28 June 2014

Weekend Cooking: Delancey by Molly Wizenberg

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend 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.

Delancy by Molly WizenbergAuthor, writer, blogger Molly Wizenberg was fully aware that her new husband, Brandon Pettit, had a somewhat flighty nature, so she didn't pay too much attention when one day he announced that he'd like to open a restaurant--a pizzeria no less. In fact, she didn't even really read his business plan.

But unlike several of his other dreams, this one stuck. And before she knew it, Wizenberg not only owned a restaurant but was working in it too. Well, the journey wasn't quite that fast or smooth, and Wizenberg's second memoir, Delancey, revolves around the story of how the restaurant came to be, although she also, as the subtitle indicates, talks about her husband, herself, and her marriage.

Wizenberg takes a frank, honest approach this story that is not so much about the making of their restaurant as it is about the process and how it affected their marriage and personal life and the lessons learned on many fronts. One of the strong focal points was how the experience of creating Delancey was also a journey of self-discovery for the author.

Written in a conversational style that's easy to relate to, Delancey shows us the human side of opening a restaurant, from conception to completion. The project changed the way the couple ate, entertained, socialized, and handled their money. As you can imagine, the business took over everything, and its effects were felt even before they had a location.

As Wizenberg points out, in some ways she's the polar opposite of her husband: she's the practical, detail person and Pettit is the big picture guy. Fortunately, by pooling their personalities and talents and getting help from friends and colleagues, they were able to create Delancey almost from the ground up. And despite the inevitable setbacks and stress, they also managed to keep their marriage strong.

In between the stories of recipe development, employee problems, and passing health inspections, Wizenberg shares a few recipes that have particular meaning to her. Some came from her mother or friends and others were discovered or developed by Wizenberg herself. Be sure to read the recipe introductions, which give additional insight into the author's life. I haven't tried any of the dishes, but they sound good.

I'm sure the couple must have gotten fairly sick of pizza over the many months that Pettit perfected first his dough and then his toppings, but readers will be left with an overwhelming craving to eat wood-fired pizza, and lots of it. Further, the descriptions of the restaurant will make everyone want to eat there. I sure wish I lived closer to Seattle.

Delancey is an engaging, easy-to-read memoir of what happens when you follow your passion. Sometimes dreams really do come true.

For more on Molly Wizenberg, check out her very popular food (and more!) blog, Orangette.

I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Blackstone Audio; 6 hr, 20 min) read by Caroline Shaffer.  Although my full audiobook review will be available from AudioFile magazine, let me cut to the chase and say that Shaffer put in a great performance.

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2014
Source: Review--audio (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 6/28/14, 7:16 AM  

This sounds right up my alley - I love "founding restaurant" stories! My favorite part of Marcus Sammuelsson's memoir was the behind the scenes story of his founding of Red Rooster. I'm adding this one to my TBR list.

Beth S. 6/28/14, 7:39 AM  

This book sounds like a great listen. I'll definitely have to check out the audio.

PS -- sorry I posted my link twice. It gave me an error message so I assumed it didn't post. Feel free to delete one of them. I tried to delete one myself but it wouldn't let me.

Jackie McGuinness 6/28/14, 7:42 AM  

Interesting! I have this book on my TBR list but didn't realize that she was Orangette!

JoAnn 6/28/14, 7:49 AM  

I really liked her earlier book, A Homemade Life, and this one sounds just as good!

rhapsodyinbooks 6/28/14, 7:58 AM  

I don't know if I would ever get sick of pizza, but I'd like to be in a situation to test it out! :--)

Rhiannon 6/28/14, 8:48 AM  

I really really want to read this and it was way down in the TBR but I'm thinking it may be moving up on the list!

Anonymous,  6/28/14, 9:21 AM  

This book sounds fascinating, I really want to read it!

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/28/14, 10:41 AM  

I have this one on my Kindle, I'm going to read it next.

Daryl 6/28/14, 3:51 PM  

brought to mind the book Sarabeth wrote about her bakery ...

bermudaonion 6/28/14, 7:03 PM  

Oh man, this sounds like my kind of book!

Sheila (Bookjourney) 6/29/14, 9:17 AM  

I have this book and I am excited to read it! Actually I am excited to read anything food related - its been a while since I have read a good food book and I have so many to choose from :)

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 6/29/14, 10:15 AM  

I like the sound of this one! We frequent a local "pizza joint" (as Elle calls it) and I can't imagine being around pizza all day everyday. Ha! But I bet this makes for a fascinating read. I would think that the restaurant business would be at times a very stressful one!

Andi 6/29/14, 3:18 PM  

I recently finished Delancey, and my review is scheduled for the coming week. I loved the writing style, and I think I'll even try a few of the recipes! Nice review!

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