Marissa Hermer's upcoming cookbook wasn't just a way for the Ladies of London mom to share her favorite recipes with the world; it was something of a lifeline. "Writing this cookbook, An American Girl in London, was, I think it saved me during my pregnancy and after delivering Sadie, because it was a very dramatic and scary time in my life," Marissa recently told The Daily Dish. "And having deadlines and completely separating myself from the drama in my own life and poring myself into something else helped get me through some of the scary times of the pregnancy."
Ladies of London fans witnessed Marissa's struggles during and after she gave birth to daughter Sadie this season, which included a placenta accreta diagnosis, bed rest, and excessive bleeding upon her baby girl's birth on April 21, 2016. Marissa, who is also mom to sons Max and Jake, said she dealt with this stress by cooking. "I pored over my stove and cooked a lot. And I wanted to nourish my family. Oftentimes, the doctors were telling me that I wasn't gonna make it or the baby wasn't gonna make it, and I sort of felt my maternal urges that I wasn't being a good mom because I couldn't run around in the park with the kids, or I wasn't able to keep the baby, which thank goodness, happened. I don't know, I was able to nourish my family through food in ways that I felt like I was failing otherwise," Marissa said. "And so, it helped a lot to have this book to sort of hold it all together... It's the good thing that came out of such a stressful time."
To Ladies of London fans, a cookbook written by Marissa may seem like a long time coming. She has been in the restaurant industry for decades, running London hot spots like Eclipse Bars and Bumpkin with her husband, Matt Hermer, as well as opening up her own eatery, Top Dog. Marissa has since sold Top Dog last summer, but she told The Daily Dish earlier this month that she and her hubby have been looking into some new business ventures in their new home of Los Angeles.
Now we're just a few weeks away from the release of Marissa's first cookbook, An American Girl in London, which will hit shelves on April 4. As the title of the book suggests, it is the perfect combination of Marissa's California roots and life in London. "The book is actually a mix of the food that I grew up on, so sort of the fresh flavors of California, mixed with the food that my husband likes to eat, like Matt is ultimately a meat-and-potatoes British man, and he wants cozy comfort food," Marissa explained, giving her twist on traditional beef wellington made with salmon as an example. "It's the food you want to eat with your family and friends."
Featuring 120 of Marissa's favorite recipes, An American Girl in London is basically the Hermer family in cookbook form, highlighting dishes like Matt's favorite curry and a strawberry shortcake that the matriarch makes for her kids every time she comes home after a trip. Other recipes will include corn fritters ("which the kids absolutely love"), her grandmother's favorite bread and butter pudding, and her dad's porridge.
Marissa said she is especially excited to share the stories behind the food with readers. "It's the stories behind the food that make them nourishing as well. It's the food like the egg salad sandwich. The first time Matt told me he loved me, he said he wanted me to move to London with him, he packed his mom's egg salad sandwiches, and that's this recipe that I now share with my family. It's nice," Marissa gushed. "I think food has memories. Our sense of taste is all about our memories of whatever it is. It brings together my memories of my childhood and my time in London in a neat, little package."
Watch Marissa dish on the most delicious part of her new L.A. home, below.