We dream about food, plan around food, fetishize food.
We have books about cooking food. We have books about growing food. We have books about nutrition, local sourcing, and becoming a celebrity chef. We have Michael Pollan earnestly giving us food rules.
But we have few books about the spiritual dimension of food that also have a sense of humor. We have few books exploring the way our relationship to—and neuroses around—food shape our relationships to money, sex, love, and the search for meaning. Famished treats of the Eucharistic overtones of food: food as an echo of our longing for transcendence and communion; food as a manifestation of our fears, our obsessive-compulsions, our quirks; food—ordinary, everyday food—as a sacrament, a mystery, and a source of unending delight.
In a series of loosely-related, loosely narrative essays, I tell my story—one of eight kids in a blue-collar family in which the overriding emotion was financial anxiety; twenty years of hard-core drinking; a move from Boston to L.A.; a marriage that bore fruit but didn’t last; the lawyering job I quit to embark on the perilous vocation of writing; my conversion to Catholicism; cancer; divorce; cross-country road trips; unrequited love. With food the connecting thread, I write of the discovery that the human condition is not a sickness to be healed but a paradox to be pondered, mystified by, patiently endured, and rejoiced over.
Through the essays runs the story of my love affair with food: foraged food, street food, my tendency to hoard food, dinner parties I’ve thrown, the shared meal as perhaps the highest form of human communion.
There are several COLOR PLATES of my apartment, garden, and tchotchkes.
Plus, folks, there are recipes!
INA’S GRILLED GRUYÈRE, RED CABBAGE AND APPLE SANDWICH
JEFF DIETRICH'S BREAD PUDDING WITH WHISKEY SAUCE
CHEWY CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD COOKIES
CHICKEN LEGS WITH KUMQUATS, GREEN OLIVES AND PRUNES
SLOW-ROASTED SHOULDER OF PORK
PASTA WITH GOAT CHEESE, RADICCHIO, KALE AND PINE NUTS
AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!
So come into my kitchen and pull up a chair.
BUY FAMISHED HERE!