Sutanya Dacres, DINNER FOR ONE: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me

Sutanya Dacres, DINNER FOR ONE: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me

Zibby speaks to podcast host Sutanya Dacres about Dinner for One: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me, a mouth-watering and heart-warming memoir about a shattered American-in-Paris fairytale and the cathartic power of making delicious food. Sutanya shares the details of her whirlwind romance with the Frenchman she married (and divorced), her life as a Black American in Paris, and the innovative, listen-to-me-cook podcast she created to help rebuild her life. She also talks about her Jamaican heritage, her brilliant ten rules to live by, and the books on her TBR list.


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Sutanya. Thank you so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to discuss Dinner for One: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me.

Sutanya Dacres: Thank you so much for having me on. I’m very, very excited to be here. I’m sorry if you hear a bunch of noise. For some reason, they decided today that now is the time to drill a bunch of holes in buildings.

Zibby: Don’t you love that?

Sutanya: I apologize in advance.

Zibby: You can barely hear it. My ears are so stuffed today that I can barely hear you, so don’t worry. How did cooking in Paris save you? Tell everyone what this book is about.

Sutanya: My book, Dinner for One: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me, it is about how I used cooking dinner for one, making these small dinners for one, as a way to heal and overcome the challenge of getting over my divorce. I moved to Paris. I don’t have a French accent. I don’t know if that was clear or not. I don’t have a French accent. I’m very much an American living in Paris. I moved here because I was married to a Frenchman that I met at a bar in New York, Fanelli’s in SoHo, if anyone’s from New York City.

Zibby: By the way, my brother lived right above Fanelli’s for a while. When I read that, I was like, oh, I know exactly where she is.

Sutanya: We met at Fanelli’s one night — it’s so funny — the night before he was going back to Paris. We kept in touch, fell in love, got married. Then I moved to Paris.

Zibby: By the way, that was skimming through a lot of good stuff right there. Just saying you fast-forwarded through some great scenes. Okay, go ahead.

Sutanya: Then we unfortunately got divorced, which happens. I’m not the first person to be divorced. I won’t be the last. I went through a period of self-destructive behavior. I started making these small dinners for myself. They really helped me. They put me on a path of understanding the importance of self-care and doing something nice for myself and taking care of myself and giving myself pleasure outside of other Frenchmen and drinking too much wine and all that other stuff that I was indulging in.

Zibby: Also great scenes. Early on in your book, you started by talking about some orzo salad with feta and tomatoes or something. I was like, oh, this is going to be fun. I’m already hungry reading this book. This is great. Actually, I didn’t even realize until I got to the end that there were recipes in the back too. All of a sudden, I was like, oh, my gosh, it’s over.

Sutanya: It’s a little surprise there.

Zibby: It is. It’s a total surprise. I am not even close to bold enough to try any of these, but it’s nice that they’re there.

Sutanya: They’re quite easy, really.

Zibby: I know, but still. The hard part is just getting into the kitchen with the ingredients. I can obviously do anything. I can follow a direction. It might not be the most amazing thing. I don’t improvise. The hardest part is just being like, okay, today I’m going to make citrus fennel salad.

Sutanya: It’s so easy.

Zibby: I know, but you already have the fennel bulb cleaned and shaved. Already, I’m like, no. That is too hard. I am not going to do that.

Sutanya: Fair, fair, fair.

Zibby: I understand what you’re saying. You’re not always reducing sauces and whatever. I don’t know.

Sutanya: Very rarely do I reduce a sauce.

Zibby: On the way to getting together with who you call TFM, the Frenchman, which is very funny — you meet him. You have this relationship over text, email, whatever. He says at some point, okay, this is great, but this is sort of useless. We’re never going to see each other. Why are we wasting our time? Then all of a sudden, you’re like, well, I was going to go to Europe anyway. You say to your friend, what do you say we swing through Paris? You’re like, Paris is always a good idea.

