Lisa Catherine Harper and Caroline Grant, authors who write on the blog Learning To Eat, are passionate about the role of home cooked food in family life. How we make and share food is often what shapes many of our dearest memories. "The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage" gathers together pieces on food and family from a variety of writers. The writers come from varying backgrounds all across the country and around the world but what unites them, and indeed unites us all, is shared food.
The need to eat and the act of eating with others is, in a way, our most primal form of communication. It transcends language and cultural barriers and also defines our identity. The things we cook, whether they are old family favorites or new recipes we have adopted and adapted become part of us.
You'll read this book for the stories but each includes a recipe too, many of which are family legacies passed down to the writers by parents and grandparents. The recipes are sometimes a bit tongue in cheek such as a crepe recipe written for the finicky child. Much of the book is devoted to the core issue of feeding children and the endless worry of whether they are eating enough nutritious food. The book also pokes mild fun at the very thing it espouses, a closely-paid attention to food and food issues.
The title story is a sad one written by a long-term married couple discussing the possible end of their marriage. The cassoulet is an annual tradition, a reminder of their young love in Paris and their continued shared labor as parents. Food does more than provide sustenance, it grounds and guides us, it is our delicious constant.