Mission Accomplished Sailor & A Give Away

Boot camp graduation is a proud moment

He lives on

In the blog-o-sphere Good Grief Cook is just one of many tiny drops in the ocean. Not an especially popular blog as defined by high stats for followers and/or page views, but read regularly by a select few. That suits me fine. In life isn’t that all one really needs; a select few? It’s a gift to be surrounded by a small circle of devoted, kind, and generous souls. For me it is enough. It feels authentic.

Sweet William's Spirited Sparkler to toast a festive celebration

Sweet William’s Spirited Sparkler to toast a festive celebration

So, it surprises me when this drop in the bucket gets a little notice from beyond the circle. It’s like the sun is up high and the angle is just right and a wave hits the jetty and a single droplet of salted water rises up, dances and sparkles. It catches attention. Once in a blue moon it happens.

peanut butter cream cannoli

peanut butter cream cannoli

It happens when a grieving mom whom I have never met writes that she looks forward to reading Good Grief Cook each week. That honestly takes my breath away. It happens when a company like Saucy Mama contacts me and says, “We’d like you to join our family and represent us at the World Food Championships”. Such an honor! And it happens when a friend, named Sonya, whom I lost track of 30 years ago, finds the blog and asks for help in writing a book. Really?

Pomegranate Guacamole

Bacon and Egg Scallion Crepe Cups are perfect for a holiday brunch

I met Sonya while working at Westover School back in the 90’s. At age 16, she left her home in Korea to attend a joint program at Westover and the Juilliard School of Music in NYC. With perfect pitch and a mastery of piano she was quite special. A brilliant student she went on to complete her undergraduate studies in NYC and then an MBA at Harvard. Today, she is the CEO and President of the Theodore Presser Company owned by Carl Fischer Publishing. When I look back on her high school days what I remember most about Sonya is how brave she was to leave her loving native home, her generosity in sharing her talents and her kindness to those around her. She writes:

“Hi Lisa, I don’t know if you remember me – Sonya Kim, class of 94. I am now running two classical music publishing companies in New York and Philadelphia. One of the publications we are considering for 2015 is a Christmas piano book with recipes. I thought of you as a potential contributor. Would you be interested? You would receive either a flat fee or a small royalty depending on how the particular project is structured financially. I thought you might find it interesting to participate. I enjoy reading your blog very much, which is why I thought of you. Please let me know if you would like to learn more details! The publisher would be Carl Fischer Music in case you are curious. (carlfischer.com) Take care! Love, Sonya”

Pomegranate Guacamole

Pomegranate Guacamole

Holy Guacamole….Suffice to say Sonya and I collaborated on the book, but with one stipulation. I would do it for free. It was the least I could do for a kind generous soul who had been part of the circle without me even knowing it. Did she know she was fulfilling a dream of a mother just wanting to insure her son never be forgotten? A book like this does that. It’s inspired and spirited with beautiful music and recipes. In the spirit of Christmas it celebrates William, his favorite holiday and all his loving goodness. Priceless! Good Grief Cook…mission accomplished. What’s next?

Christmas in San Diego

Christmas in San Diego

And in that same spirit of Christmas it is time for a give away of this fabulous book, The Party Planner’s Christmas Song and Recipe Book. The collection includes over 90 all-time favorite carols each arranged for vocal, piano and guitar and 27 of my favorite award winning recipes. Perfect for a holiday sing along with family and friends. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite Christmas carol or favorite Christmas cookie…I am certain it is in the book. I will randomly draw a winner and post October 18th which happens to be Good Grief Cook’s 2 year blogiversary.


Thank you, Sonya. I love you William. This book is for you.


54 thoughts on “Mission Accomplished Sailor & A Give Away

  1. OMG! You are now a published author!!!!bi love all your posts but this is especially beautiful.
    Butter wreath cookies🎅

  2. Two of my favorite people (who were also two of my beloved’s favorite people) … giving me a reason to smile today. Congratulations to you both!

    • Westover School is a place like no other I have been. The bonds fostered there, are only strengthened through the years. Meghan would have loved this book filled with music and recipes. Thank you.