Sutanya: Paris is always a good idea. We started this very strange, what I call pen-pal relationship. We were emailing each other every day. I was getting these intense, long emails from him that I would print out and I would read in my bed like I was reading a book. Same with him. I was sharing a lot via email. It was so easy to be ourselves because, A, we never thought we were going to see each other, and B, we had the screen. We weren’t even FaceTiming or anything. We had the screen kind of protecting us. I was getting my master’s degree. I was going on a Euro trip with my roommates. That was my gift to myself. I was like, I’m going to be in Europe anyway. Let’s just go to Paris. I came to Paris. It was, honestly, four days of this whirlwind. I had no expectations. It’s the only time in my life I had zero expectations about anything, and it turned out to be my first marriage. Great lesson there. Just fly to Europe to meet a man, and then have no expectations. Also, when he came to New York shortly after, I had no idea that he was going to come. As I said in the book, he was like, “Were you serious about me coming to visit you?” I was like, “Yeah, sure.” He was like, “Great. I’ll be there tomorrow.” I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. What?

We were very much in love with each other. That was probably the hardest bit of the book to write. It happened such a long time ago. We met when I was twenty-four. I’m thirty-seven now. I was writing the book between the ages of thirty-five and thirty-six or, sorry, thirty-four. I can’t remember. A couple years ago, I started the book. I hadn’t thought about that. No one thinks about their love story when they’re getting a divorce. I had to go back through emails. I’ve been keeping journals since I was nine years old. I have all those. I took them, most of them from New York. Well, all of them from New York that I started prior to moving here. That was really hard because we were so in love. We were so naïve. We had no idea of what was ahead of us. We had no idea how much our differences were going to affect our relationship and our lack of understanding of each other and what we entered into and just cultural differences and everything. Love is difficult already. Loving someone is difficult when they’re of your same culture, your same race, your same language, your same everything. He was the complete opposite of everything I am. That was the hardest part for me to write, just going back through all that. C’est la vie.

Zibby: C’est la vie. Exactly. I can speak back to you in a terrible French accent if you want. We could horrify anybody listening. I took French for so long, including in college, until I realized that after freshman year, if I dropped French, then I wouldn’t have class on Fridays at all. I was like, oh, my gosh. Goodbye, French. Hello, comp lit or something. Now all I can remember to say is, , which is, can I sharpen my pencil? which is completely useless.

Sutanya: Essential vocabulary .

Zibby: You write about being a Black blogger and then a single Black blogger in Paris. Before that, you wrote about white privilege and what it was like being married to someone who goes through the world without having to think twice about anything and how that was different for you. You even gave examples of what it was like in your workplace and how that was different and how you could take it for granted sometimes. You talked about puffing up your chest and striding through the world without a care in the world, basically, and how that kept coming back. Talk a little bit more about that.

Sutanya: It was really interesting because my ex-husband and I didn’t talk about race in any depth, I think because we’d never been in such serious relationships with people of other races, neither of us. Also, we were both from big, cosmopolitan cities. Obviously, we’re not racist. We’re young. When we were together, it was between 2010 and 2016. We’re in the twenty-first century. We don’t need to talk about that. I don’t know if it was just because when I was younger, I grew up quite sheltered. In some ways, my parents — I’m trying to really choose my words carefully here. They protected me from a lot of racism, from a lot of discrimination, not because I think they wanted to present me with a false narrative of the world, but they didn’t want that clouding already how difficult it is to be a young woman living in this world. I also didn’t have the vocabulary. I had the feelings, but I didn’t have the vocabulary. Because there were so many differences, there were so many changes in my life, like moving to Paris, getting married, being married to a French Jewish man, it was so hard for me to communicate what it felt like experiencing any kind of privilege based on something that I had no control over.

