#CBR8 Review #155

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Besides reading and discussing books, one of the great pleasures in my life is food. I love to cook, and I love to eat. Particularly if surrounded by a bunch of people I love in a warm, cozy environment discussing a variety of interesting topics. So you might say that Lucy Knisley’s food-oriented memoir was bound to tickle my palate.

Knisley’s Relish is a memoir about food and the kitchen, life, and passion. Knisley grew up surrounded by foodies and refined tastes, so she came with prepossessed ideas about how food is grown, cooked, and eaten. The book is split up into several chapters that tend to be more thematic than chronological in focus, and each develops her relationship with food. There are several heartwarming and hilarious anecdotes that help shape Knisley’s identity and her professional career.

I enjoyed this immensely, as I too have had to evolve and adapt my relationship with food. I turned to cooking when I lived by myself in an apartment and decided to start slowly branching out from my mom’s list of favorite recipes. I married an adventurous, cosmopolitan man, and together, we’ve embarked on several cooking odysseys that have been both delicious (the crema de boniato soup we enjoyed at Café Iberico, a Spanish restaurant in Chicago, has turned into a homemade comfort staple during the long winter months) and disastrous (don’t ask either of us about the corn chowder that involved cooking THREE spicy peppers IN their sauce. I still can’t hear the phrase “corn chowder” without intestinal revulsion).

I suspect many of us who love cooking and eating do so for various reasons. Knisley’s gets at the heart of her identity and her relationship with her mom. Mine comes from a love of flavor and a love of hosting. I’ve done my best to move away from the shameful and guilty relationship that Americans so often have with food and tried to eat in ways that bring me health and pleasure simultaneously. Cheers!

[On a separate note, if any of you wants some inspiring vegetarian recipes, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ve developed a trove of meals that don’t require weird or expensive ingredients. I especially pride myself on my homemade refried black beans, which comprised my quesadilla this evening]


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