Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stir by Jessica Fechtor

Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home
by Jessica Fechtor
nonfiction 2015

print
finished 6/9/17

I've read two perfect books so far this year, and Stir is one of them. (Stay tuned- I hope to write about the other one soon) 

When she was in her late twenties, Jessica Fechtor suffered a brain aneurysm.This is the story of a very lucky young woman who made it through what could have killed her. She intersperses her medical story with people and food from her past, and from her time of healing. We learn of the beginnings of her great love story with her now husband, Eli. We meet her family and friends. The author has a wonderful wry sense of humor that made me smile even as she went through some very difficult medical situations. We know she lives, and we know she is alright which makes the book really a joy to read. 

And that's pretty much all I want to say about the book. I don't want to spoil a minute of a future reader's pleasure in reading Stir. It is, of course, a foodie's delight. It is also an excellently written book by a most interesting, kindly, and witty person. I so enjoyed being in her company as I read along. 

It has been ages since I shared a post with Weekend Cooking, 


so here is a dish a friend made for Jessica when she was recuperating. We really enjoyed it, and will make it again.


There isn't a recipe in the book, just a mention of a dish her friend Julia made.
One of those things was farro, a tender Italian grain that feels nice to bite into. I'd heard of it, but never tried it until that night at our friends' table. Julia had cooked up a pot and mixed it with peas.
I have cooked farro before but only in a stew. This time I cooked it until softened. In the meantime I sautéed some onions, and cooked some peas. When the farro was done I stirred in the vegetables, making a delicious, simple, and filling meal. I have rarely cooked with peas, other than cooked fresh from the garden with butter. I used frozen peas in this dish, and really the taste was quite exquisite. They mixed well with the onions and farro. If you've not heard of farro, it is a grain-lovers treat. Here is a page offering high praise for the humble grain.

21 comments:

  1. This is a lovely post, Nan, and the book sounds very good and inspiring. The farro and peas looks good too. I have not tried farro yet.

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    1. It is quite delicious, but I am a grain girl who likes most of them. ;<) Stir is a wonderful book.

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  2. And I was going to say what lovely flowers in the picture at the top, but did not know what they were. Lupines, now I know. (I checked the comments in the previous post.)

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    1. This is definitely lupine season around here. It took us years to grow them. We tried buying plants and planting seeds, and nothing really took. Then some friends gave us clumps of their lupines and they took off!

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  3. Frozen peas do complement grain dishes deliciously. Your combination is very appetizing!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  4. I've written Stir down, my favorite food memoirs! I've never cooked farro before, it looks a little like barley, which I love. Will try this.

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    1. This is a lovely book which I am quite sure you will enjoy. It is a bit different in taste than barley. Sweeter, maybe?

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  5. I too loved Stir. So glad you did too. I love farro and had forgotten about this dish. Peas are at the farmers' market, I must make this dish this week.

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    1. It wasn't even a recipe that was written out in the book. I looked for it for ages!

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  6. Nan! This book sounds perfect to me too! Have you ever read the book by Pat Conroy? HA! I just looked it up because I couldn't remember the title and it is "The Pat Conroy Recipe Book"! YOU have to laugh!
    It is a GREAT book, lots of recipes but lots of his memories too. Must have mentioned this to you before but my mind is a sieve so....
    Wonder what the other perfect book could be?

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    1. I don't think you have mentioned the PC book before. My other perfect book is fiction, set in England, written by a Brit. Surprise, surprise, right?!

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  7. Great choice of a representative meal. I like that book very much, I couldn't put it down.

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  8. I love foodie books and this one sounds right up my alley. I might see about getting it on audio and in print from the library (for the recipes).

    I've never tried farro, but I love rice with peas mixed in, so I may have to give this a try.

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    1. She is such a good writer with a wonderful spirit.

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  9. I hadn't heard of this book yet - it sounds wonderful! I love memoirs and I love food, so it's right up my alley :)

    The food pic looks yummy - I haven't tried cooking with farro before.

    Sue

    2017 Big Book Summer Challenge

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    1. It's very easy to cook, and tastes delish!

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  10. Both the book and the meal sound like something I'd love; thank you for sharing it!

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  11. Great post. The book sounds interesting and the recipe looks delicious

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  12. Oh, am so into cooking stories right now. Sounds great! Susan here of the Sun pours down like honey blog that is on hiatus.

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