Katie lost her father. She found connection and healing through food.
The Food+Grief Project is a special feature of Unpeeled Journal, where we publish writing, recipes, and resources exploring the connections between food and loss.
This month, we are so pleased to share the following illustrated comic by writer and illustrator Katie Vaz, a Food + Grief story about the sudden loss of her father.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But this piece combines both: beautiful pictures and honest words. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your story of food and grief, your wisdom, your heart, and for letting us know your dad a bit.
–Lisa Ruland, Editor (December 2022)
Katie Vaz’s Story of Food + Grief
“No matter where I was in the world, if I was in the kitchen I’d always feel connected to my family and my home.”
When I was 21 years old and in my last year of college, my dad died unexpectedly. The loss was devastating. Everything in my life felt like it had just been thrown off track.
A few months later and on a bit of a whim, I moved to Germany to attend grad school. While coping with the aftermath of my dad’s death, I was also dealing with intense homesickness. The short story below (which is from a larger work in progress) is about my experience of finding comfort in cooking and baking during that time.
Not only was food a balm to my tender heart, it was also how I developed a sense of connection and identity and became more comfortable in my new world. This is my story of food and grief.
Katie Vaz is an author and illustrator living in upstate New York. Some of her previous books include My Life in Plants, Make Yourself Cozy, and the forthcoming Tiny Joys. Visit her online at www.katievaz.com and on Instagram @katiemarievaz.
Unpeeled Journal welcomes submissions for the Food + Grief Project. If you would like to contribute, please email inquiries[at]unpeeledjournal.com.