The privilege came from being a Black American woman. If I was a Black woman from one of the former French colonies, my experience would be completely different. Because Americans, and especially Black Americans, are held in such high esteem in France, to this day, I have access to certain echelons of French society. I don’t feel like I don’t belong anywhere. I don’t feel like I should be questioned whenever I go anywhere. I feel like this French world is my oyster. For a while, I was kind of like, is this how — not for a while. It was the first time I had the realization. I was like, is this how white people feel just walking around the world never questioning themselves, never ever having to question who they are or where they belong or whether or not or how their race is going to affect anything that they do in this world? I saw how my ex-husband was living like that. I started to experience that living in Paris when I started paying attention, when I started speaking the language more. It is something that, in some ways, I still grapple with. It’s a privilege that I have that I did nothing to benefit from. I don’t know if that answered your question.

Zibby: It is crazy sometimes when you get a glimpse of what it’s like to be someone else or something that you take for granted about your own life. All of a sudden, you’re like, oh, my gosh, that’s what it would be like if I had X, Y, Z. It must be great. It must be this. It must be that. Or worse or whatever. Those moments, though, of extreme empathy, essentially, can do nothing but help with how we relate to everybody else. When you were most down on your luck, in addition to drinking yourself silly, which I loved — it was really fun to read. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. The way you wrote about it was super fun. I feel like I just went out with friends all night.

Sutanya: It was fun living it until it wasn’t.

Zibby: You hit a point. When you were sort of licking the wounds of the recent breakup and all of that, you decided to start a podcast. Literally, I could’ve written the exact same thing. I started a podcast. I didn’t know how to start a podcast. I was recently divorced. I was like, oh, my gosh, this is my exact experience. You’re like, would anyone listen to me? What would I talk about? I was like, yes, keep going. Tell me about your podcasting experience.

Sutanya: At the time where I was like, okay, we’re going to stop drinking all the red wine, even though it’s very good and it’s very cheap — we’re going to stop drinking it. We’re going to turn down invites, which is really hard for me. I love going out. I love being and hanging with my girlfriends and doing all the things and checking out the latest wine bars and restaurants or whatever. Really hard for me to say no. At that time, to keep myself company, I was reading a lot. I was also listening to a lot of podcasts, in particular, “Call Your Girlfriend” with Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. I felt like they were my friends and sitting there with me.

Zibby: She just announced a new book deal.

Sutanya: Aminatou?

Zibby: No, Ann Friedman.

Sutanya: Lovely.

Zibby: Anyway, go ahead.

Sutanya: I was listening to them. I felt like I was one of their friends and I was listening in on a very intimate conversation between two girlfriends, which is the point of the podcast, so they were doing a good job. At that time, I was doing that. I was not going out. I was cooking for myself. I was looking online for other women’s stories, particularly American women in Paris that were divorced and decided to stay. All I kept seeing was, “My husband . We had this beautiful apartment right off of Boulevard Saint-Germain. Both of our kids dress in . We just bought this amazing country house. Life is perfect.” It’s just like, come on. Being married to a Frenchman sucks sometimes. Why isn’t anyone talking about that? I thought that the American-in-Paris narrative had space for a different perspective and a different story. I wanted to tell that. I was like, I’m going to do it. I’m a young American woman living in Paris, recently divorced. I’m Black. I’m from New York. All the ingredients are there. What are you going to do? Initially, I thought blog. Then I thought, Sutanya, you know yourself. You have zero discipline to keep up with a blog. Because you want this to be a different take on the American-woman-in-Paris story, why don’t you try to also do it in a different medium?

Because I was cooking these dinners for one and cooking dinner for one was the most difficult thing for me to get used to doing after my divorce from TFM, I thought, why not invite people to my kitchen? Why not do a podcast? It’s so intimate. When I write, I think a lot, which is, I guess, normal for a writer. Whereas when I’m talking, I’m a bit freer with how I express myself. I wanted people to feel like they were in my kitchen with me and sharing a very intimate moment with me. I also thought it’d be interesting for people to experience food using a different sense that they’re not used to, so not sight or smell or taste. If you listen to the podcast, I’m literally cooking in my kitchen as I’m talking. You hear me taste things. You hear me say, oh, this is not good. You hear me forget things. You hear me drink a glass of wine. You hear when I’ve had maybe one too many glasses of wine and I get a little rowdy. That’s why I started the podcast; on one hand, to share another perspective of the American-in-Paris story that is so far from the typical one that we’ve been fed for decades, and also to be like, what would it be like for people to experience food in a different way than what they’re used to?

