From the Author
As I aged, cooking and eating remained an important part of my life and I often tell folks that I won my husband's heart through his stomach! Having homeschooled my children for eighteen years, I loved being a stay at mom and felt it was the most meaningful job I would ever be responsible for. Both of my boys received college scholarships and I found myself rejoicing with them and then wondering what I could possibly do that would be as meaningful.
Cooking and eating together has always been the best way I show my love for my family.
Determined to leave a legacy for my children and their future families, I began writing what is now YOU NEVER COOK ALONE. I didn't want my book to consist of recipes only, but instead of funny and heartwarming stories, tips and lessons.It is through our five senses that memories are stirred, souls are fed and legacies are built!
You Never Cook Alone inspires readers to use their kitchens to unlock the power to connect with their loved ones. Far more than a collection of recipes, You Never Cook Alone stirs funny and heart-warming stories from Elise's childhood and her own kitchen. The stories illustrate how you can feed your family emotionally and physically.
My book helps make your family eventful. The stories act as illustrations which stimulate memories and suggest ideas in which each family can make their meals eventful. Eventful meals do not always have to be elaborate, but it does mean intentional. This is so easy to incorporate into your daily lives because everyone eats!
Family meals isn't only about the food, but rather the relationships built aroused the table. YOU NEVER COOK ALONE serves as a recipe for success in creating emotionally and physically healthy families and friendships.
From the Inside Flap
Even during our quietest, most solitary moments, preparing a meal inevitably stirs up recollections of meals shared with loved ones from our past. It is these valuable memories--stimulated by our five senses--that feed our souls.
For me, the smell and taste of foods I once savored with my grandmother brings me right back to the comfort and sanctuary of her little basement kitchen. Recipes I used to enjoy with my own family transport me back to our early years, long before my boys became young men and left for college. The taste, sound, smell, texture and look of food constantly reminds me of those I love and the special moments and occasions that have made up our family's lives.
I originally wrote this book for my husband and children about five years ago. I wanted to ensure that my children not only had the recipes they grew up enjoying, but that they understood the importance of passing on a family legacy.
My childhood memories are filled with wonderful moments around the table, and no wonder. Our family table was the place where I felt most comfortable and most loved.
Due to a terrible speech impediment that reared its ugly head when I was four years old, I didn't speak with ease until I was about sixteen. As a child, stuttering made daily activities like answering the telephone, learning at school, and even saying "I love you" nearly impossible for me.
My parents were very supportive and sympathetic, and worked hard to pay for speech therapy and private schooling. My peers were mostly kind to me. Unfortunately, I still struggled with low self-esteem throughout my childhood. My impediment caused me colossal, almost unbearable anxiety each and every moment of my life - except in the kitchen and around the table.
During my childhood, our family lived in my grandmother's immaculately-kept three-tenement house in the city of Fall River, Massachusetts. My grandmother, who we called "Vavo," (which is Portuguese for grandmother) lived on the first floor. My father, mother, younger sister and I lived in one of the two apartments above my grandmother's home for many years.
Our family rarely went out to eat. My mother almost always prepared our meals, and saw to it that we gathered around the table each night for dinner. Around that table I mattered, I belonged, and I was loved. It was the one part of the day that I truly enjoyed. There was so much power in that hour!
I also cooked and ate frequently with my grandmother. It was she who would ultimately influence my love of cooking. Vavo spoke mostly Portuguese, and I hardly spoke at all. But we didn't need to talk-the special time we spent together in the kitchen formed the foundation of our relationship. After an arduous day of school, my grandmother's kitchen was a safe haven; a respite; a place where I was well-fed.
As a young woman I lived in my own little apartment, which was so close to the home I grew up in that a simple walk across the street kept Vavo and I doing what we loved together. It was while I lived in that apartment that I met my best friend and wonderful husband, Michael.
Feeding people has always been a central way for me to demonstrate how very much I care about and love them, and Michael caught on quickly. I guess you could say that I found my husband's heart through his stomach!
Two wonderful sons and many years later, our family still makes meals eventful. Time in the kitchen and around the table has supplied our family with more meaningful memories than I can share in one book.
Children who enjoy meals with their families learn how to communicate well and model loving behavior. They also get better grades, eat healthier, are more self-sufficient, build self-esteem and form a solid identity. When we feed our families, we don't just nourish their bodies. We nourish their hearts and souls as well.
I hope the stories within this book will make you laugh, cry and feel encouraged. Above all, I hope this book does more than help make your family meals eventful. I hope it helps you create priceless memories, fill your hearts and homes with untold joy, and connect past, present and future generations. I hope you never cook alone.