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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

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Food is more than what we eat. It reflects how we live in the world and connect with others. From junk food to soul food, from busy weeknight meals to holiday feasts, from the vegetarian table to the kosher pantry, these essays bring you into the kitchens (and shopping carts) of real American families. Without mantras or manifestos, twenty-nine writers serve up sweet memor ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Roost Books
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3.72  · 
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 ·  168 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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May 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
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 . . .
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (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.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (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.
“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
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: culinary, reviewed
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
May 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.

Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book, and while the short chapters were ideal for my current reading reality, I was underwhelmed.
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Have to read Karen's piece
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Julie Bestry
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't cook, but I do eat, and I enjoy reading about food from a cultural and social perspective. I liked the idea of this collection, but I hated the eponymous essay, which was depressing and made me feel like I'd gone to a party and wandered into someone's marriage counseling session instead of the kitchen.

This book is a mixed bag. Some of the essays were compelling; others were entertaining. A few were even heartbreaking. But I was expecting more heart and less whining. More culture-clash an
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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,
Kristen Northrup
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Kate W
Mar 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
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
May 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
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
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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:
Walter Underwood
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Frank Strona
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books I picked up to read while on the beach last summer. I liked the set up and it caught my eye with it's title. Was it the best written book? No. Was it a good solid storytelling for those of us who like to read about the realm of food in our world and how they affect remembering, living (... and dying), yes. While it won't take you long - this is the perfect book to read when you want to take one of those "cafe" moments. It you are smart - you will mark it up and make n ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
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.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
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.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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)
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Marjorie Elwood
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful collection of essays about food. All of them were interesting, insightful, and thought-provoking.
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
A series of essays based on food. Some were really good and thought provoking. But the last third I found rather tedious. Read judiciously.
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Caroline Grant is the Associate Director of the Sustainable Arts Foundation and co-editor of two books: The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat (Roost Books, 2013); and Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life (Rutgers University Press, 2008). She served on the editorial board of Literary Mama for ten years, the last five as Editor in ...more