Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Story... a avm story

My Story...
Everybody has a story to tell. I suppose that is why blogs are so popular; it can be liberating to tell a tale. But what about food blogs? They might be about sharing recipes, from my table to yours, but they are also about the story behind the cook.

In this month’s issue of Natural Health there’s a story all about my life in the kitchen. Why would they ask me, a regular old food blogger to write a story for their magazine? Well, I have an unusual tale to tell and, in the interst of complete disclosure, here it is:

When I was 21 years old, just finishing up college, I suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Similar in nature to a stroke, it left me completely paralyzed on the right side of my body. The next few years were a blur, of doctors, of therapists, of rehabilitation, and of frustration.

So what does this have to do with food, or blogs for that matter? I am not going to say that a cake came in and sweetly solved all of my problems, but cooking did come in to solve some of my problems. While dealing with physical therapy and all the challenges it involved, I began to spend more and more time cooking. It was lovely to escape into the petty business of the kitchen: chopping, watching a pot boil, or tossing a salad. The kitchen grew to be my place, a warm nook for experimentation, and unlike therapy, there was no one to reprimand me for trying out that failed recipe.

I cooked, and I cooked. And then I cooked for other people, starting with family and friends, and later, clients in a small catering company that I started. I did this all the while rehabilitating. I never got back to where I once was, but I’ve learned to be fine with who I am, each step of the way.

When I started this blog, I was still wobbly like a custard, unsure of who this new me was. I would sit down to tell you all about the latest soup that was simmering on my stove, or my triumphs with a fiddlehead fern. Blogging was liberating for both the new cook and the new me. There is a certain anonymity to blogging, a faceless name behind the computer monitor, and I relished my little secret. No one could watch me fumble to peel a clove of garlic one-handed, they just hungrily saw the final product.

But as I continued to blog one-handed, there was an elephant in the room sitting right next to me. And that proverbial elephant was whispering in my ear that there was an entire other story that I needed to tell, a story of food, of loss, of work, and of joy. So, over the past year and a half, I’ve sat down each day to write that story. I know, I know, a memoir at less than 30 years of age; it doesn't seem quite possible to me either, but as I began the process, the words came, filling up page after page.

Well, one things leads to another, and a proposal leads to an agent and finally a publisher. I have written a food memoir, tentatively titled Cooking and Screaming. As for the manuscript, it is due in my editors hot little hands May 1!!! That's soon. The book will be published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) and is due out Spring '09. That seemed so far off when all of the paper work was signed and the contracts drawn up, but let me tell you, the days are simply flying by.

What does this have to do with the magazine article? I was approached a few months ago by the editors at Natural Health to write a story, based on the memoir, for an upcoming issue. (Now you might be saying to yourself, Natural Health? Did they even read my paen to Easter candy a few weeks ago? I don’t know, what can I say?) Fitting a life's story into 2,000 words, plus recipes, was certainly a task. I had to leave a few things out.

If you are curious to know more about my story, you'll just have to wait for the book, and in the meantime, pick up an issue of the magazine. The article also has recipes for a slow roasted chicken with a fennel-apple slaw, a springtime hash with poached eggs, and a chunky watermelon sorbet with coconut tuilles (for those of you who are just hungry!).

So, that's my story.

1 comment:

sarah said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed

reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.