Zibby: How can people find your podcast?

Sutanya: Anywhere, on Spotify, on Apple, via my Instagram. If you google “Dinner for One in Paris,” you’ll find me in almost everything.

Zibby: Do you mind if I read a couple of your hard-won pieces of advice in the epilogue? Can I read that?

Sutanya: Please. Go ahead.

Zibby: Here are some of the lessons you say will live with you forever. “1) Making a nice meal for yourself is always worth the time and effort. 2) There’s no such thing as too much butter.” I think my husband lives by that. He’s an amazing cook. Literally, he was making pasta, and I was like, “Please tell me you did not use two sticks of butter in the pasta.” He’s like, “No, of course not. I only used one stick.”

Sutanya: I used one and a half.

Zibby: There are only four of us. “3) Being open to life and experimenting is often more rewarding in the long term. 4) Trust yourself and your intuition above all. Knowing when to add, remove, or modify elements of your life that are no longer serving you is key. 5) The end is rarely actually ever the end. It’s almost always just the beginning. I like to think of it as another door being opened toward a better path.” I love that. “6) Your journey is yours alone. Don’t judge yourself too harshly because no one knows what they’re doing.” Very true. “We’re all putting one foot in front of the other and trying to figure it out day by day. 7) Breakups suck. It chips away at your self-esteem, and you have to relearn a lot about yourself and your expectations, but it doesn’t have to destroy you. 8) To love and be loved is a brave and courageous endeavor. If it doesn’t work out the way you envisioned, feel some satisfaction in the fact that you gave it your best shot. 9) Because you’re single or alone doesn’t mean that you’re automatically lonely. Being able to feel and be satisfied by your own company is actually your strength. 10) Falling in love with yourself is one of the most profound and special love stories you’ll ever experience.”

Sutanya: I stand by all of those, especially the butter bit.

Zibby: I love that. I love it. All of these are so great.

Sutanya: Thank you.

Zibby: You should put these somewhere, like on a poster. I don’t know, somewhere. You shouldn’t bury them at the end of this book.

Sutanya: You think so?

Zibby: They’re great. They’re really rules to live by. It’s true. When you’re an individual going through one of these things, it often feels like you’re the only one who’s ever gone through it. How will I get past this? Especially in this post-COVID world — I can’t even say post-COVID as I’m sitting here with COVID. Anyway, it’s fine. In this post-COVID world where everyone’s had to spend so much time alone, what does it mean to love yourself? Cooking for one became so common, and all of that. It’s something you can embrace or not.

Sutanya: For sure. Your question was, what does it mean to love oneself or practice self-love? Hopefully, this came through in the book. For me, it’s just all about self-acceptance. It’s so easy for us today to see what everyone is doing on social media. I’m victim to that, seeing how other Americans are living in Paris. I’m like, my apartment isn’t like this. I don’t have this. I’m still single, for example. In case anyone’s curious, yes, I’m single. If you have a handsome brother that’s between the ages of thirty-three and thirty-seven…

Zibby: Nice that we’re not too specific there. I have a feeling that’s only scratching the surface of the requirements, but we’ll let go of that.

Sutanya: I have a six-page list. Anyway, it’s really about acceptance of oneself and one’s life and one’s journey. I think that’s the biggest that Dinner for One, in practice, just doing the podcast and sharing my story and writing the book — now I started these supper clubs for single women in Paris where they come to my place. I make a meal. We just feast on our lives of being fabulous single women. That’s the kind of red thread and theme that is a part of my little Dinner for One universe I’m trying to create. As hard as it is — it’s not every day. Sometimes we have really bad days where our self-esteem is in the dumps. That happens. We’re human beings. It’s just all about accepting and being oneself. It sounds like it’s simple. You say it. I love myself, accept myself for who I am. It’s really hard to do on a daily basis. It’s just people. We need to give ourselves a bit more leeway to be flawed and to not be perfect and to not have it all figured out and to just, as I said in the book, take it day by day.

