If I were to make a list of the things I know for sure, that food is love would be one of them.
I have known that since I was old enough to know anything. That the secret ingredient in the biscuits Aunt Monty stood in front of the counter and rolled out every day of her life was pure love. That the tender pot roast after church on Sunday was as sincere a sign of my mother’s affection as she was capable of making. That I have never felt as at home in the world as I did all those years ago, in the fellowship hall of Emory Methodist Church, eating Miss VanHook’s chicken and dumplings.
I come from working-class stock. We did not have money for vacations or new cars or even health insurance, but by God, we could have green beans seasoned right and biscuits fit for gods and jelly that came from the efforts of women who loved you sweating over a kettle in the heat of summer.
It was the way people who loved me but didn’t have a lot of tools to express that love, showed it.
I don’t believe I am alone in that. I have polled large groups of people, and always end up with the same results: If I were to ask you your favorite memories of people you loved who are now gone, most of the time, those memories involve food.
Because food is love. It is the product of love, and it’s how we show love, and it’s how we feel love.
So, I’m writing a book about that. It’s a cookbook, in the sense that it will have recipes, but it’s also a book of stories because the stories give meaning and context to the food. Think of it as a narrative cookbook, organized around 18 meals and 40 recipes.
This has no commercial potential. Rachael Ray will not have some dude from MS on her show to talk about sausage gravy and the way it felt when his family had driven 8 hours through the night to get to his grandparent’s house and the weary travelers were groggy and sleepy but a hot breakfast was waiting on them.
But because I have members who support my work, I don’t have to worry about that. So I’m gonna publish it myself, with the financial support and encouragement of my members.
Here’s the plan: Beginning Friday, July 1, members of the Membership Team will get an email with a link to download a PDF of a chapter of the book, and will then get a chapter in their inbox every Friday until Friday before Thanksgiving.
Then, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the finished book will be available for purchase on the major platforms (print and ebook) but everyone on the Membership Team in November will get a free print copy in the mail as my way of saying thanks for their support.
So, if you are not part of the Membership Team, you can buy my narrative cookbook Food Is Love on Black Friday. But Members will get Chapter One in their inbox on July the 1st.
You can learn more about how to be part of the Membership Team and support my work (and get a free copy of Food Is Love in the process) for as little as $5 a month here.