      • She definitely would have loved it, Lisa. I am sorry you never had the opportunity to try one of her creations. You would have been impressed!

  3. Lisa,
    Another post to light up my life.
    When I saw Sonya Kim’s name,I quickly found her in my treasured collection of Westover Student Directories.
    I remember this charming and talented student I occasionally transported to train and plane when I drove for wonderful Westover.
    Her successful career is no surprise.
    How appropriate that you share in such a beautiful project.

    I fondly remember you and William visiting Ann and I with your thoughtful dish of cookies.
    Sadly,Ann no longer remembers such treasured times,but she lights up when I remind her.

    Be Well,and thank you for your heart warming blog.
    Russ & Ann

    • Oh, Russ….here you are, with Ann, in the circle, too. Thank you for sharing such fond Westover and neighborhood memories. William was ever grateful for your kindness and he really enjoyed that visit with you that day.

  4. Christmas is a feeling in your heart. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us who find your blog to be like a candle and manna in the dark wilderness. You warm my heart and feed my soul. My mother and I both love cookies, cookies and more cookies!! But nothing too healthy (she probably would not agree with me on that one…sorry mommy 🙂 So no real favorite for the cookies nor for the carols. Too many choices. Okay, mom is telling me to just make a decision. Cranberry oatmeal cookie while singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

  5. How amazing Lisa! I am so excited for you. What a beautiful tribute to William. I cannot wait to buy a copy of this. Your recipes and message of love you weave throughout each post so delicately is most inspiring. Thank you!

      • An autographed copy will be perfect next to the commemorative program of William’s memorial service.
        Thank you.

      • I was thinking about my connection to Westover and I don’t know if you know that it all started with Ann. We were enjoying one of those neighborhood stitch ‘n bitch get togethers when she mentioned that Westover was looking for a Physician’s Assistant….she encouraged me to apply for the job!

  6. Dear Lisa, I continue to be amazed (and yet somehow, not surprised) at all that you have accomplished! I would love to purchase this lovely book as music is very much a part of our family life. Is Amazon the best outlet? By the way, just fyi, my favorite carol is a little known one called “In the Bleak Midwinter”. love, Wendy

  7. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! What a wonderful. story and now you’re a published author! William is smiling down on you for sure 🙂
    So proud of you mama!
    ❤ Carol
    PS: My all time favorite Christmas song is Little Drummer Boy
    Favorite cookie is Magic Bars (aka Santa Snacks)
    PSS: This book would make a great gift!

  8. Lisa,
    Such a beautiful tribute. I can’t begin to tell you how touched I am by that beautiful Christmas photo and how honored I am that the stockings I made so many years ago made it to California and remained a part of your family’s holiday traditions. Just know that you and your family are often in my thoughts and always in my prayers. God bless you and know that you touch and inspire many more lives than you realize. Pam

    • I hang those beautiful stockings every Christmas since the time you gave them to me. They are very treasured and will always be a part of our tradition. Yes, when William could not come home for Christmas we brought Christmas to him. He loved his stocking and I still hang it up. Thanks for being here, too. ❤

  9. Lisa, I had no idea. Thank you for sharing William and your many gifts with us. Very much looking forward to future posts and the beauty, talent, love and strength they exude. I wish you peace, k.

    • Hi neighbor—not an easy thing to talk about–don’t want to scare new friends away 🙂 Thank you for your nice comments and welcome.

  10. Lisa,
    This is such a wonderful tribute. Some of my fondest Christmas memories include William. I will never forget the night we snuck out of bed and ate all of the peanut butter balls my mom made for a cookie swap! My partner in crime and brother I never had. I miss him dearly. Xoxo
    Lots of love,

  11. This is a great story. So glad you and Sonya connected and will be releasing this book! Let us know how those of us that don’t win a copy can purchase one.

