Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Saturday October 10, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

It Was Me All Along: A Memoir


It Was Me All Along is not a cookbook. Save for the Sour Cream Fudge Cake recipe, it is instead Andie Mitchell’s heartfelt reflection on the challenge of overcoming and understanding her relationship with food. At times funny, at others deeply depressing, it is a beautiful narrative which shares the central issue food poses for many of us: a regret in consuming it that overpowers our inability to enjoy it.

Mitchell begins the food memoir by explaining her use of food as a young girl. Because she spent so much time as a child without others around, she allowed food to substitute human comfort, trying to suppress her overwhelming sadness. Throughout the book’s pages, she develops a portrait of food as a simultaneous friend and enemy, something she came back to obsessively to soothe her feelings of isolation while also striving to avoid it the best she could.

This is a book for those who know the feelings of crushing defeat in failing to lose weight, or even those of us who have always maintained a healthy relationship with food in our lives. In forging a balanced connection with food, Andie learned where it belongs, defeating her food addiction and regaining her life.

Everyone has a history with food. Though we may not share Andy’s story and journey in bringing food to its rightful place, we can benefit from her prose by realizing that food does not have to be something to fear; it is something that brings us joy and happiness in the preparation for and sharing with others, but only if we allow it to be.

“Maybe the difference between a standard meal and a great meal has as much to do with its taste as it does my perception … And that was the difference in me. The change I’d undergone -- from someone who ate to capacity to distract her mind; into someone who purposely tasted every morsel -- was not unconscious … There was a meaningful nature to eating. It was celebrated; it was an activity done three times per day. No more. No less.”