Cooking for Her Eyes | Transcription of a Sonata

A Story of Music, Food, Love, and Death

Fence Design

A splendid exploration of how true passions color our life experiences everyday, Chicago-based architect Susan Uehara Rakstang’s memoir Cooking for Her Eyes: Transcription of a Sonata tells a story of life and death, friendship and family—all through the lens of the author’s life-long relationships to music, food, and art.

Cooking For Her Eyes: Transcription of a Sonata A Story of Music,...
  • Rakstang, Susan Uehara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Susan Rakstang’s memoir recalls her early life as the child of Japanese American parents and her mother’s cooking lessons full of delicious  tastes, exquisite fragrances, and the visual art of preparing food;  through her fast-paced, frenzied years in a battle with time juggling her  responsibilities as a wife, mother of two children, and working outside  the home as an architect—a pioneering path not often pursued by  women in the mid-1970s—and then after retirement, when life suddenly  takes a dark turn. Susan’s beloved mother suffers a stroke and her friend  Margaret, a pastry chef, receives a terrifying diagnosis of stage-four  cancer of the tongue. With both women’s lives hanging perilously in  the balance, Susan spends her days and evenings alternately tending  to each. Learning Margaret’s cancer treatment will cause horrific pain  and temporary loss of taste, Susan develops a pureed food preparation  technique for her friend’s meals, focusing on the natural, visual beauty of  food, and cooks for Margaret’s eyes. 

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Blending the detail and precision of an architect with the color, tempo,  and texture of her classical music roots, Susan beckons her readers to  embrace their senses as she takes them on her journey of music, food,  love, and death in Cooking for Her Eyes (Quarter Rest Publications;  October 1, 2022). Organizing her story as Beethoven structured his  Sonata No. 8, she transcribes her anxiety, passion, joy, sorrow, and  resolution as the maestro expressed in his sonata. 

Susan entered the male dominated world of architecture in the 1970s as a mother of two and  eventually started her own architecture firm. Now retired, she lives in  Chicago’s West Loop with her husband, Bob, and their cockapoo, Tony.  

Susan’s memoir Cooking for Her Eyes is her first book and was inspired  by her upbringing as well as her experiences with food, art, and  music throughout her life, especially when she found herself caring  for both her ailing mother and for a dear friend who developed  tongue cancer. You can find recipes and more information about the book at



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