Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
Erin French grew up in the small town of Freedom, Maine, working at her father’s diner. Pressing down grilled cheeses, arranging fries and tartar sauce on clam plates, spooning mashed potatoes and gravy around her father’s famous ketchup-cloaked meat loaf were second nature.
Her father was a hard-driving, hot-tempered alcoholic whose approval she craved and never quite got. But she loved the work anyway: loved the long hours, the jostling camaraderie of the kitchen, the look on people’s faces as they dug into a morning plate of eggs with bacon crisped just so, or a ham and bean lunch special, or a slab of prime rib with green beans for a special occasion dinner.
She never left her hometown where, in a converted hydro-powered grist mill, she now owns and operates a world-famous restaurant and foodie “destination” called The Lost Kitchen.
Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story Remaking a Life from Scratch (2021) is both a follow-up and a prequel to French’s first book, the recipe-focused The Lost Kitchen (2017).
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.