Zibby: It’s so true. Have you connected at all, by the way, with Natasha Sizlo? S-I-Z-L-O. She has a book called All Signs Point to Paris. Wait, where is it?

Sutanya: Let me write it down. Let me write down her last name.

Zibby: All Signs Point to Paris. It’s different. It’s a different type of love story, but I think you will relate. She ends up descending on Paris to try to find the love of her life based on a certain birth date that she got from an astrologer.

Sutanya: Oh, my gosh, yes. I remember her Instagram, actually. My friends and I found her Instagram years ago. We never knew what happened to her. Me and a bunch of girlfriends were actively following her. It was an astrological sign or something. I remember. I didn’t know she wrote a book. I’m definitely going to read it. I wondered what happened to her.

Zibby: I want to put you two in touch because you two should do an event about Paris.

Sutanya: I would love that. It sounds awesome.

Zibby: She’s so fun. If nothing else, I know you’ll like each other and have some shared experiences. Hopefully, I have her email.

Sutanya: That would be awesome. Did she ever find her dude? Is that in the book?

Zibby: I’m not going to tell. You’ll have to read her book.

Sutanya: Oh, my god. Okay, fine. I have books that are on the docket. I’m, in my mind, trying to figure out, what can I push back so I can read that book?

Zibby: I’m so curious. What is on your docket?

Sutanya: I just discovered Andrea Lee. She used to write for The New Yorker. She’s an American woman that lives in Italy. I just finished one of her books, Lost Hearts in Italy. It has me. It still has me in a chokehold. I still think about it.

Zibby: Really?

Sutanya: Yeah. It’s about this African American woman named Mira. She’s from an upper-class African American family from Philadelphia. She marries her high school sweetheart, this guy named Nick. No, her college sweetheart. They went to Harvard together. It’s both very well-to-do families, super educated. Nick gets a job in Rome. Cool, right? Investment banker in Rome in the eighties. Why not? Then Mira finds herself falling for this seemingly just disgusting, older, very rich Italian man that she pretty much seems to hate. She more or less blows up her entire life for him. For me, it’s really interesting to read about an African American woman that was doing everything so right, and she just had this instinct, this feeling in her to rebel, even if it wasn’t a conscious act, necessarily. She just kept going in a direction that was so far removed from her picture-perfect life. I found that interesting. Now I want to read everything that Andrea Lee has ever written.

Zibby: Is it L-E-E or L-E-I-G-H?

Sutanya: L-E-E. It’s amazing. Also, I just got this from an English bookstore here in Paris that I love, New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent.

Zibby: First of all, that’s the best cover I’ve ever seen. Aren’t you obsessed with that cover? The wallpaper or whatever that is, the pattern, oh, my gosh.

Sutanya: That caught my eye. This is on the docket. I’m very excited about this. It’s about two hundred stories. This is really cool. I also recently bought this book, The History of the Jamaican People. I’m Jamaican. One of my writing projects that I’ve been thinking about has to do with Jamaican history, fictional whatever, so doing some research on that. In the book, the poem that I close the book out with is one of Derek Walcott’s poems. I’m obsessed with him. I’m just adding to my Derek Walcott knowledge bank. I got one of his books. I’m going to read that.

Zibby: What part of Jamaica was your family from? When did they come to the United States?

