The award-winning author of Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life returns with a linked essay collection that explores her mother's fight with cancer and the role that cooking and food plays in health—both physical and emotional.
Achingly sad and incredibly beautiful, Karen Babine’s All the Wild Hungers is a welcoming invitation to dinner, family, and laughter, evoking a warm, full kitchen and good company ... Brief chapters read like poetry ... Every detail in All the Wild Hungers has meaning and weight or a connection to a memory, and Babine takes the scenic route to get there—speaking softly but with force on issues including money-hungry polluters, choosing to remain childless, and modern medicine. Snippets from intellectuals like Soren Kierkegaard and culinary touchstone Julia Childs are an entertaining addition. With emotion and details, colors, seasons, smells, traditions, history, love, and family are made to intertwine in All the Wild Hungers, whose pages impart pangs of sorrow and of hunger.
Life at its most priceless—not its dramatic, headline-making moments, but the quiet but potent joys of daily life, such as cooking new dishes in the family kitchen, doting on sweet nieces and nephews, and caring for an ailing parent—is the subject of Minnesota writer Karen Babine’s beautiful All the Wild Hungers ... Anyone who has experienced a family member’s struggle with cancer will be stabbed by recognition throughout this book ... There are some profound passages in this memoir ... Praise, sympathy and thanks to Babine, who has given us this ode, lament and meditation.
Written in 64 vignettes, readers may initially think the book will be an easy read. They would be wrong. The bursts of text allow Babine to take focused plunges into living with her mother’s cancer recovery, each time from a different poignant angle. Much like someone working through intense physical therapy to achieve a seemingly impossible task, Babine navigates muscles and nerves to craft moments into manageable bites layered with significance regarding the bones of the matter ... Nevertheless, Babine doesn’t hesitate to impress her hard truths amid nuance ... I recognize the anticipatory grief in Babine’s words and empathize with her desire to make meaning, stretch time, and cling to patterns, beliefs, and comfort derived from familial food culture. Ultimately, this devastatingly beautiful book asks readers to notice what we fail to consider daily and recognize what genuinely nourishes us [.]