We all have stories we tell about ourselves but at the same time, there are stories told about us. Other people’s interpretation of who we are as individuals, through provision of opportunities, judgment, gossip, or gaslighting, can have a significant impact on how we are accepted and included as we function throughout our everyday lives.
Memoirs can bring out the rich, and sometimes brutal, complexity of the intersecting stories within us as individuals and our place within our families and communities. Finding Freedom, by Erin French was one of those memoirs that gripped me into reading in one day. Granted that I was recovering from mild side effects, fever and all, from my second Covid vaccine so I had a whole day to lay low. But even so, I couldn’t stop reading about how Erin navigated her challenges, hitting rock bottom several times, all the while pursuing an authentic culinary life, until the last page of the book.
Cooking for other people, whether in your own family or not, is a genuine demonstration of love and care. Cooking requires practice and skill as well, but one does not have to be a trained chef. And once meals are set down, sharing and listening, also requiring practice and skill, is a form of cooking—done with love and care too.