Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book Review: "Life Through Lasagna Eyes: The Recipes for Life" by Samantha Kendall

There can be no greater loss than for a mother to bury a child.  And I think there can be no pain greater in losing a child, than losing a child to a senseless act like shooting.  Reading Samantha Kendall's book, "Life Through Lasagna Eyes: The Recipes for Life", I couldn't help thinking about all the senseless gun violence in the United States today.  When I picked up this book, my first thought was dread, in anticipation of a narrative of one more news story. But Samantha Kendall handles her telling of an unspeakably sad event with dignity, strength and even humor.

Although Ms. Kendall dedicates her book to victims of gun violence, she doesn't make "Life Through Lasagna Eyes" only about her pain and suffering.  Instead, it is the backdrop for a bigger message: to use her passion to honor her daughter's memory and become a successful entrepreneur. The most valuable lesson of her book is how Samantha found meaning in what was a meaningless tragedy.

She is now known in Chicago as the "Lasagna Lady" and followed a message uttered by her daughter Amanda from her hospital bed before she passed away.  Amanda loved her mom's lasagna, and so it was through her lasagna that Samantha drew inspiration to work out and work through the incredible grief of losing her child to violence.  The pasta that form the layers of the lasagna represent the layers of our lives; the cheese symbolizes the substance that holds the layers together; the sauce is the topping that completes the lasagna before baking and eating, and of course there is the all-important meat.  Samantha's faith and her passion for cooking turned tragedy into triumph.

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