New York Times writer Dixon (The Art of Losing, 2007, etc.) chronicles his labors with the different phases of new parenthood and his endeavors to keep his family fed.
With the arrival of a new baby, Gracie, the author realized that he had to modify his cooking habits and routines. “I must adapt, or we’ll do without,” he writes. “Soon I’ll have to learn to cook all over again.” Eventually, his defeat turned into tagliatelle with braised veal and gremolata pesto, short ribs with carrot-rosemary puree and chickpea minestra with fennel salad and chive oil. Though many of the recipes sprinkled throughout the text may seem daunting for some readers, the author also provides simpler recipes like salads and less-complicated pastas dishes. Dixon ably pulls readers into the kitchen with him, and conveys all the defeat, doubt, loneliness and trepidation that the author and his wife experienced as new parents. When bread and water seemed like the only option for the sleep-deprived father, Dixon rallied, creating delicious concoctions like ginger scallion rice with fried egg, spaghetti with anchovies, walnuts, mint and bread crumbs and black bean soup with bacon and cumin. The narrative also examines the challenges of preparing food under extreme circumstances, and Dixon proves to be a relentless, dedicated learner and doting father. An enjoyable journey through parenthood and then back to reality, though somewhat unreasonable in its culinary expectations, particularly for new parents.