Pete Mulvihill on The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage

Don’t forget: the book mentioned below is available at 20 percent off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learned to Eat

The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learned to Eat
Lisa Catherine Harper, Caroline M. Grant

Food and family are obviously inextricably linked, and much has been written on the value of family dinner, on the pickiness of children, and on rich culinary traditions. And as a father of 7-year-old boy-girl twins, I’m particularly attuned to the challenges of cooking quick and healthy meals, modeling healthy eating habits, and enjoying food to its fullest. With all that in mind, gentle readers, meet The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage—True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat.

This anthology offers 29 essays on food and family. Importantly, it is free of polemics and manifestos—this isn’t a bunch of self-serving foodies wallowing in their righteousness. Rather these essays range from sweet to salty, from memory to connection. Above all, they are deeply human.

Here’s a bit about a few of the essays, many of which come from Bay Area writers:

  • “It takes a village,” we say about raising kids. Noe Valley Farmer’s Market manager Elizabeth Crane found it takes a market—the farmer’s market. She credits the market, and especially one local peach farmer, for grounding her family in San Francisco.
  • Everyone goes into parenting with some ideas about how they are going to raise, discipline, educate, or feed their kids. Some of those ideas actually withstand the arrival of children! Mission District writer Gregory Dicum writes about how his food principles were challenged after becoming a dad.
  • Phyllis Grant was a pastry cook at fancy Manhattan restaurants before coming home to Berkeley to raise her kids and write about cooking with them on her blog, Dash and Bella. In her essay for Cassoulet, she writes about one of those awful, everyone’s sick kind of days, and how créme fraîche made it all a little better.

Like in any anthology, some pieces are better than others. But overall, there’s a lot of great writing and plenty of heart. A lovely gift for anyone you know who both has a family and eats.

Thanks for reading.