Emily Nunn had a bad year. She lost her job. The brother she was closest to committed suicide. Her fiance broke up with her, and as if that wasn't enough, he asked her to move out of their joint home, taking away the last of her comfort and her relationship with his daughter, which was her truest joy. She felt like she had nothing left, so she turned to her old frenemy, alcohol.
In a drunken blurt of emotional information, she shared her heartbreak on Facebook before going to sleep one night. Waking in the morning, she expected to find judgment and disappointment, but instead she discovered a host of friends and family who shared their own stories of heartache and who offered an open house and an open kitchen for Nunn to share. These were the seeds of the Comfort Food Tour.
Nunn started in California, staying with her brother Michael and sister-in-law Elaine, who insisted that she start out with outpatient therapy at the Betty Ford Clinic while staying at their desert house nearby. Elaine also insisted on a makeover, helping Nunn move further from her painful recent past and starting again with a freshness that she hadn't imagined but that mirrored all the beautiful fresh ingredients she had at hand living in California.
From there, she goes across the country on a journey of comfort food and self-actualization. Working through some of her old family issues, getting reacquainted with family and friends, and cooking with fresh local ingredients keeps her busy while she figures out what's next in her life. Emily Nunn's The Comfort Food Diaries has amazing recipes along with a level of personal honesty that draws you in to her story and reminds you of your own experiences with heartbreak, healing, and really good food.
The Comfort Food Diaries has made its way onto a host of best-of lists for 2017, and for good reason. It's inspirational, brutal, and personal, and it is a truly beautiful read. Start the book with your own comfort food at hand and then let your thoughts wander to some of Nunn's creations, from Angel Biscuits to Great-Grandmother's Mean Lemon Cake to Aunt Mariah's Pot Roast to Emily's Shrimp and Grits-Style Risotto. It's a journey of flavor and of personal growth, and it's so worth the trip!
Galleys for The Comfort Food Diaries were provided by Atria Books through NetGalley, with many thanks.