I’m Tom Averill, author of the culinary novel Secrets of the Tsil Café, and a “foodie” in my kitchen and in my library.
When I was writing my book, I became aware of how important food is to our identities as people, and how food memories shape us. Cookbook writer Molly Katzen first learned the power of food at her childhood dinner table. Her father had served in World War II, and while he was overseas, his mother died. His favorite of all her dishes was tzimmes, a casserole dish of potatoes and onion and carrots often served at Rosh Hashanah. Each year, Molly’s mother tried to replicate her mother-in-law’s recipe, and each year she failed—until the time her father tasted the tzimmes and broke down sobbing; his mother had come back to life in that dish. Molly was 10 years old. Perhaps all of us miss a person, along with the dish that person traditionally brought to the holiday meal.