Through the Fire

Cooking our way into a new relationship with food!

The Woman Who…

So, I had my planned summer vacation hiatus from blog writing which then turned into an unplanned hiatus. This can sometimes be the kiss of death for a blog. I am counting on you to simply be glad I am back.

Things have been changing for me this last year. I officially retired from my personal chef work. I have been busy working on my second book. I’m almost finished with the first draft. You can still find information about my first book Through The Fire, cooking our way into a new relationship with food elsewhere on the website.

In a few weeks ,I’ll be heading out on a 2 month long road trip around the country and will be including adventures from the road on the blog. I’m mostly excited but also a little nervous about the whole thing. Lots and lots of friends to see, beautiful places to go, photos to take, good food to eat. And 2 months without my cat or my bed. We shall see.

My new book is a memoir. I’m called it an exaggerated memoir. There might be some parts that have been enhanced, shall we say ? just a bit. You won’t be able to tell. (grin)

For your reading pleasure and to spark your interest, here is the opening, the first section of the prologue. I expect I’ll need another 6 months to re write and edit, then comes looking for a publisher. I will keep you posted and occasionally post other pieces to keep you interested.


THE WOMAN WHO…an exaggerated memoir

by Charity Dasenbrock

                            first draft

It’s about the woman who is working daily on loving herself and her friends. She is teaching people about body positivity. She continues to move forward from abuse and shitty self esteem, growing older with as much grace as possible. It’s not too late for anything really. Her story has drama, it has humor, it has some swearing, it has tears, it has cats. You might just be able to relate.


August, 1960, Sunday afternoon,playing with my dolls

It’s so hot out. I hope Mom doesn’t make me go outside. I don’t like it when she needs her nap time. I want to stay here and play with you. We have to be very quiet. Let’s pretend it’s not hot and we can have tea. and we can eat cookies. Here’s a place for you Ginny. I like your new dress. You look fancy in your ribbons. You might have to stand up though.If you sit down, the ribbons might come undone and your dress would fall off. That would be embarrassing. Betsy Wetsy, did you wet your pants again ?? bad girl. Let’s change you. There. Sit here next to Ginny. Raggedy Ann, you have to sit over here because you are so big. and the babies can be over here with me. Sorry, Mr English guard and Raggedy Andy, no boys allowed this time. I’m putting you away. You girls all look so pretty. Not like me. You should see the ugly clothes I got for school. I can’t show you because they have to be sewed so they fit better. One dress is so long I can’t walk in it. It’s really a dress for a grownup. The lady in the store was so mean. I didn’t like her.  I’m too fat, Mom says. I have to try harder, Mom says. I do try. I don’t want to be fat. I don’t want her to be mad at me.  I cried because I couldn’t find the dresses I wanted. Mom yelled so then I cried some more. and then she cried. All the long drive home, she looked so mad. She and my dad talked about it at dinner. she said she was sad but she sure looked mad. Last night I stole some cookies. I tried to save some for our party but I ate them all. I’m sorry. All we have are pretend cookies.  You always eat too many real ones. These are better anyway. They won’t make us fat and ugly.




Your Last Meal

I haven’t mentioned my book, Through The Fire, cooking our way into a new relationship with food, in quite a while. Yes, I would still love to have you buy it and read it. It’s on Amazon or ask for it at your local independent bookstore.

One of the sections in the book has to do with bringing the Sacred into your kitchen and into your cooking. Much healing can come from acknowledging the Divine, and having a sense of reverence about what we do in the kitchen.

I’m not sure what guided my thinking to this recently but I was remembering the pages about one’s last meal. There is a fabulous book My Last Supper by Melanie Dunea, which is interviews with many famous chefs about what they would choose for their last meal. The menus range from very elegant, expensive, and elaborate feasts to a simple really well made hamburger. It’s a fun read. What would you choose ? My answer varies day to day. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want anything on the elaborate and expensive end, except maybe for a really fancy bottle of really good champagne. I adore champagne and have never (yet) indulged in an expensive bottle. Today I am thinking that a beautiful charcuterie and cheese plate would suit me really well. On my last day, I could happily indulge in bread and cheese, both of which I love and avoid due to sensitivities. The phlegm and the crankiness the next day wouldn’t be an issue.

It was probably about 15 years ago. Visiting my parents, I was having a challenging time being with them. We were arguing a fair amount and getting on each others’ nerves. One afternoon, I was down to my very last nerve, when my father launched into some sort of unwanted advice or chastising me about something. I don’t even remember any more what it was about, but I had had it! I said some harsh words and stormed off to the guest bedroom . It was weird for me to stay in there. My childhood furniture in this sort of formal room with not much character all added to my feeling as if I didn’t belong. I had never lived in this place and I didn’t fit in. I sulked and moped for a while, then had a revelation. My father was rapidly aging and what if that was the last conversation I had with him? What if those harsh words were my final memory of being with him ? My father, whom I adored. My father, who adored me. My father, from whom I had learned about unconditional love. So, swallowing my pride, I quietly went back out to the living room. I put my arms around my father, kissed him, and said I was sorry. I told him how much I loved him. We both cried a little. Later that day, I vowed that I would always end each conversation and each day that I had with my parents with “I love you” . I pretty much stuck to that vow and have extended it to a wider circle of people.

In later years, I have thought, what if I had the same sort of attitude about eating. What if whatever I ate today was the last thing I ate ? What if what I cooked for someone else was the last thing they ate ?  Or, what if I woke up tomorrow and I had lost my sense of taste ? What if what I ate today was the last food I ever tasted or smelled ? I really don’t believe I would take those memories with me after death, but what if ?? What if, for eternity, I remembered eating something terrible or that I had shame around ?

How about if we cultivate this attitude now and not only treat each other as if it was our last day together, but that each meal was our last. If you were feeding a loved one their last meal, wouldn’t you want it to be exactly what they want and would truly enjoy ? Don’t we deserve that for ourselves ? For each and every one of our meals ? This means listening and getting to know what it is that our body is asking for, what our Soul needs in that moment ? It may be chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, and it just might not mean the whole bag and carton. It might mean the amount that will give energy and pleasure. It might be a salad. Make it the best salad you’ve ever had.

Find pleasure in fresh delicious food right now, not when you are thinner or healthier or on vacation. Plate it thoughtfully. Set the table with things that you love and cherish. Make some new memories. Let’s make our meals beautiful and meaningful each and every day.

in the Kitchen – ebook

  in the Kitchen ebook                     “Eating psychology believes that if we remove pleasure ,the nutritional value of food decreases. Pleasure definitely needs to be invited into the kitchen and to our table. You can add pleasure to your meals by making them look inviting, by… Continue Reading

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