About This Book

Food is an expression of love — both the romantic kind and the comforting kind between family and friends. With its savory, sweet, and sometimes spicy stories, this delightful collection will sprinkle in laughs, warm hearts of readers, and stir up memories that certain aromas and tastes always bring. Readers will relish the stories on how love and food together played a flavorful part in life. Some recipes included too!

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Five Ways to Celebrate the Connection Between Food and Love

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark.

Food and love are inextricably intertwined. We cook for those we love, make memories around the dinner table and feed the body and the soul. The 101 stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love celebrate the special connection between food and love. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time in the kitchen.

1. Your recipes are your legacy. A neat, organized recipe book is one of the things that connects Gina Lee Guilford to her husband’s first wife, Jennifer, who lost her battle with lung cancer at 39 years old. Now the stepmother to Jennifer’s three daughters, Gina carries on Jennifer’s legacy and cooks for the family and friends that Jennifer left behind. Gina says, "I will carry on the legacy and cook the foods that Jennifer cannot, because this is what we do. We carry on in the face of uncertainty, we put one foot in front of the other, even when it doesn’t feel possible and we plan dinner parties for the future because it gives us hope and happiness. And then we eat."

2. It’s not what you make, it’s the love it’s made with. The day after Harriet Cooper moved into her first apartment, her mother called to see if she needed her to bring over some prepared meals. While it was true that toast and cheese were mainstays, Harriet insisted she could fend for herself, and to prove it, she’d cook her parents a meal for their anniversary. On the big day, when Harriet tried to use the oven for the first time and found it broken, she burned the salmon main course in the toaster oven. As they pushed mushy peas and hard, dry rice around their plates, her mother graciously said, "It was a lovely thought and really, the food was ... surprisingly good for your first attempt" and it gave them a story for years to come.

3. Be open to life lessons from the kitchen. As a kid, Barbara Ann Burris resented the time her mother spent at the family deli. It took her away from time together, but when Barbara Ann would spend time working in the deli, she began to see more than just prepared foods. She learned what it looked like to fulfill a dream. She noticed how her mom smiled and straightened her posture when a customer complimented her work. Barbara Ann recognized her mom’s attention to detail and admirable work ethic. By the time she finished high school, she understood overhead costs and marketing, scheduling and payroll. "But more importantly," Barbara Ann says, "I learned about faith and determination, hard work, responsibility and most of all, about caring."

4. Pass a loving, food tradition down to the next generation. Teresa Anne Hayden’s family was going through a crisis. Her teenage daughter was pregnant, and the family was dealing with a wide variety of emotions around the situation. But in the meantime, Teresa Anne found a letter from her youngest son expressing sadness about his life, which of course broke her heart. As she thought about how to express her love for her son, she remembered a family tradition her family would observe when she was a kid: ice cream day. Teresa Anne surprised her son with quality time and an ice cream treat, and she watched his eyes light up and his demeanor change as he felt loved. Over time when her youngest son would notice she was down about something, he would tell her they needed some quality time and an ice cream day. Today, Teresa Anne observes this tradition with her granddaughter, a middle child, and lets her know that she, too, is loved.

5. Tap into your inner, creative gourmet. Patti Lawson’s electrician father was an unlikely chef, but when the family added satellite television and discovered the Food Network, Patti’s parents watched hours of cooking shows. After her mom unsuccessfully attempted to duplicate several meals, she gave up. But, that didn’t stop Patti’s dad, who was determined to duplicate a rib project from Bobby Flay. While he didn’t have the original recipe from Bobby Flay and he was using venison instead of beef, he found a recipe he claimed to be close. When Patti and her mom came home, they found all of the pots and pans on the counter, empty bottles of ketchup strewn about, sauce all over the place and Patti’s dad grinning from ear to ear in the middle of the kitchen. Despite the flavorful aroma, what he placed in front of them didn’t look fit for human consumption. "But something very unexpected happened when the bite hit our tongues," Patti recalls. "It was delicious!"

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