The first in her friendship group to have a baby, Kate Berry found herself facing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Her new book, Family Food & Feelings, was written for the scared new mum she once was, ‘To create a friend or an ‘I see you’ to others who might be struggling with the enormity of the feelings that being a mother brings,’ Kate explains. ‘It’s comforting to know there are others experiencing the same big feelings as you are.’
Written mostly over a few months (‘It was the classic, have a year to write and then write the whole book in the last three months’, she admits), Family, Food & Feelings charts the ebbs of flows of family life. The book is structured within the four school terms and is chock-a-block with totally achievable recipes that are seamlessly interwoven with musings on mum life. In term two, a recipe for a potato tortilla sits alongside a passage titled, ‘There’s no freaking bread,’ while Term four explores the pain and joy of parenting older kids by saying, ‘Teenagers are brutal, mean, loving and amazing’.
Kate doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. The process of writing this book prompted her to ‘check-in on how [she] could do things better’, and it’s her ability to cut through the performance of parenting and get to the real stuff that makes this book feel like a close companion. In a time where we are in complete sensory and information overload, Family, Food & Feelings is like sitting down for a cup of tea with your wisest friend who gets exactly what you’re going through.
‘One of the things I would really love people to take away from this book is that it’s so easy to get lost in being a parent, and when you come home with that fresh-smelling baby, that’s all you need to be’, she says. ‘But when your kid starts to grow, it’s okay for you to do the same. To reclaim the person you once were, and to share that with your kids. It’s important.’
Family, Food + Feelings by Kate Berry is published by Pan Macmillan and is available now from all good bookstores!