That’s What She Read

 “Sweet Survival: Tales of Cooking & Coping” by Laura Zinn Fromm

“Sweet Survival: Tales of Cooking & Coping” is kind of a memoir, and lots of a cookbook. This delightful hybrid collection of essays by New Jersey author Laura Zinn Fromm is simply delicious.

Fromm writes with honesty and warmth about families, relationships and food, with recipes, cooking tips and wisdom. Cooking, sharing and eating has helped Fromm cope with family trauma, job changes and aging. As such, she is generous both with her advice and her recipes. She advocates cooking to get out of a funk, and sharing a meal as a simple path to tranquility—at least for as long as it takes to consume the meal. There is something satisfying about nourishing your loved ones, carefully selecting each ingredient, slicing and dicing, sautéing and baking your way to happiness—or at least to dinner. Cooking can be a way to make sense of a crazy world, to return to comfort and peace. Stirring can be a meditative exercise, a way to stop thinking and concentrate simply on movement. Re-creating a favorite recipe handed down by a long-departed loved one is a way to honor their memory. Grandma Becky’s Apple Cake is still ugly, still scrumptious. Through it the memory of Grandma Becky—and all the memories her cooking provided—live on.

The only problem I had with this book is how hungry I got when I read it. Fortunately, as it is packed full of easy-to-follow recipes and sound cooking advice, I felt free to use my hunger to fuel some culinary adventures. I can assure you that Grandma Becky’s apple cake is delicious (and not as ugly as advertised).

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