Kitchen Medicine, Summer Kitchen, and Porch Medicine

My book, Kitchen Medicine: How I Fed My Daughter out of Failure to Thrive, is nearly 2 months old now.

In these two months, I’ve learned a lot about publishing and selling books. I’ve learned how the kernel of intention I had when I set out to write Kitchen Medicine was true and right, and the clarity I have about that has been enough to keep me steady through the things I’ve learned about book marketing that mean selling it is going to be harder than I’d thought. How publishers market to bookstores (or don’t), what kinds of discounts they give to make it financially viable for bookstores to sell books, how the supply chain affects online ordering for some digital booksellers — all of this was a surprise to me. We’re always learning. Continue Reading…

twitterby feather
Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

This Is for the Connections

It happened: my book, Kitchen Medicine: How I Fed My Daughter out of Failure to Thrive came out on March 15, 2022. After all the years of this story being just pixels on a screen and memories in my heart, I held the hardcover copy in my hands and saw that it was real. It was a strange sensation; I thought I’d feel awe or joy or relief, but I didn’t. I felt a lot like I did after Sammi’s final cardiac surgery: wary. I had stood in the waiting room when the surgeon came in to tell us that Sammi was fine, that the surgery had gone perfectly, that her aorta was now clipped to her ribcage and would never, ever compress her esophagus again. My husband shook his hand, and so did I, and the surgeon moved on to his next case while my husband and I held each other. I felt him crying, but my eyes were dry.

They’d given us “good news” before, I’d thought. Let’s just see if this sticks.

All these years later, holding the book I’d written to tell the story, I felt a similar guardedness. I’d done all the things you’re supposed to do to publish a nonfiction book in a crowded marketplace: I’d written for progressively more prestigious magazines and newspapers, built a platform, engaged with other journalists and caregivers of children with eosinophilic esophagitis and congenital heart diseases on social media, got an agent, got a publishing deal, wrote and rewrote, and now, here it was, in my hands, the product of all of it. All I’d ever wanted was to share our story and get it in front of the people who needed it most. And now, the question remained:

Would anyone find it? Continue Reading…

twitterby feather
Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Something About Nine-Year-Olds

When I was nine and a member of Mrs. Chase’s fourth grade class, the Scholastic book catalogs came home from school with me several times a year. They sold everything from chapter books and sticker books to scented erasers and crossword puzzles, and I wanted ALL OF IT. I pored over them for hours, circling and starring items and eventually presenting my parents with my wish list, organized by catalog. Though they were not wealthy, you wouldn’t know it from the way they indulged my bottomless desire to own more books. Though they sometimes limited the stickers and Hello Kitty pencils, I usually got to order whatever I wanted from the book section. At age nine, they bought me a book called ALL ABOUT ME.

ALL ABOUT ME was a fill-in-the-blank book, full of questions to answer. “What is your favorite color?” “Who are your best friends?” I deliberated, chewing my pencil. The most memorable question, though, the one I answered definitively and without a moment’s hesitation was “What will you be when you grow up?”

Carefully, I printed the answer: “An author.” Continue Reading…

twitterby feather
Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

We’re All Picky Eaters

I am seeing a trend in many of the reviews I’ve begun to receive for my forthcoming book, Kitchen Medicine: How I Fed My Daughter out of Failure to Thrive. I’m not completely surprised by it — after all, I included this theme in some of the synopses I wrote both in my book proposal and in the promotional writing I provided for my publisher — but it has been fascinating to see how insidiously we have absorbed this concept. Mostly written by parents who are reading my book via Advanced Reader Copies (aka ARCs), I am seeing these two words come up again and again:

Picky Eater

Continue Reading…

twitterby feather
Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Back to Blueberries

I’m thinking a lot about blueberries these days.

I’m thinking about the ways that they have served as an emblem of my path to loving food — deeply, fully, and with gratitude — over the course of my daughter Sammi’s life. From the postpartum afternoon when my mother-in-law first came to my house with a bag of farmers market berries and showed me how they were more than the sour little fruits that ruined my muffins to the morning nine months later when I nibbled a blueberry in half and placed it tentatively in front of my 9 month old daughter, blueberries were a beacon I didn’t even recognized until I’d followed them out of the darkness and into the brightest, warmest sunshine.

Sometimes, that’s all it takes, right? Someone introduces us to something we never really considered before, and like in the corniest of cartoons, a door opens or a path becomes illuminated or a mysterious staircase appears and here we are, in a whole universe of things that were outside our peripheral vision the whole time. From blueberries, I was led to cooking greens. From cooking greens, I discovered the wide ranges of the brassica family from cabbage to broccoli (ok, I knew about broccoli before, but not how to really make it shine) to brussels sprouts. From brassicas, I moved on to the family of hard winter squashes, finding my way through all of them to learn that I loved kabocha but not delicata. Over the years I would come to embrace varieties of garlic and basil, oregano and heirloom tomato, purslane and foraged sage. From the dull vegetarian of frozen faux meats and pasta to the lover of frittata, stir-fry, and dozens of soups, I transformed myself as an eater and a cook.

All because of blueberries.

All because of Sammi, who took that first half-blueberry and pinched it between her fingers, watching the juice run over her thumb. Sammi, who stuffed it into her baby lips and smiled. Sammi, who would eat nothing else with enthusiasm for many years but would always, always eat blueberries. Sammi, whose blueberry addiction drove us to the farmers market week after week, unwittingly drew me forward into the world of food that comes right up out of the ground and into our lives without packaging or fanfare: audacious raspberries, plump and velvety peaches, dark plums with their tart skins and sweet juicy insides, blood-red cherries with pits I delight in spitting off my front porch. How did I live without them before? How grateful I am that I have them now!

Over the years of the strange medically-restricted diets Sammi had to follow, the blueberries led us safely past danger, along with all the other gifts they’d brought. Learning to cook with fruits and vegetables was only a matter of not interfering, it turns out, with what they naturally have to offer: texture, color, sweetness, acidity, musk, and flavor. By the time it was all over, I’d discovered that the same was true for children; my job was to try to guide along the aspects of their selves that came most naturally: light, darkness, sweetness, acidity, and flavor. Is it any wonder that I’m awed by both plants and children?

Imagine my delight when the publishers of my forthcoming book, Kitchen Medicine, sent me a series of options for the cover. First on their list was the one I chose. It could not be any other way.


If you want to stay updated on all things Kitchen Medicine, please sign up for my newsletter. Each time I share one, I’ll include a recipe. This month, in honor of this lovely new cover, I’ll share the blueberry muffin recipe I mention in the introduction to my book. It’s precious to me, and the best way to honor that is to share it. Stay tuned in the next week for that if you subscribe!

twitterby feather
Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather