Can cooking serve as a balm for depression? For one British author, it saved her life.

Ella Risbridger’s new cookbook opens predictably enough: “There are lots of ways to start a story, but this one begins with a chicken.” Here is the universal emblem of home cooking in the West — the poultry for every pot.

The second sentence is a little more ambiguous. “It was the first story I ever wrote about food, and it begins with a chicken in a cloth bag hanging on the back of a kitchen chair.”

And then the third. “It was dark outside, and I was lying on the hall floor, looking at the chicken through the door, and looking at the rust in the door hinges, and wondering if I was ever going to get up.”

Spoiler alert: As the British writer promises, “this is a hopeful story … a

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