After her mother’s death in 2010, Celine Marchbank started to clear out her mother’s house, sorting through everything she had left behind. As she stood staring at the boxes in her home, still in a state of shock, she began to discover her recipes, beautiful handwritten notes. Her mother Sue Miles, had been a head-chef for 40 years; described in her obituary in The Guardian as ‘the doyenne of the British restaurant revolution’ She was also one of the first female head chefs in Britain.
Celine felt an overpowering need to do something with these, for her mother and for herself. Celine decided to cook her mother’s recipes, to learn the things they hadn’t got round to and photograph the process. She wanted to feel the warmth of eating her mother’s food again, to feel the sense of being nurtured and cared for once more. The recipes were haunted with memories; the smells took her back to moments they shared like nothing else, and the more she continued the more she felt connected to her mother.
But this is not a cookbook. A Stranger in my Mother’s Kitchen is a book that shares a universal story of loss whilst also celebrating a food legacy. The book includes colour photographs, writings on grief, text contributions and a selection of 17 printed recipes as inserts in the book.
A Stranger in my Mother’s Kitchen follows on from Celine’s critically acclaimed first book Tulip, about the last year of her mother’s life (copies available at www.dewilewis.com). Chosen as ‘Photo Book of the Month’ by Sean O’Hagan in The Observer and ‘Photo Book of The Week’ by photo-eye, it featured in The British Journal of Photography, BBC News, The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, The Telegraph Magazine and Vanity Fair amongst many others.
A Stranger in my Mother’s Kitchen
Dewi Lewis Publishing
275mm x 218mm
176 pages, 43 colour photographs
17 recipe inserts and texts