The author of this palatable graphic memoir begins by telling us:
“The book you’re reading contains a collection of my favorite stories, crammed with the taste-memories that draw them up through my mind from years ago.”
She writes, “I hope that you find your own appetite piqued….”
Well she couldn’t have been more correct about that!
Knisley was raised by food-oriented parents, who had food-oriented jobs and food-oriented friends, and we get to know about many of them in this not-necessarily-in-chronological-order salmagundi of food stories and suggestions.
Knisley clearly loves food, and peppers her account with recipes, colorful pictures of baking, cooking, and eating, and anecdotes about food-related experiences. My favorite chapter has to do with trying to recreate a particularly wonderful croissant she found in a small bakery in Venice:
“The layers were flaky and buttery, concealing the fresh jam in the depths of the thickest part of the crescent, where the pastry was so soft that it nearly disintegrated in my mouth. Unspeakably good.”
After innumerable unsuccessful attempts, she gave up, concluding:
“I suspect that the ingredient I lacked in Chicago was the anticipation and delight of waking on a morning of possibilities, far from home and school, in an ancient, watery city.”
I could so relate to this. I have had so many similar failures of replication, only to conclude that atmosphere and mood play huge roles in taste!
Evaluation: This little volume may never replace Marcel Proust in English departments for a paean to the evocative power of food, but for my money, it’s way more enjoyable. The art work is bright and colorful, and the text even includes restaurant recommendations. Food lovers will savor this mouth-watering tribute to food.
Published by First Second Books, 2013