After her mother’s death in 2007, Nancy Spiller discovered her mother’s teaching credential buried in a recipe box. Her mother had taught for only one year before marrying and having four children. Spiller realized that she had probably been her mother’s best and only student in the kitchen.
Compromise Cake explores Spiller’s life in the suburbs in Northern California in the 1960’s, learning to cook by her mother’s side, as remembered through the recipe box. It touches on lineage and industrial changes; it is a meditation on men, women, marriage and the concept of compromise.
What emerges is a portrait of someone whose hopes, dreams and desires for herself as a a career woman, writer, and artist were stifled by the pressure to pursue the conventional female roles of wife and mother, but who found expression through her daughter, an author and artist. A memoir that extends beyond the relationship between Spiller and her mother, the book is universal for all mothers and daughters – and what, as they say, is baked into the cake.
This has been illustrated by the author with more than a dozen color illustrations.