic.
Alyce
I should have known better. While reading "Best Food Writing 2013", I discovered Aleksandra Crapanzano's touching and lovely Lobster Lessons, which was originally published in this book. So of course I had to read The Cassoulet..." Let's just say that it's no secret why none of the other stories in this book made it into BFW.

Tom Metz
A readable collection of sweet and sentimental memoirs of food. With recipes.
Literary Mama
Editors Caroline M. Grant and Lisa Catherine Harper believe that "eating is not a singular experience, nor has there ever been one right way to eat,” a philosophy espoused since 2008 on their blog, Learning to Eat. In Cassoulet, Grant and Harper host an impressive collection of seasoned writers, including Catherine Newman and Deborah Copaken Kogan, each with different food-related memories, struggles, and triumphs.

Read Literary Mama's full review here: http://www.literarymama.com/reviews/a...
Sheryl
uneven as any collection of essays would be, but I found myself laughing out loud and being blown away by a lot of these writers (particularly Catherine Newman and Phyllis Grant who led me to the book)
Nysa
I have to admit that I bought this book just for the the arancello recipe at first. Then I eagerly read all of the stories and really enjoyed the various authors' experiences with food and (sometimes creating their own) family traditions.

I attended a reading and laughed out loud at the select few stories that were read aloud by the people who wrote them and tasted the sweet creamsicle alcoholic beverage that I just bottled after 40 days of infusing organic orange peels and vanilla with Everclear...more
Keri
Loved this book of essays!
Deans
March 31, 2014
Walter Underwood
Family and food is a rich vein, but this book dives into families (and food) that I don't know. Each essay is followed by a recipe. That sounds cute, but it grounds the stories in real food. Stories and food — it is a rich intersection.

As a bonus, you can read this anywhere, any time. Each essay is short, just right for the commute, before bed, or, why not?, in the bathroom.

You'll want to spend more time with your family and your food every time you dip into this, and that is a good thing.
Joy Matteson
This selection of essays was a lot of fun to read, especially if you're a foodie. If you're not, you might become bewildered as to why so many parents in this book have their kids take tofu in their lunches and take them to the farmer's market every week. However, I am quite food-conscious, so this book appealed to me on many levels. The food descriptions are lovely, and it's obvious that the essayists were chosen with care. Recommended for foodies.
Jeannette
A mixed bag of short essays about food, most well written and interesting, and a few that I skimmed and quickly moved on from. The best read for me was the title essay, a couple writing letters to each other talking about better days in their relationship and even considered making the recipe that came along with the story, but at 8 pages long, I'll pass on the cassoulet no matter how satisfying.
Debeenz
This fascinating collection of essays from diverse authors takes a close look at how our food traditions shape us and how we relate to our families and communities. A good read and could be an interesting book for a book club as there are plenty of different aspects to consider and discuss.
Marjorie Elwood
This is the book that I was hoping for, with Female Nomad and Friends (but didn't get). The essays are thoughtful, topical, and well-written, and made me consider a variety of viewpoints about why we eat and how we eat.
Lisa
Enjoyed most of the essays, liked some of the recipes. Hint for editors get authors to put ingredients into weights or other internationally recognized quantity - tbsp and sticks of butter frustrate those of us not in the US.
Michaela
Meh. With the exception of the title essay, none of these essays was all that compelling. Farmers' markets, angst about what your kids eat, family arguments about food--not much novel or surprising here.
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Caroline Grant is the Editor-in-Chief of Literary Mama, Associate Director of the Sustainable Arts Foundation and co-editor, with Lisa Catherine Harper, of The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat (Roost Books, 2013). She also co-edited Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life, with Elrena Evans.

She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature...more
More about Caroline Grant...
Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life

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