Stir My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home


An exquisite memoir about how food connects us to ourselves, our lives, and each other.
 
At 28, Jessica Fechtor was happily immersed in graduate school and her young marriage, and thinking about starting a family. Then one day, she went for a run and an aneurysm burst in her brain. She nearly died. She lost her sense of smell, the sight in her left eye, and was forced to the sidelines of the life she loved.

Jessica’s journey to recovery began in the kitchen as soon as she was able to stand at the stovetop and stir. There, she drew strength from the restorative power of cooking and baking. Written with intelligence, humor, and warmth, Stir is a heartfelt examination of what it means to nourish and be nourished. 

Woven throughout the narrative are 27 recipes for dishes that comfort and delight. For readers of M.F.K.Fisher, Molly Wizenberg, and Tamar Adler, as well as Oliver Sacks, Jill Bolte Taylor, and Susannah Cahalan, Stir is sure to inspire, and send you straight to the kitchen.

JESSICA FECHTOR writes the popular food blog, Sweet Amandine. She is a PhD candidate in Jewish Literature at Harvard University, where she has received numerous awards for her research and teaching. She lives with her husband and daughters in San Francisco, and doesn’t believe in secret recipes.

“Pairing food with the nightmare of surviving a brain aneurysm shouldn’t work — but under Jessica Fechtor’s wise and wonderful narration, the pairing not only works, it shines.”
–Susannah Cahalan, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Brain on Fire
 
“Jessica Fechtor writes with remarkable lucidity, courage, and grace about the darkest and brightest moments a person can know. Stir will feed you, even after the last page is turned.”
–Molly Wizenberg, creator of Orangette and author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life
 
“Utterly captivating, engrossing, un-put-down-ably, terrifyingly magnificent. In a world filled with dross, Stir is breathtaking.”
–Elissa Altman, author of Poor Man’s Feast
 
“Written with the flare of a novelist and the precision of an academic, Stir is a brave, beautiful narrative of illness and recovery. But it is not only that. It is a meditation on food and the kitchen, what it means to cook, and how the choices we make at the table can define who we are – and who we want to be.”
–Molly Birnbaum, author of Season to Taste 
 
“Fechtor’s gentle lyricism cannot hide her fierce determination not only to survive, but to flourish.”
–Luisa Weiss, creator of The Wednesday Chef and author of My Berlin Kitchen
 
“Stir is a beautiful, sometimes sad, often heart-lifting story of putting back together what has fallen apart. It is a poignant reminder of how inexorably tied our hearts and minds are to our stomachs, and what a blessing that can be.”
–Tamar Adler, author of An Everlasting Meal