Sustenance

Sustenance

1 a: means of support, maintenance, or subsistence : living b: food, provisions; also : nourishment
2 a: the act of sustaining : the state of being sustained b: a supplying or being supplied with the necessaries of life
3: something that gives support, endurance, or strength
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I am a poet and essayist and have been working on a memoir about food and my father, who died sixteen years ago, for almost four years, plus or minus two pregnancies and small children. It’s been slow-going to say the least.

I’ve been writing about him in a general way for much longer than that, but I’ve come to a point in this process where I feel like I need someone or something to hold my feet to the fire. So that’s what this is–a semi-public commitment to myself and the project, and also to my father’s spirit, my memories of him and of our relationship, and finally to my desire to continue him in a real way for me and for my kids.

This is a food story and a relationship story. My father was an avowed foodie, a man who loved, as I once wrote about him in a poem, “all things edible, random & odd.” I am my father’s daughter in many ways, but it’s my similar love of food (and cooking) that most firmly connects me to him. At least that is my working theory.

My plan is to do a lot of picking through: picking through my memories for shards and pieces of a man I in many ways never knew; picking through my cookbooks for recipes to test and imagine sharing with him; picking through the produce stalls for flesh that is firm but which gives just enough to say “ripe.”

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it. To learning how I can create and offer a tender and hearty sustenance in words.

Please join me for a bite at table.

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