cover image The Year of Miracles: Recipes About Love + Grief + Growing Things

The Year of Miracles: Recipes About Love + Grief + Growing Things

Ella Risbridger. Bloomsbury, $30 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5266-2263-1

In this sumptuous culinary equivalent to Ilene Beckerman’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, British journalist Risbridger (Midnight Chicken) chronicles a year marked by loss and shares the recipes that nurtured her along the way. “It’s true that in the presence of the dying, small miracles happen all the time. Practical miracles,” Risbridger muses, and it’s in this optimistic spirit that her story proceeds, documenting how, after losing her partner Jim to cancer in 2018, she healed herself through food and the steadfast support of her friends. Drifting through the months of her first year alone, she recalls the sticky toffee skillet Guinness brownie pudding that saw her through the doldrums of February as she reacclimated to her London home without Jim in it, while a recipe for chaat butter greens evokes the catharsis of cooking with friends over the phone. A spring Vietnamese-inspired coconut pow, meanwhile, conjures touching memories of “the April when Jim had died.” Even in recalling her grief, Risbridger’s narration is buoyed by humor (when making dippy eggs, her friend Jo archly observes, “The thing about death... is that it’s exactly as terrible as an egg is perfect”), and the book’s charming watercolor illustrations make it all the more worth savoring. Readers will find this a treat. (July)