‘I learned that before entering the kitchen, I must get the measure of its hold over me.’ Food speaks to our personal history as well as wider cultural histories. But what are the stories we tell ourselves about the kitchen, and how do we first come to it? How do the cookbooks we read shape us? Can cooking be a tool for connection in the kitchen and outside of it? In these essays thirteen writers consider the subjects of cooking and eating and how they shape our lives, and the possibilities and limitations the kitchen poses. Rachel Roddy traces an alternative personal history through the cookers in her life; Rebecca May Johnson considers the radical potential of finger food; Ruby Tandoh discovers a new way of thinking about flavour through the work of writer Doreen Fernandez; Yemisi Aribisala remembers a love affair in which food failed as a language; and Julia Turshen considers food’s ties to community.