NPR's Best Books of 2017 Best Books on Food of 2017, The Guardian Best Food-Focused Memoirs, Eater Top 10 Narrative Food & Drink Books, Booklist 20 Best Cookbooks, The Telegraph
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.
“Nunn’s sharp writing, studded with sarcastic aphorism, has a crisp textural bite…a heart-heartwarming safari of food, friendship, and simple joys…Food thus becomes a way of seeing, an invaluable ‘touchstone for understanding what real love is.’ Not just for Nunn, but for all those who read this insightful, unsparing and touching memoir.”
“[Nunn] has cooked all of these vibrant flavours into a memoir…I tasted it, bright on every page, and I finished hungry for more.”
"The Comfort Food Diaries is nothing less than a tour de force by Emily Nunn, our most hilarious and touching food writer. You'll laugh, you'll cry ... and you'll get hungry."
"Come for the poignant personal reflections, stay for the recipes for country ham biscuits and grandma’s lemon cake."
"Honest, brave, funny, and greedy...By the end you want to hug Nunn--and cook her dinner. A tribute to the redemptive power of food."
"An exploration of the power of comfort foods...[a] beautifully written narrative, rich in details, and filled with humor and poignancy."
“A delightful ride—with recipes.”
“Humorous and moving….A candid memoir of despair and triumph over depression. Nourishing, truthful reflections on family, friends, and love all wrapped up in the idea of food as sustenance for both the body and the soul.”
"Gorgeous and moving...With powerful prose and rich details, [Nunn's] memoir is simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking."
"Emily Nunn's The Comfort Food Diaries is a beautiful story of hunger, nurturing, and recovery. Written with candor and an often hilarious Southern Gothic edge, it is everything great food memoir should be: delicious, delightful, heart-rending, soul-filling, and ultimately, healing."
“Everything I hoped for: hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure. The recipes are perfectly placed, like musical interludes, and fun to read. The only thing better than reading this book would be having Emily Nunn in your kitchen, whipping up a generous batch of corn bread and pinto beans and making you laugh until you cry, or vice versa.”
“I devoured this funny, brave, unexpected, mouth-watering story of a road trip, from bitterness to sweet, by a woman who faced the wipeout of life as she knew it by cooking up some comfort. The act of preparing food, (and eating it!) as a way of addressing sorrow can be viewed as some kind of pathology, but to me, it’s one of the healthier ways a person can express love, and this marvelous memoir is a testament to just how that happens.”