Saturday, September 5, 2015


by Jessica Fechtor
Rated PG

I had a craving for memoir, and I picked stir up by happenstance. By which I mean, it happened to catch my eye from a display at the library, so I checked it out. And ended up loving it so much I will probably buy it as well.

Fechtor weaves the story of an unlikely brain aneurysm that struck in her 20s with her love of cooking, and even more, of feeding those she loves. She writes gently, as though stirring something that mustn't be handled too much, as in, when entering her apartment after ages in the hospital, she writes, "I felt shy but welcome, as though I'd shown up late somewhere important to find that someone had saved me a seat." In this way she leads the reader through years where her memories of and experiences with food finally awaken in her the truth that she is still "she", still Jessica Fechtor. Deliciously, every chapter culminates with recipes for the foods most important to her.

I admit I'm not an accomplished cook, only a good enough cook. This is why Fechtor has so endeared herself to me by taking her time with the recipes she writes. She's in no hurry to lead you along to the finished product. Ingredients, methods, even sometimes utensils or receptacles are explained and even adored. For example, where most people would write "saute the onion", Fechtor writes, "...add the onion, and saute until it softens, goes translucent, and browns a little around the edges." When it comes time for you, the cook, to saute the onion in this recipe, there will be no doubt when you've done it right, will there?

And certainly, the book is sparkling clean. Not a drop of bad language or anything else to besmirch this beautiful memoir.

Get a glimpse of this author's writing style and recipes on her food blog at