Emily Nunn

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The Comfort Food Diaries

One life-changing night, reeling from her beloved brother’s suicide, a devastating breakup with her handsome engineer fiancé, and ejection from the apartment they shared, Emily Nunn had lost all sense of family, home, and financial security. After a few glasses of wine, heartbroken and unmoored, Emily decided to pour her heart out on Facebook. The next morning, she woke up with an awful hangover and a feeling she’d made a terrible mistake—only to discover she had more friends than she knew, many of whom invited her to come visit and cook with them as she put her life back together. Thus began the Comfort Food Tour.

Searching for a way forward, Emily travels the country, cooking and staying with family and friends. She also travels back home to revisit scenes from her dysfunctional Southern upbringing, dominated by her dramatic, unpredictable mother and her silent, disengaged father. Her wonderfully idiosyncratic relatives come alive in these pages, all part of the rich Southern story in which past and present are indistinguishable, food is a source of connection and identity, and a good story is often preferred to a not-so-pleasant truth. But truth, pleasant or not, is what Emily Nunn craves, and with it comes an acceptance of the losses she has endured, and a sense of hope for the future. In the salty snap of a single Virginia ham biscuit and the sour tang of Great-Grandmother’s Mean Lemon Cake, she experiences the healing power of comfort food—and offers up dozens of recipes for the wonderful dishes that saved her life. With biting humor and luminous prose, Nunn serves up a moving account of her descent into darkness and her hard-won return to the living.



Emily Nunn is a freelance writer and home cooking evangelist living in North Carolina. She worked for almost a decade at The New Yorker magazine, where she was an arts editor covering both theater and restaurants (she created "Tables for Two," the magazine's restaurant column). For seven years she was also an award winning features and food reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Her writing has been featured in Vogue, Elle, Men's Vogue, Details, Real Simple, Departures, Food and Wine, The New Yorker, Food52, and the Chicago Tribune Magazine, among other publications.