In the tradition of Elizabeth Gilbert and Ruth Reichl, former New Yorker editor Emily Nunn chronicles her journey to heal old wounds and find comfort in the face of loss through travel, home-cooked food, and the company of friends and family.
One life-changing night, reeling from her beloved brother’s sudden death, a devastating breakup with her handsome engineer fiancé and eviction from the apartment they shared, Emily Nunn had lost all sense of family, home, and financial security. After a few glasses of wine, heartbroken and unmoored, Emily—an avid cook and professional food writer—poured her heart out on Facebook. The next morning she woke up with an awful hangover and a feeling she’d made a terrible mistake—only to discover she had more friends than she knew, many of whom invited her to come visit and cook with them while she put her life back together. Thus began the Comfort Food Tour.
Searching for a way forward, Emily travels the country, cooking and staying with relatives and friends. She also travels back to revisit scenes from her dysfunctional Southern upbringing, dominated by her dramatic, unpredictable mother and her silent, disengaged father. Her wonderfully idiosyncratic aunts and uncles and cousins come to life in these pages, all part of the rich Southern story in which past and present are indistinguishable, food is a source of connection and identity, and a good story is often preferred to a not-so-pleasant truth. But truth, pleasant or not, is what Emily Nunn craves, and with it comes an acceptance of the losses she has endured, and a sense of hope for the future.
In the salty snap of a single Virginia ham biscuit, in the sour tang of Grandmother’s Lemon Cake, Nunn experiences the healing power of comfort food—and offers up dozens of recipes for the wonderful meals that saved her life. With the biting humor of David Sedaris and the emotional honesty of Cheryl Strayed, Nunn delivers a moving account of her descent into darkness and her gradual, hard-won return to the living.
Emily Nunn is a freelance food writer and home-cooking evangelist living in North Carolina. She worked for almost a decade at The New Yorker, where she was an arts editor covering both theater and restaurants (she created Tables for Two, the magazine’s restaurant column) and as an award winning features reporter at the Chicago Tribune. Her writing about the arts has been featured in Vogue, Men’s Vogue, Elle, Details, Departures; her food writing has been featured in Food and Wine, Men’s Vogue, and the Chicago Tribune Magazine, among other publications. She is the author of The Comfort Food Diaries.