Home Made

Released by Dial Press on June 8, 2021:

Home Made: A Story of Grief, Groceries, Showing up — and What We Make When We Make Dinner

Liz Hauck and her dad had a plan to start a weekly cooking program in a residential home for teenage 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. She didn’t know what to expect volunteering with court-involved youth, but as a high school teacher she knew that teenagers are drawn to food-related activities, and as a daughter, she believed that if she and the kids made even a single dinner together she could check one box off of her father’s long, unfinished to-do list. This is the story of what happened around the table, and how one dinner became one hundred dinners.

Capturing the clumsy choreography of cooking with other people and the humorous and heartbreaking conversations that happen around food and teenagers, Home Made is a sharply observed and honestly told story about how a kitchen can be both safe and dangerous and how even the short journey from kitchen to table can be perilous. Each chapter explores the interconnectedness of flavor, memory, culture, and life and offers a glimpse into the ways we behave when we are hungry and the food we crave when we seek comfort. Home Made is a tender and vivid portrait of poverty and abundance, vulnerability and strength, estrangement and connection. It is a memoir about the radical grace we discover when we consider ourselves bound together in community and an interrogation of the essential question: Who are we to each other?

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Home Made is a story of the promises we make and try to keep, to ourselves and to others. Liz Hauck tells a tender story about a group home for teenagers, and she reveals fascinating, sobering, and urgent truths about boyhood, inequality, and the power and promise of community.” 

—PIPER KERMAN, New York Times bestselling author of Orange Is the New Black 

“I could not wait to get home each night so I could get back to reading Home Made. I cared so much about everybody in it. Hauck’s writing embodies what she knows about successful volunteering: Show up on time when you said you would, do what you said you would do, and leave. I loved this book so much. I stayed up way later than I should have to just get one more chapter in before sleeping.” 

—GABRIELLE HAMILTON, New York Times bestselling author of Blood, Bones & Butter 

“At every turn in Home Made, Liz Hauck suggests that we all ought to build a longer table, instead of a higher wall. With grace and tenderness, this memoir utterly affirms that it is the relationship that heals. Food brings us to the table, but cherishing leads us to joy and bravery. This is an important book because it reminds us not to venture to the margins to make a difference, but to allow the folks there to make us different. Your heart will be altered by this book.” 

—GREGORY BOYLE, S.J., New York Times bestselling author of Tattoos on the Heart and founder of Homeboy Industries 

“Wise and empathetic, Liz Hauck describes the process of coming together through cooking and eating. Home Made is a meditation on hunger of all forms, of the limits and meaning of volunteerism, and the ways in which we continue the work of our deceased loved ones. Never cynical and always self-aware, Hauck knows that we may not rescue one another—but we can create a shared space where one is not alone.” 

—MICHELLE KUO, author of Reading with Patrick 

 “A genuine page-turner, Home Made is a spellbinding tribute to Liz Hauck’s great empathy and compassion, her commitment to the ideal of service, her generosity of spirit, and her irrepressible wit. Written as an act of love, it also manages to be an education, taking us into a world that few outside the system of child protective services have experienced firsthand.”

—CHRISTINA THOMPSON, author of Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia

 “In this wise and bighearted memoir, Liz Hauck shows us how grief can lead to generosity and how community can grow through sharing meals around a table, and she offers us an introduction to the complex world of the child welfare system. Written with style and grace with a flair for language and detail, the story of her three years of cooking and sharing meals with teenage boys living in a group home resonates long after the final page is read. I loved this book.”

—BARBARA ABERCROMBIE, author of The Language of Loss

 “Home Made is a tender story about the connections that form when people cook and eat. That this cooking and eating occurs in a group home, and that these people are children caught in the court system and striving to unknot the choices they’ve made from the choices that have been inflicted on them, means the fellowship Ms. Hauck writes about so elegantly is not just the difference between a decent meal and a lousy one. Here, the simple act of sharing a meal can stand as the difference between life and death. I for one am grateful to Ms. Hauck and the residents of ‘the House’ for sharing such meals with us; they have changed me, too.”

—JEFF HOBBS, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace and Show Them You’re Good