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Eating Heaven Author's Notes

I set Eating Heaven in the gorgeous foodie-town of Portland, OR, because it's about a lonely food magazine writer named Eleanor—who has some big-time food "issues" of her own. Faced with her favorite uncle's terminal illness, Eleanor becomes his primary caretaker, feeding him all his favorite foods one last time. As she cooks and cleans and tends to Uncle Benny's increasing needs, she discovers long-buried secrets about her emotionally frayed family that tear her world apart. Through cooking, nurturing, and a delicious flirtation with a new chef in town, Eleanor comes to terms with eating and love, family and forgiveness, and becoming comfortable in her own skin.

Where did this story come from? When my stepmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, like Ellie, the only thing I really knew how to do for her was cook all her favorite foods… one last time. It was an amazing experience to share her last five months with her, and through her grace I learned a lot about both living and dying.

Click here to read "A Graceful Exit," an essay published about this experience in Mademoiselle magazine in 1997.


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