cover image Breaking Bread: Essays from New England on Food, Hunger, and Family

Breaking Bread: Essays from New England on Food, Hunger, and Family

Edited by Deborah Joy Corey and Debra Spark. Beacon, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8070-1086-0

Novelists Corey (Settling Twice) and Spark (And Then Something Happened) gather more than 50 “food memories” in this hearty anthology. In “Kentucky Bread,” Roxana Robinson reflects on her Waspy upbringing and her family’s “culinary deficiency,” writing that “eating was always marginal, a digressive aside, an afterthought,” while in “Ode to the PB&J,” Kate Christensen reminisces about her favorite sandwich, describing it as “a classic three-ingredient dish of peerless perfection, an alchemy of texture and taste.” Peggy Grodinsky similarly offers a culinary paean in “Pancake Mornings,” praising the short stack as much for its flavor as the ritual of making them—whipping up a batch on weekend mornings, she writes, “steadies” her. It’s not all sweet: in “Learning to Eat,” Genevieve Morgan recalls the way her relationship with food shifted after kidney failure resulted in her losing her appetite, and “Last Supper” by Maureen Stanton chronicles her father’s final few months, the foods he enjoyed most, and the memories that remain after his death. Taken together, the pieces strike a nice emotional balance, and demonstrate, as Michele Levesque writes in “Connections,” that “in each bite we often feel a sense of nostalgia and memory that has the power to transport us to a different time and place.” These intimate reflections hit the spot. (May)