    • Yes-an amazing story—who would ever believed this is where I would be today…sigh…there is a link in the blog to the book

  12. Lisa, I love that you’ve done this book with Sonya!! What an amazing way to celebrate William’s life!!

    Carol of the Bells is my favorite because it always reminds me of Candlelight and my favorite “cookie” is my mom’s creme de menthe brownies!!

    • We Westover women are blessed with the sisterhood bond….nothing better then women supporting women in such positive light. My mom made those brownies, too. Just saw your FB post about another little darling on the way–big congrats. ❤

  13. Omg Lisa, this is amazing!!! If I don’t win, can you tell me how to buy it? My sister is a music teacher in a very underprivileged area in NY and I would love to get this for her to use in her class!! So happy for you…I think this was a gift from William sharing your love of cooking and his of Christmas!! Xoxo

    • Throughout my life I have felt a guardian angel on my shoulder…especially in my profession as a Physician Assistant taking care of sick children….I just think that angel happens to be William, now, and he leading me down a road less taken.

      There is a link in the blog to buy the book.

  14. Mama K, this is such excellent news. What a beautiful project. You know that food and music keep my family together; I’m sure we will share many happy moments with this book! My favorite holiday cookies are molasses/ginger chews and snickerdoodles. Tommy makes the latter–I think you would be proud. Can’t wait to see you one day soon (and to get my hands on this book!) Thinking of you and your family today and all the days. Love, Em

    • Thanks Em—you all are going to have some fun music nights with this book. Baking and singing always a good time at the Piacenza mansion.

  15. You never cease to amaze me. From reading your blog and sharing your photos, I feel like you and Will have been in my life forever. I cannot wait to get my hands on the new musi(c)cook book! Silent Night….to all.

  16. Excellent, amazing post, Lisa! You always inspire, whether through words or deeds. My favorite holiday carol is IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER.

    Best wishes for continued success in all your endeavors, my friend!

    • Thank you, Janice. You are the second to mention this carol…I have not heard of it before and I will find someone on youtube singing it I am sure…can’t wait to listen

  17. You take my breath away Lisa! Thank you for sharing your special gift of writing and love. I have always been and will be a huge, loyal and dedicated fan of yours! ~peace & namaste~ ally

  18. Tears… I know we only crossed paths a short time ago, but gosh, do you inspire me! I am so proud of all these wonderful ventures that have come your way. It is certainly not a coincidence these things happen. They happen for a reason, and I couldn’t think of a better person! Keep on shining that light. For me, the best and most accomplished part of my blog isn’t the numbers, it is touching the lives of people simply by sharing my heart! ❤

    My favorite Christmas song: Silent Night hands down! And cookie…. I am a traditionalist. Frosted sugar cookies!

  19. and you share your heart so well…..you young ladies that I met at NFOB make me hopeful for the future of the USA….I am grateful to know you and inspired by your love of family, friends and country

  20. Lisa, I am continuously impressed by the constant expansion of your blessings through true kindnesses that you have shown. It is a powerful thing to witness. What a blessing your Will continues to be in your life. I can’t wait to get this wonderful book.

    • Thank you dear friend. I have been very blessed to be surrounded by such kind and generous people like yourself. I hope you love the book.

  21. I’m so happy for you! I cried through the whole post. What an incredible way for you to honor Will.
    Anything with Hershey kisses because thousands of kisses were unwrapped at my counter by little and big hands that were just looking for some chocolate. Counting lessons, patience and milk chocolate stained lips. I love those memories.
    The song Believe from the Polar Express. Although, I’m not sure if I will ever be able to listen to it again. It made me weep before Aidan died, I don’t think I could subject myself ( or my family) to that right now!!
    Congratulations again!

    • There was a time several months ago when I thought I could not write one more blog post and then you were there. Did you see yourself today? the music that reminds me of William gets me every time, so I totally get why you don’t want to listen….but do it anyway—some day down the road…when you are ready. You will know the right time. I am pretty sure you feel Aidan hugging you as you listen. One can never have too many kisses ❤

  22. Silent Night is my favorite Christmas carol and any cookie you have made is my favorite cookie. You are amazing! Ellen

    Sent from my iPad


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