Most helpful positive review
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Lovely memoir w/ recipes, fast read
on September 23, 2012
I bought this on preorder thinking this was a cookbook, alas it isn't, however it was still very enjoyable.
If you are a follower of the blog, as I am, you are already a fan of her cooking, but I think even for those who aren't cooks will find lots to enjoy in this memoir.
Luisa has lived quite a lot in her years, and takes you on a journey from Berlin, to Boston, New York and Paris and back again, with some extended stays in Italy along the way. Many can relate to her story of being homesick, being unsure of yourself, falling in love and ultimately finding who you are. Along the way she has a nice selection of recipes, which correspond to each time in her life. Her reflections and the enclosed recipes are a vacation in itself, especially with her takes on authentic Italian and German fare.
Interestingly, she does not go very in-depth on her "Love Story", as mentioned in the subtitle. Even though it is a memoir, you only get small glimpses of her personal life and relationship. You learn the object of her affections has an angular face and kind eyes, but that is about it. The true object of affections referenced in the "love story" of the title is Berlin itself, as this is much more a story about finding yourself, less of finding someone. I would have loved more development of the characters, but you get the feel that Luisa is a very private person.
I have not tried the recipes yet, but as she is a cookery writer, I would have liked the recipes to have taken center stage, not tacked on at the end of each chapter as an afterthought. Maybe they should have come at the beginning so that they felt more integral.
A minor point-- I also would have liked some substitutes for Quark in the recipe for Kasekuchen. As someone who has lived in Germany and is familiar with the dish, I know it is difficult to find quark here (as she alludes to and helpfully provides some stockists). What would have really set this apart is to have found an appropriate/passable substitute with ingredients that are readily available for her American readers. Maybe she can try that in the next version.
All in all it is an enjoyable way to pass a Saturday, and the recipes will give you a reason to pick it up again.