My Life in the Kitchen
by Lucy Knisley
I picked this book up on a whim at the library, knowing I\’d seen it mentioned on a few blogs. The first few pages are kind of an info dump on how involved her family is with fine food- her mother was a caterer and a chef, her father a proclaimed gourmand- and I thought how dull is this going to be? But then it starts to tell a personal story, and ended up being rather delightful.
It\’s basically a memoir centered around food. Knisley tells what it was like growing up with parents who were devout foodies, and how startled she was to discover junk food much later than other kids. How on family trips she and a friend explored a Mexican town pretty much unsupervised and delighted in the street food, and later how disconcerting it was to encounter a totally foreign cuisine in Japan. How family meals shaped her family, and continued to connect them even after her parents split up. Days spent helping her mother in farmer\’s markets, working behind a cheese counter, getting to tour behind-the-scenes in the restaurant of a fancy kitchen. Describing different cities she lived in via their restaurants and growth in foodie movements. All around ode to our deep connections with what we eat- secret pleasures, handed-down skills, visceral memories. Her struggles to master certain dishes, her efforts to impress or comfort friends with food she made. She shares recipes in a picture format, and gives tips to use in the kitchen. It\’s not only about how certain culinary traditions lived through her family, but also a story of growing-up, with plenty of funny moments.
Fair warning: in the section where the kids are roaming unsupervised in Mexico, the author indulged in fast food and her friend bought porn magazines. Covers are shown in the pictures. They\’re not detailed, and not very large, but it\’s very obvious what they are. (Oddly enough, the parents seemed to know about this and ignored the boy\’s growing collection of magazines until in the airport on the way home they obliquely shamed him into dumped them in the trash). So be advised, not a book for younger readers in spite of the cartoony nature of the artwork.
Must try a few of the recipes!
Rating: 3/5 173 pages, 2013