The Same 24 Hours

Janet Reich Elsbach: Extra Helping

February 2, 2020

JANET REICH ELSBACH lives in a rural community in Western Massachusetts.

She teaches writing to high school students and to adults with developmental disabilities and, for over ten years, was a counselor to new and growing families. She writes about how all the numerous things going on in the average life collide with making dinner on her blog A Raisin & a Porpoise. Janet is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in Anthropology and a focus on writing and holds a Masters in Education from New York University. She has chased strange ingredients, healing nutrition, and good food all her life and is a regular contributor to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Her writing has appeared on Food52, Modern Loss, Manifest Station, Role/Reboot, and Verily Magazine.

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Reviews about the Book

Extra Helping is a generous, nourishing, and luminous work.  More than a cookbook, it’s a reminder of the role food can play in connecting and healing us—especially  during difficult days. It is a timely and hopeful work, crafted with boundless heart and love.”—Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps

Extra Helping is the definitive guide for those of us who express love through the gift of food. Liberally dredged in Janet’s warm, witty prose, you’ll want to devour both the writing and recipes like buckwheat-studded chocolate bark, richly spiced tofu chorizo, and chocolate pudding so silky it will make you weep with joy. These dishes travel easily to loved ones in need of TLC, but also risk becoming part of your everyday repertoire.”—Alanna Taylor-Tobin, author of Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours
“Whether life is in joyful disarray or has been upended by sorrow, Extra Helping is the cookbook you need. A master class in the art of nurture, the gift of this volume is that simply leafing through its pages leaves the reader feeling soothed, calmed, and ready to offer support to friends, family, and community. If food is your preferred expression of love, you will feel instantly at home within these pages.”—Marisa McClellan, author of Naturally Sweet Food in Jars
“Finally, a book that gives us the courage to make a difference and the tools to get there. Now we can help our friends through the roughest year or even the roughest Thursday, whether it’s with congee, carnitas, ginger custard, or the greatest chocolate pudding I’ve ever tasted. Extra Helping will make you a better cook, a better friend, and a better human.”—Alana Chernila, author of Eating from the Ground Up
“There’s a ton of wisdom in this book. Truthfully, it’s not so much a cookbook as it is a manual about how to nurture with recipes as the supporting actors. But those recipes happen to be quite alluring. I’ve been immersed in recipes for forty years, and this lineup really offers a new slant. It made me want to go straight to the kitchen and start cooking.”—Sara Moulton, host of Sara’s Weeknight Meals and author of Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101
“Just reading Extra Helping is healing, as it gently talks you through the sort of sustenance that will get you through a tough spell, as well as provide you with enough support to help someone you care about in a meaningful way. Everything is restoratively deliciousthe broths and soups are effortless and the hot drinks feel imperative. And in case you’re wondering, the cookies, meatballs, tiny pancakes, and teeny cakes all feel like exactly what I want to eat to feel well and good and happy, always.”—Maggie Battista, author of Food Gift Love

"A small, quirky, and insanely kind collection, Elsbach's first cookbook combines elements of Mollie Katzen’s The Moosewood Cookbook and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything oeuvres. With a unique tone and caring approach, Elsbach identifies eight different lifecycle occasions, from births to passings, that demand lovingly delivered food. Her audience is everyone who wants to help their friends and loved ones during such times, and she provides 70–plus recipes for doing just that."—Booklist, starred review 


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