Lessons From My Mother's Kitchen

Book - 2009
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War correspondent Matthew McAllester recounts his mother's life and the effects of her debilitating mental illness on his family. Their happiest moments were spent in the kitchen and his mother's collection of cookbooks provides Matt with a way deal to his grief as he cooks, eats, and remembers.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Dial Press, 2009
Characteristics: 214 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780385342186 (hardcover)


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Cdnbookworm Feb 11, 2013

This short memoir is written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist McAllester about his mother and his relationship with her. His early childhood was happy, full of delicious food, family togetherness and love. But when Matt was around the age of 10, his mother began to decline into mental illness and alcoholism. He felt that she was lost to him for two decades. Then, although her health was still bad, a connection was restored in the last few years before her sudden death.
Despite his experience as a war correspondent, Matt was stricken by her death, and used his journalistic skills to delve into her life, both the happy years and the illness that stole her from him. Part of him wanted to know whether things could have been different, but he also wanted to know more about her as a person and hold onto the happy memories.
By taking her cookbooks, he finds a connection that allows him to honour her memory and move forward with his own life.
An open and touching look at mental illness and the effect it has on those who love someone with it.


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