Saturday, March 27, 2010

Food for Thought

Here If You Need Me ***** Kate Braestrup is not just another housefrau, and her book, Here If You Need Me, is definitely not just another run of the mill memoir. The story begins when her husband, Drew, a 34 year old Maine State Trooper, is killed in an automobile accident while on patrol. Left a widow, with four young children, Kate is led to pursue her husband's dream of becoming a minister.

After she completes her studies, Kate seeks employment as a counsler with the State Police, which was Drew's goal, but there are no positions available, and she is ultimately employed by the Maine Game Warden Service.

Drawing on her skills, (she was already an accomplished writer), Ms. Braestrup chronicals her husband's death, her experiences as Chaplain to the Warden Service, and the trials of being a single parent. She does this with a very deft hand. She also explores the spirituality of death as it relates to her family and job situations, and the healing power of love. I truly admired the candor she displays in the telling of her amazing journey through difficult situations. Her honesty is at once refreshing and awe inspiring. How she manages to pack this all into a relatively short book is downright amazing.

Food vignettes in this book center around comfort food. Right after news of Drew's death reaches the community, a neighbor brings brownies to the family's doorstep. It's just the first of many such deliveries that will be made in the weeks and months following the accident.

The Warden Service also runs on food. The Wardens fish, trap hunt and then prepare their catch. They even do all of the cooking and serving at their annual dinner.
Kate's on call 24/7, and sometimes is on extended duty during search and rescue missions. She mentions endless cups of coffee and sandwiches eaten in the cabs of the Warden's trucks, and the stews and soups dipensed by the Salvation Army canteens set up on site.
Family meals get a nod too, and are woven into the tale of balancing a life where multitasking is the norm.

The book ends with the description of a search for an Alzheimer patient who has wandered into the woods. Volunteers who are too old to search the woods gather at the firehouse and cook for the professionals and volunteers combing the area.

I really admire Kate Braestrup and I'm totally taken by this book, but I feel obliged to issue a warning. If you're the least little bit squeamish about the mechanics of death, you may want to read this memoir with a bit of caution. It's not gorey, just candid and real...very, very real.
This post is being linked to Food For Thought. For more reviews, please pop over to the website by clicking the button at the top of the page.


  1. Thank you..Very well done..She is admirable~

  2. What a beautiful post! and your pictures are wow!
    Loved it.

  3. Loved your post, the book sounds interesting, putting it on my list of reads..
    hugs ~lynne~

  4. Beautiful post! This sounds like an inspiring book. I grew up in a small community, but even in the large city where I now live it is very common for food items to be delivered to someone when there is an illness or death in the family. Not only is food comforting, but the act of preparing a dish is comforting as well. Thanks for sharing this book.

  5. oh i love memoirs, they really let you walk in others shoes... this book sounds very touching. i am glad for the disclaimer, i think i would have a hard time with it...

    your pics are fantastic, i so love food for thought, i tend to get lost in it all, like a movie playing in my head between words and pics i am easily following the story step by step, or should i say bite by bite?!

    love that lasagna shot!

    thank you so much for playing, i LOVED your review.

  6. Perfect book review-I'm sure I would be in tears most of the time reading it. Such a brave lady! Also, perfect choice of comfort food-looks yummy.

  7. Nancy, I answered your email..did you get it..if not check your spam mail..
    Hope all is well..A blessed Easter to you!

  8. You've convinced me this book must be read. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. This sounds like a wonderful book, Nancy Jane. I enjoyed your post.


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