Thursday, April 01, 2010
Spoon Fed, Kim Severson
At the suggestion, rather the model of, colleague Terri (who ran the International Foodservice & Restaurant Show), I've been working my way through some food-related memoirs. (But I put down Judith Jones’ Tenth Muse after the shellfish thing . Unreliable narrator, and all.)
Spoon Fed by New York Times food writer, Kim Severson is a memoir, yes, but instead of a chronological, “This is how I become me” book, it cleverly tropes around eight women that have shaped Severson as a writer, food lover, mother, professional and woman. The structure helped to make Spoon Fed a brisk read - I finished it over the first day of Passover.
When I look back at the lessons that I underlined (in pencil), there’s a recurring theme: to push through. Even when you doubt, even when you see no hope, even when you feel you simply can’t: push through. The book could have been called: Perseverance. Or even, Tenacity.
Here are some lessons learned:
“Giving someone a taste of something delicious at exactly the right moment is a fail-safe way to start a good relationship.”
“Know matter where you find yourself in life, no matter how badly you stumble, you can start over.”
“And over the years, [Alice Waters] has come to show me that an unwavering hand on the rudder, coupled with patience, can change things. No matter what anyone says.”
“At the end of the day, I’m a tough kid. Scared out of my mind but tenacious.”
Severson writes about, but doesn’t delve into: coming out (she’s gay, married and they have a small child) and past substance abuse. There’s no wallowing here, nor is this a book about becoming clean and sober, hardly. It’s about food. Our connection to food, her connection to food - how food is a connection to, well, everything.
I couldn’t help but think of many members of the food allergic community who may feel disconnected to food because of adverse or life-threatening reactions. As a food allergy coach, I encourage clients to read self-help books (if that's their interest). However, "self-help" titles aren’t always in the personal growth aisle. I believe many of you would enjoy Spoon Fed by Kim Severson: the stories about perseverance, about family, about food memories are universal, yes, even (if not especially) to us.