Liz and I like to tell the story of how we met, twenty years ago, when I first moved to San Francisco and interviewed for a job as an office assistant at the translation agency Liz managed. At the end of the interview — in which we mostly talked about our favorite books and poetry — she gave me a math test to see if I could accurately estimate the cost of translation jobs. I was off by a factor of 100. But Liz still hired me, figuring that a calculator could compensate for my mathematical deficiencies, and that interesting office conversation is priceless.

Neither of us lasted too long at that office — Liz left to start a family and pursue a freelance writing career; I headed off to graduate school — but we maintained our friendship through all the changes in our lives, with books, food, and mothering sons some of the common threads. She’s published several books now, worked as a caterer, and guided her two sons into high school and college. She doesn’t get the opportunity to publish much creative nonfiction, but I’ve witnessed — and been moved by — her story: how she went from being just one more baby-wearing mom at the farmer’s market to running her neighborhood market. I’m so glad that for Cassoulet she finally got to write it down.