Sunday, December 6, 2020

Our December/January Selection: Eat Joy

I confess that this time of year it's often hard for me to focus on being able to relax and focus on my reading so I really love anthologies of essays or short stories--books that give me a taste (food pun intended) of a story or experience, without having to commit to spending a lot of time and effort on it. That's why I wanted to make Eat Joy: Stories & Comfort Food From 31 Celebrated Writers, Edited by Natalie Eve Garrett (2019) our pick for a busy December into January. Also, I was drawn by the comfort food in the title. If any year has had us deserving of comfort, 2020 has certainly been it!

From the Publisher:

This collection of intimate, illustrated essays by some of America’s most well-regarded literary writers explores how comfort food can help us cope with dark times—be it the loss of a parent, the loneliness of a move, or the pain of heartache.

Lev Grossman explains how he survived on “sweet, sour, spicy, salty, unabashedly gluey” General Tso’s tofu after his divorce. Carmen Maria Machado describes her growing pains as she learned to feed and care for herself during her twenties. Claire Messud tries to understand how her mother gave up dreams of being a lawyer to make “a dressed salad of tiny shrimp and avocado, followed by prune-stuffed pork tenderloin.” What makes each tale so moving is not only the deeply personal revelations from celebrated writers, but also the compassion and healing behind the story: the taste of hope.

There are recipes from the various authors or you can take inspiration from your own experiences and the dishes that brought/bring you comfort. I look forward to seeing what these essays inspire!

Deadline for contributing your post: Sunday, January 31, 2021.

You can leave a comment below with a link to your post and/or email me at

Remember that anyone can participate in Cook the Books: simply pick up a copy of the selection from your local bookstore or library, take inspiration from said reading, cook and post the inspired dish. 
We look forward to having you read and cook along with us in this selection period and beyond. New participants are always welcome. (Leave a comment here or check out our Guidelines page if you have any questions.
Happy reading, cooking & eating,


Debra Eliotseats said...

Deb, I like the other direction you gave here: to find your own comfort food and write about it. I've leafed through the book but need to give it a deep dive. Thanks for hosting!

Simona Carini said...

I started reading the book and am enjoying it a lot: there is a nice variety of stories from the moving to the hilarious. Thank you for choosing it for this edition of our club :)

Claudia said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one, and the idea that we'll be able to take a nibble here and there:) with some variety.

Milentry said...

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Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Reading "how comfort food can help us cope with dark times", these have been some of the darkest for so many so I think it is the perfect read. Thanks for the recommendation.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Thank you Debra, I hope you enjoy it!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Glad you are enjoying it, Simona! ;-)

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am all for nibbling and variety Claudia! ;-)

Deb in Hawaii said...

Thank you Karen, I hope you can join us!

Simona Carini said...

This is my contribution:

Thank you for your selection, Deb, it was perfect for the Holidays: enjoyable, relaxing :)

Amy said...

Thanks for posting - it wasn't my cup of tea, but I enjoy being pushed outside my comfort zone!

Here my post:

Deb in Hawaii said...

Thank you Simona and Amy! Two wonderful soups--my perfect comfort food!