Sutanya: My mom is from Mandeville, which is in the center of the island. My dad is from Clarendon, which is more east, closer to Kingston. I was born in Mandeville. I lived there until I was four years old. Then I moved to New York, moved to the Bronx. My parents were so good about sending me back three, four times a year. I was there summer, Christmas, Easter, spring break. Any chance they had for me to be on a plane and out of their hair, I went to Jamaica. The good thing about that is I feel, not only because there’s a huge Jamaican population in New York City — it’s just a part of the amazingness of New York. Everyone’s from somewhere. Everyone’s family is from somewhere else. It also helped me to feel so connected to the culture, going there all the time, being around the food, the language. Also, being in a country that was majority Black, I didn’t realize what positive effect that had on me until I became much older and I met other Black people that didn’t have that experience, unfortunately. It was just really common for me to grow up seeing Black people in positions of power, that were middle class or wealthy, that were doctors, lawyers, etc. I never felt, necessarily, limited. Now that I’m thinking out loud, when I mentioned earlier about my parents kind of sheltering me and shielding me from racism and discrimination, I think that’s one way in which they did that, just by sending me to a country where I didn’t feel othered at all, ever. I was there a lot. I’m very connected to my Jamaican culture and very proud of it. I think that’s part of the reason why, because they always kicked me out of the house and sent me there.

Zibby: I’ll add another book to your TBR list here. Have you read Zain Asher, Where the Children Take Us?

Sutanya: That was at The Red Wheelbarrow. I got so taken by New Daughters of Africa. I give myself a book budget. Otherwise, I’ll spend all my money on books and wine. I did see it. I want to get it. I have peeked at it.

Zibby: Keep that on the list somewhere, in your queue on Goodreads or something. That was amazing. Her mom did such a good job of always presenting her with these amazing Nigerian role models. She was from Nigeria. Her family was. Nothing was too high. In fact, she even took her mirror down and instead, covered her wall with pictures of really successful women and Nigerian people who have just done these amazing things to motivate her all the time. I thought it was so cool. I love her. She’s amazing. Not to keep recommending other books. We are talking about your book, Dinner for One.

Sutanya: No, please. I love it. I love it so much. That’s all I want to talk about with everyone, is what they’re reading. For me at least, it gives you such great insight into how people think and where their interests lie and get into their brains a little bit, which I like. I can’t date a man — adding to the list. I can’t date a man that doesn’t read. If your brother or cousin or friend between thirty-three and thirty-seven does not read, don’t send him my way.

Zibby: I always thought that would be the case for me too. Actually, my husband does not really read, my second husband, for a variety of reasons. Often, I end up reading to him out loud.

Sutanya: That’s so cute.

Zibby: It’s so nice. The stuff we’ve read together — I used to do that particularly at the beginning when I had more time, but still sometimes, even articles or whatever. I’ll be like, “Oh, my gosh, let me read this to you.”

Sutanya: That’s cute, though. That’s really lovely.

Zibby: Maybe don’t make that a —

Sutanya: — Okay, I take that back.

Zibby: Maybe appreciation of books, appreciation of story.

Sutanya: Appreciation of books and literature and he doesn’t mind if I read to him. You’re right. You’re right, Zibby. I take it back.

Zibby: Any advice for aspiring authors? I didn’t even touch on the fact that you actually wrote this whole book as well as lived this whole story.

Sutanya: I did. I wrote the book. It took a long time for me, even though I had an agent. My agent was so amazing in helping to guide me through the proposal process and all that stuff because this is my first one. Thanks to her guidance, I feel so much more confident as I approach my second book, which I’m sort of working on a little bit in my mind. I would say really, truly, honestly believe that your story matters. Once you read the book, which hopefully you will — when I started the podcast, I was like, who’s going to care about, boo-hoo, you and your husband got divorced? You’re living in Paris. You’re single. Sad story, girl. I didn’t think that anyone would actually care. Same with the book. Even as I was very much into writing the proposal and then when I got the book deal, writing the book, there were moments when I was just like, who gives a fraction of a frog’s behind about me and my life in Paris and my experience cooking dinner for one? In fact, what I’ve come to discover and learn is that there’s so many people in the world either living the same experience or something similar.

