30 March 2013

Weekend Cooking: Relish by Lucy Knisley

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

I first learned of Lucy Knisley a few years ago when I read and reviewed her graphic memoir French Milk, about the time she and her mother lived in Paris to celebrate the turning points of their lives. In her new book, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, Knisley focuses on the many ways in which food shaped her childhood and who she eventually became.

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
ISBN-13: 9781596436237
Rating: B+
Source: Review (see review policy)


caite 3/30/13, 6:27 AM  

can I like a memoir..even a food related memoir? Not sure, although the Catskill angle interests me too.

rhapsodyinbooks 3/30/13, 7:32 AM  

I really have to make time to get this author's books - I always enjoy the posts on them! And what a perfect name for this book!

JoAnn 3/30/13, 8:27 AM  

I loved French Milk... this is a must read for me!

bermudaonion 3/30/13, 8:28 AM  

I read this yesterday and thought of you as I read it. Except for her parents' divorce, I thought Knisley childhood was kind of magical.

Uniflame 3/30/13, 8:45 AM  

This sounds like a fun book to read! Thank you for the review!

Amanda 3/30/13, 8:47 AM  

I had no idea this existed!! I adored French Milk and will definitely have to get my hands on this!

jama 3/30/13, 8:48 AM  

I'd seen this one around and have it on my TBR list. What a delightful sounding book. Must get to it soon, along with French Milk.

Sandy Nawrot 3/30/13, 8:58 AM  

I really enjoyed French Milk! I'm off to see if I can find this one.

(Diane) bookchickdi 3/30/13, 11:39 AM  

This book piques my curiosity. She's led such a interesting life and the cover is irresistible. I'm going to look for this one.

Vasilly 3/30/13, 11:51 AM  

I read this last year and really loved it. The trip to Mexico was a really interesting experience to read about.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews 3/30/13, 1:36 PM  

Hi Beth,

I am not a great reader of memoirs or biographies, so this isn't a book that I will be rushing out to buy.

However, Lucy is definitely a very talented artist and cartoonist and I had great fun browsing her website and some of the other books she has had published.

It is nice to come across someone so passionate about all kinds of food, whether it be from a high-class restaurant or a local burger bar. Good food can be found in the most unlikely of places, no matter where you are in the world.

Thanks for sharing this unique and talented author and I hope that you have a lovely Easter,


Ali 3/30/13, 2:11 PM  

What fun--I headed over to my library website to place a hold on this, and found out that the author is coming to speak at our library in a couple of weeks!

Carole 3/30/13, 2:42 PM  

Just loved the pickle recipe! Happy HOlidays.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 3/30/13, 2:42 PM  

How fun!! The inset you included is absolutely adorable and if it's any indication of the rest of the book I think I need to read this one soon! I remember seeing French Milk around but haven't read that one either. And now my mouth is watering for pickles. Mmmmm!

Joy 3/30/13, 4:54 PM  

This looks like fun! I love the artwork.

Joy's Book Blog

Peaceful Reader 3/30/13, 5:27 PM  

This sounds like a great read. I love making pickles at the end of the summer which might make it worth it to check out this book.

Beth S. 3/30/13, 8:19 PM  

I remember hearing about this book at NCTE in November and wanting to read it right away. Now that I know it's out now, I must get a copy!

Esme 3/31/13, 12:29 PM  

thank you for this-I liked French Milk and want to read this one too now.

Happy Easter.

Leslie @ This is the Refrain 3/31/13, 1:07 PM  

I put this book on hold as soon as I heard about it, but it's still on order at the library. I can't wai tto read it!

Anastasia @ Here There Be Books 3/31/13, 2:40 PM  

I still have not read ANY of her books, though French Milk has been on my wishlist since I started blogging, practically. Ugh! I really want to read Relish! It looks so good!

- Anastasia @ Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

Christine 3/31/13, 3:00 PM  

So fun! I need to look for this AND French Milk!

Jackie McGuinness 3/31/13, 4:53 PM  

Here's mine!

mpartyka 3/31/13, 7:23 PM  

This is my first time feeling I can actually participate in a food post :). I am becoming a baker. There, I said it!

Thanks for hosting this, I see friends participating often.

Rebecca Andoff 4/2/13, 12:01 AM  

I hadn't heard of this one! I enjoyed French Milk, and this one sounds like a great lazy afternoon read :)

Jennifer 4/2/13, 9:03 PM  

I haven't actually read any of Lucy Knisley's graphic novels but I have heard quite a bit about them. I'm a big fan of foodie books since I'm a bit of a foodie myself. I'm definitely going to be adding this to my TBR list as it looks like something that I will undoubtedly enjoy.

Marg 4/6/13, 7:43 PM  

This sounds awesome! I just checked my library and they don't have this one, but they do have French Milk so I have requested it.

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