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Born in New York City to a chef mother and a food-loving father, Knisley grew up in an atmosphere of delicious flavors and enticing aromas. From a young age, she accompanied her mother to restaurant kitchens and fancy catered affairs.
When her parents divorced, Knisley's life changed drastically in some areas and not at all in others. She and her mother moved to the Catskills, but rural life didn't immediately suit Knisley. She missed the city, with its gourmet shops and hundreds of restaurants. Yet food still ruled her life, as her mother became involved in farmers markets, hosting country parties for Manhattanites, and growing her own vegetables. Eventually, Knisley learned to appreciate the country, with its farm-fresh milk and garden-warm tomatoes.
Although she moved to Chicago to study art, she didn't forget her foodie background. She ate her way across the Windy City and worked for a while in a cheese shop, until the call of New York became too strong. Now back in her beloved city, Knisley is still cooking, drawing, and eating, looking forward to many more decades of the same.
Relish is a wonderfully written and drawn graphic memoir of Knisley's childhood, travels, discovery of new foods, and life-long foodie friends. Her obvious love of the best cookies, the flakiest croissants, and the crispest pickles shines throughout this charming story of a life in food. And have no fear, although her mother and father are horrified, Knisley still occasionally craves good old fast-food fries and burgers, even when in Italy.
I particularly liked reading about her trip to Mexico, when she and a friend, both about eleven years old, were allowed to explore the town on their own. I also had to chuckle about why she has absolutely no guilt about eating foie gras and roast goose. These and other stories make Lucy Knisley's Relish a don't-miss read. You'll love seeing the world of food through her eyes.
What foodie memoir is complete without at least a couple of recipes. Here's how Knisley makes summer pickles (click to enlarge; pp. 142-143)
Buy Relish at an Indie or a bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program.
First Second, 2013
Source: Review (see review policy)