Review of “Relish: My Life In The Kitchen” by Lucy Knisley

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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!

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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.

Mushrooms

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.”

Croissant

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.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by First Second Books, 2013

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14 Responses to Review of “Relish: My Life In The Kitchen” by Lucy Knisley

  1. sandynawrot says:

    I keep checking my library to see if they’ve gotten this in…SO up my alley. I really liked French Milk, which is very food oriented as well.

  2. Trish says:

    Yes! I so loved this book. I checked it out from my library but really want my own copy. Loved the recipes at the end of each chapter and the little tidbits. Mmmmmm.

  3. Trisha says:

    Yay for food! Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. I really liked French Milk and am disappointed my library system has never purchased this book. May just have to go buy it myself…

  5. Beth F says:

    I loved this!! I don’t own a lot of graphic books but I have this on my shelf.

  6. Hahahaha, I just read this and kept thinking how far distant Lucy Knisley is from my life. I can’t cook ANYTHING. I have two and a half company meals and that is all that I have in my life.

  7. I loved this book. I can’t cook anything but this book made me wish I could.

  8. litandlife says:

    What fun! I’m going to have to pick this one up.

  9. What a cool book, it’s been on my list for awhile and I have seen other people review it favorably as well. Must get to it soon.

  10. This looks like a fun book! And – though I’m not a baker, I suspect that it is very difficult to make croissants at home! Seems it would take a deft hand with the dough to make it just the right lightness and fluffiness for a croissant.

  11. I loved this book! Such fun!

  12. I want this book… and I now want rancheros! MMMMMM!

  13. Anita says:

    This sounds like a fun book, I think it’s time for a library visit.

  14. sagustocox says:

    This sounds so dangerous! I may get fat reading it!

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