Liz Hauck and her dad had a plan to start a weekly cooking program in a residential home for teenaged boys in state care, which was run by the human services agency he co-directed. When her father died unexpectedly after a brief illness, Liz decided to attempt the cooking project without him. This is the story of what happened around the table over a period of weeks that became years.
... [a] beautiful, absorbing new memoir ... Hauck never sugarcoats the difficulties of the boys’ lives and the bare-bones institutional shabbiness of the House. Because she writes with such unvarnished clarity and pragmatism, sudden moments of tenderness burst open on the page ... Still, there’s no redemption in this story, no overcoming of adversity, and no feel-good happy ending ... But it does make another, far more powerful kind of sense.
... moving ... Hauck writes with deep compassion, not only for the boys but for her grieving, idealistic younger self ... She captures the humor and pathos of interactions with young men already wary of well-meaning adults, and shares glimpses of the ordinary conversations that took place around the table. Home Made is not a prescription for sweeping social change or a story of a white woman saving young men of color (or even herself). Rather, it is a tender, insightful, often funny account of what happens when people show up—and keep showing up—to cook and eat together
Her writing captures the personalities and voices of the young men so clearly as they request recipes, tease her for acting like a teacher, and live in the space between childhood and the adult world ... an affecting, thoughtful look at the lives of boys in transitional moments and a personal reflection on a father’s legacy.