STIR, by Jessica Fechtor

2 Oct
FIVE of FIVE stars

FIVE of FIVE stars

What an incredible story. Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me a copy to review.

This book is part love story, part medical tragedy, and part cookbook, yet it belongs in none of these categories completely. Jessica moves seamlessly between having a brain aneurism, to meeting her husband years earlier, to a recipe to macaroons, to having brain surgery. The reader never has to sort out what time period we are in, or which part of the story is being told, and the recipes are added in a way that feels like they belong. I was doing this and thinking of that, so I went to the kitchen and this is what I made because this is how I was feeling…

The story is riveting. Jessica runs in the gym one day and is randomly felled by a brain aneurism. Not because of genetics, not because she was sick, it just happened to her and it could happen to any of us. She details the surgeries and complications she went through as well as the recoveries. She also goes back in time to tell us of meeting her husband and eventually falling in love, and their early years together. It is ALL interesting. Along the way there are very subtle life lessons passed on, though there is absolutely nothing overt and I don’t think she even means to give advice on life. But she learned a lot about life, herself, and her loved ones, and so the reader does too along with her.

The recipes range from simply salting a salmon fillet and baking it, to complicated desserts. There are family recipes, recipes that were shared by her favorite cooks, and recipes from other cookbooks. And because every recipe is there for a meaningful reason, the dishes sound warm, delicious, inviting, and make you want to rush to the kitchen immediately. I would say this book is 90% memoir and barely 10% a cookbook, yet the recipes she includes would be worth the price of the book alone. I may have read a free Netgalley copy, but I’ll be purchasing this book for my kitchen shelf.

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