Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad. Sometimes I feel like reading prose poetry masquerading as essays, and that's when I turn to this book.
Recipes for Sad Women is many things at once: a book of recipes, sure, but also a meditation on women's sadness, a guide to relationships, a kind of treatise on the connection between feelings and food, and the platonic ideal of a self-help book. Abad has the loveliest voice, and writes about the struggles of a relational life with gentleness and candor and humor that, when approached by a reader who herself might be feeling a bit blue, oozes both empathy and practicality.
I'm trying to get a jingle into your head. A furtive hammering of words that should sound cheerful. They don't always come out cheerful. Sometimes your sadness is contagious and I feel I can't make a joke. If I don't find a gag in the swarm of daily misery, I start sinking into the mud of boredom. And not until I develop a taste for boredom can I get out of it, toward another (culinary) adventure. If only I could, if only we could both eat something to emerge from this sorrow. Nothing. Nada. Pills weaken, bewilder, stupefy, befuddle. If only one were able to find that dish of happiness. We grew up in pitiful circumstances; we live in a sad, violent country. A horrendous and selfish place where people don't love each other. They want to kill each other. So, we need a morsel of joy.
Is it problematic that a man is writing about women's feelings? Of course. Does that make this book any less pleasurable? Not for me. He wraps you in his arms all book long, sees the world clearly, and tells you how to make everything okay with a simple recipe for a simple dish.