Just the fact of you putting yourself out there, whether it’s through fiction, whether it’s through a memoir, it can help so many people in addition to yourself, help you process whatever you’re processing. I think it helps to break this barrier that we tend to automatically have with other people. It gives us a sense of each other’s humanity and vulnerability. Most importantly, stories help people be less mean to each other because you can connect with someone’s story. A mom is a mom is a mom, whether you’re white, Black, Jamaica, Turkish, American, French. A divorced woman is a divorced woman, whether you’re young, old, Black, white. A young woman is — you know. I think that’s what stories do the most. That’s what sharing your story, no matter what format it’s in, whether it’s fiction, memoir, graphic novel, whatever it is or whatever you have to share — it’s going to be helpful to, definitely, yourself and someone in the world. Out of one of us seven billion souls in the world, a couple of us are going to be like, you know what? Goddamn it, that writer was onto something.

Zibby: I am one of the people. What did you say? A fraction of frog’s butt or something? I’m not sure that that’s where I thought I would find myself today, but I guess I am in that club of the fraction of the dog’s butt who cares about your story. Anybody who gets through something emotional, to me, I am all in. I don’t judge by where you live or how lucky you are in this way or that way. When you go through pain and an experience that you have to find the strength to overcome, I love that. I find it massively inspirational.

Sutanya: One last thing. I know we’re running out of time. I don’t want to keep you. What I was thinking about when I started the podcast and even writing this book is the narrative around divorce. It’s either, “Yeah, girl, woo-hoo! Hearts. Spring break, Cabo 2010,” or it’s, I am now a jaded, sad, old person that doesn’t believe in love anymore, that is completely out of it. There’s an in-between. There is the Cabo spring break. There is the jadedness. I wanted to show that even if your divorce or your breakup of a long-term relationship was for the best, as mine was, it still hurts. It’s still trauma. You can be okay one day and not okay the next day. That’s fine. It’s not a dirty word. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I felt, for a long time, a lot of shame around my divorce. In doing the podcast and writing about it, I freed myself from that because there’s nothing to be ashamed of. I watched a comedy special the other day, Daniel Sloss. He was talking about relationships. He has this amazing thing about the jigsaw of a relationship. He said that time in a relationship does not equal success. It’s so true. You could be with someone for fifteen years and be miserable for fourteen out of those fifteen years. Just because you stayed together doesn’t mean that your relationship is, in any shape or form, an example of success. I’m looking forward to seeing more stories, whether they’re fiction or memoirs, about that nuanced place where divorce can sit in one’s life, one’s history of one’s life.

Zibby: I’ll start recommending more of those books.

Sutanya: Please.

Zibby: We’ll have to get a glass of wine and discuss our mutual divorces or whatever, but not on the podcast.

Sutanya: Next time you come to Paris. I know lots of great wine spots. You could come out to Dinner for One, but you don’t cook. That’s a requirement at Dinner for One. You have to cook.

Zibby: I make a mean tuna salad sandwich.

Sutanya: Sounds perfect. If that’s your favorite dinner for one, then tuna salad sandwich it is.

Zibby: It is. A little celery, a little relish. Just the way my mom made it for me.

Sutanya: Perfect. You have a story behind that.

Zibby: Hopefully, this is just to be continued of our conversation in some way. Thank you for this book and for our chat today and maybe for drumming up a latent interest in cooking, but I think I’m going to .

Sutanya: You’re welcome for everything, the chat and the potential desire to make a fancy meal.

Zibby: Take care. I’ll connect you with Natasha after.

Sutanya: Great. Thanks so much. Buh-bye, Zibby.

Zibby: Buh-bye.

Sutanya Dacres, DINNER FOR ONE: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me

DINNER FOR ONE: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me by Sutanya Dacres

Purchase your copy on Amazon and Bookshop.

Check out the merch on our new Bonfire shop here.

Subscribe to Zibby’s weekly newsletter here.

You can also listen to this episode on:

Apple Podcasts