At 28, Jessica Fechtor was enjoying life. Enrolled in graduate school and newly married with plans to start a family, she was living life happily until, while running on the tread mill, she collapsed from a brain aneurysm. Suffering a number of complications and numerous brain surgeries, Jessica survived but the trauma and months of hospitalisation left her both physically and mentally weak.
Recuperating at home, surrounded by her wonderfully supportive family and friends, she reflected on memories of joyous and loving moments spent cooking and baking. Her love of food had always been there, so when a friend suggested starting a food blog, Jessica readily accepted and so started her path back to reclaiming her life.
Jessica Fechtor writes in such a way that creates an instant connection with the reader; as if the two of us had just sat down for a coffee and chat. I immediately understood this food-soul connection and I think at some point in our lives we’ve all experienced it; smells and tastes that take us back to special moments. For me a simple bowl of pasta with freshly grated cheese or a piece of chocolate on freshly baked bread will bring back many of my most cherished childhood memories of summers spent with cousins sitting around the dinner table or camp fire, lying on the beach or in my grandmother’s kitchen and in all of them there is always food, a lot of giggling, happiness and an ever present feeling of contentment.
What makes Stir even more appealing is that Jessica Fechtor doesn’t sensationalise her story, make it fantastical or overly tragic. Her approach is simple, straightforward and honest. She’s not afraid to show her fear and vulnerability, and wears her humanity and emotions on her sleeve. As a wonderfully personal touch, interspersed between the chapters are Jessica’s own delicious recipes. So much like Stir, the recipes are straightforward and very ‘doable’, using simple, wholesome ingredients found readily in any pantry. Even if you have just a passing enjoyment of cooking or baking, these recipes will make you want to get into the kitchen and try them.
Stir is an intelligent, insightful, intimate and honest memoir. I fell in love with this book after just reading the prologue and first chapter and really can’t say enough good things about it except go out and get yourself a copy!
If you would like to learn more about the talented Jessica Fechtor and her love of food check out her blog http://www.sweetamandine.com/
Thank you to NetGalley and The Penguin Group (Avery) for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.