A refreshing take on growing up and coming to terms with the joys and travails of family, career and navigating the kitchen.
After moving from the East Coast to hypercompetitive Los Angeles, Morris felt stymied by her lack of success as a creative writer and her husband’s failure in the film industry. But on Christmas Day, after attempting a complex chocolate cake recipe, which failed spectacularly, the author concluded that hard work doesn’t always translate into success. More importantly, for the first time, she understood that failure is just another part of growing up. Following the cake disaster, Morris moved on from resenting the images in slick cooking magazines and began blogging about her own culinary exploits, comparing her creations with those in cooking magazines. What began as a “novelty hobby” became a source of pleasure. “I enjoy the whole process—from grocery shopping to eating the results, and even, on some days, in the repetitive nature of washing the dishes at the end of the night,” she writes. In addition to chronicling her culinary adventures, Morris also dissects her often bumpy family relationships. After submitting an essay about cooking with her elderly grandmother and having it rejected, Morris posted it on her blog; it eventually won “ ‘Best Culinary Essay’ in Saveur magazine’s food blog awards.” Throughout the book, Morris couples significant life events with recipes that recall memories of that time. When her parents divorced and her mother moved to Pittsburgh, Morris recalls her cooking chicken cordon bleu; upon returning home from a trip to Paris, the author craved miso ramen with a poached egg; and the first meal the author made sans recipe was rice and black beans in coconut milk with avocado.
Whether Morris is deconstructing her failed attempts at finding satisfying work, struggling with rocky family relationships or experiencing a culinary failure, she adroitly blends the ingredients of humor and self-reflection.