Wednesday, September 2, 2009

foodie lit roundup

Due to being occupied by my book club's latest choice, I have only recently read one foodie book. I know. Gasp.

That being said, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I liked it as soon as I took a glance at the inviting front cover and the book design. (I am a book nerd. I worked in publishing in grad school. I notice book design and check for the name of the designer, just so that he/she gets his/her name read by at least one person.) Anyhow.

The book was filled with short essays and punctuated (like any good foodie book) with recipes that have tie-ins to the stories. Wizenberg started writing on her blog Orangette and ultimately scored a book deal. I never knew about Orangette before I read the book, and now I am a devoted reader (see the link to the side of this post...). Her writing style was witty and beautiful, often touching. I will admit I shed tears as she described the last few days with her father as he lay dying of cancer. She described those awkward moments, the grief and sorrow as well as the relief for the end of suffering so beautifully, I almost forgot I was reading a book that centered around food. It felt more like a book that centered around the human experience with food as a solid supporting player. This was also true in the sections describing the development of her relationship with her husband.

I also loved that Wizenberg didn't write a memoir about how she came to realize food was her true passion and went to culinary school or became a chef. Instead, she realized that her passion was writing about food. It was an original idea, which still required a great deal of cooking and a giant leap of faith. The recipes are great and leap off the page. I tried the chocolate chip banana bread with ginger first, and it received rave reviews.

This book will make you laugh, smirk, cry, smile, grieve, and salivate. And then run to the grocery store for ingredients...