Book Reviews Books for Adults Non-fiction

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg

8 of 10: A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table is a book that made me want to eat cool salads made from chopped pistachios and bittersweet chocolate. Also, I now want to move to Seattle and buy my fish straight from the sea.

After book blogs, my biggest chunk of Google Reader is probably dedicated to cooking blogs – I love to cook and bake, but I generally require a picture of the food to do so, which makes food blogs perfect for me. I could browse Smitten Kitchen all day long.

Last year, I read several food/restaurant memoirs and loved them all, but this is the first one I’ve read since then. This one was different because it didn’t have quite the same hook as the other ones (the previous ones focused on working in a super fancy restaurant, going to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, or living life without gluten).

Molly Wizenberg’s story isn’t so much like that – it’s more about her whole life, life as a child, then in college, living in Paris, then as a graduate student, and her ongoing relationship with food. There are some ongoing threads, like her father who loves to cook and whose death is the spur she needs to realize her heart lies in cooking and food, rather than as a Ph.D. candidate, but there are also many sweet standalone anecdotes. Also, I never felt like the stories were trying too hard to relate to food, which I appreciated.

The stories are so sweet and most of the recipes are, shockingly, things I would actually eat. Salmon in cider cream sauce? Yes, please. A few, of course, made me grimace a little or think, “wow, I could never ever eat so many salads,” but overall, it was a lovely blend of stories and real food.

I loved this book – it was just so delightful and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys memoirs or cooking or both.

And if you end up making a pistachio and chocolate salad, please invite me over.

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8 Comments

  • Reply RA June 23, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I'm so glad you liked this one! I thought the book was just lovely.

  • Reply Lexilooo June 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I recently heard about this book and have been wanting to read it! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Reply Holly and Brad June 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Aren't you at camp?? I'm so confused…

  • Reply ellen June 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I've had my eye on this book. 🙂

  • Reply artemisia June 23, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    This book is on my list! Thank you for the review; it just bumped it up a notch or two!

  • Reply Peacefull Reader June 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I love to cook also and happy to be introduced to Smitten Kitchen!

  • Reply Lisa June 24, 2009 at 12:06 am

    I'm so glad you liked it! The three things I most wanted to make out of it were: the potato salad from her dad, the chocolate wedding cakes, and (oddly) the radishes and butter on good bread. I had to return the book without making any of it so I guess that means I have to try radishes since it's the only one I can remember. Eventually I will get my own copy.

  • Reply Angela Noelle June 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Is it wrong that I really, really love the cover? That I would consider its purchase solely because of said cover? Is it?

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