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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2012
Luisa writes beautifully about her life, her family, and her thinking. The writing at moments feels rough - not in an unprofessional way, but in a sort of gritty and true way - she is not stylizing anything or putting a happy sheen on things. My favorite moment in the book comes when she and her dad are struggling a bit in their relationship after she has moved to Berlin and he feels abandoned. We hear Luisa working through it for herself, and we know that eventually she and her dad are okay again - but there is no shiny, happy, immediate "making up" that happens. And it feels so real and uncontrived. I love that she included those sorts of stories, and not just positive forward-moving moments (though there are plenty of those too).

The recipes all look great, and I was startled how much I learned about German cuisine (who knew they were such seasonal eaters in Berlin!). Thanks Luisa for such a thoughtful and clear-voiced look at young adulthood and its challenges, adventures, joys and sorrows. (Also, for what it's worth - I read this in one night!)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2012
I enjoyed this book, despite the fact at times the author became so bogged down in describing her feelings of unhappiness. I found myself in parts just skimming as quickly as I could, or skipping a few pages ahead as she expounded on how confused and unhappy she was about where she fit in, Berlin, or NYC. Both fabulous places, hard to feel sorry for her having to choose. That being said, she has some fun adventures, and includes some interesting characters throughout the book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2012
I read "My Berlin Kitchen" during our last rainy, chilly weekend. I found the author to be endearing and her story to be interesting and relatable. While reading I couldn't help but highlight sections that I wanted to share with friends- not being able to find leafy greens in Germany, the really cold winter of 2009, an unlikely message from a pigeon in Paris. The recipes are simple enough to make for everyday meals, but tasty enough to make for something special. I especially enjoyed the braised endive and the potato salad recipes. I enjoyed the author's story so much I sent my sister a copy of the book so that she could share in on the fun. I also appreciated seeing somethign that takes place in Berlin, as its often overlooked for the more glamorous Paris, London, or Rome stories.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2012
I really wanted to love this book, but I found myself skipping over large chunks just trying to get through it. I feel like I have read this book before, so many of the stories are found in the other hundreds of food memoires that have been written in the last few years. I love the author's blog, but her voice just doesn't stand out in this book.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
I was looking forward to this book because I find the author's blog charming and engaging. Alas, the book is very superficial. There is no character development and few compelling stories to sustain the reader. The writing often falls into cliches. And there is more than a bit of "poor me." I wanted to love this book and just didn't.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2012
Agree with some of the others that the author is very much into herself and had no clue how to grow up. Although I didn't grow up in Berlin, I bought the book mostly for her authentic German (Italian, French) recipes after each chapter. They are all fairly simple and somehow easy to make if you know what they are supposed to taste like. For some of us Germans, we totally understand her writings about the condition of Berlin, the Wall and how the German people like to live, its totally down memory lane without being depressed about the afterlife of the war. It is really an interesting story with how she finally ended up being in Berlin and hopefully sticking to Max, who seemed incredidable patient. Not sure though if anybody besides having German roots would enjoy it to the same extent, but its worth exploring.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2012
From my review on my blog, Willow Bird Baking:

My Berlin Kitchen is a love story, a story of place, a memoir, a cookbook -- so many different things. I've been a bit disillusioned with cookbooks lately. Everyone has one and they're all beautiful, but the focus is on the food. Maybe it sounds odd or counter-intuitive for a food blogger to say the focus shouldn't be the food, but I always feel like people can find recipes anywhere. There are websites and books full of great dishes, cooking tips and techniques, and reviews.

What I'm looking for in a food blog -- and, I now realize, even in a cookbook -- is a person. I want the intersection of a person's fragile or sacred moments AND the food that carries them through. I want to be invited in. In My Berlin Kitchen, Luisa opens the door, invites me, and even serves me some cake. The beautiful, personal nature of the narrative and its gorgeous food descriptions make it such a wonderful book to settle onto the couch with. I hope you'll pick up a copy.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2012
I've been an avid reader of this author's blog, The Wednesday Chef, for quite some time. Her recipes are simple but interesting and her stories are so well written. This book combines the two...it was fun to read more of her story, including her childhood history and relationships that led her to follow her passion for both food and writing. I'd still enjoy this book if I hadn't been a fan already but it's a unique experience to be apart of both. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys food writing and if you proudly display books like me, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the visual components of the book including a great font, nice jacket with a very pretty grey and gold hardcover...will look great on your shelves and you'll enjoy the read!
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2012
I really wanted to like this book, because I love to cook, eat, read and write, and especially since my husband is German and we lived in Germany for three years. But while I was reading it, I couldn't figure out why I had to be interested in the author and her story. She seems incredibly self-absorbed and self-centered and frankly, her life story is not that interesting or uncommon. Maybe she's not that way in real life, but that's the way she came across in the book. I agree with the other reviewers that there is a real lack of character development and the writing style is immature and slightly annoying at times. Also, I found at least three typos in the book. I haven't tried the recipes, but only a couple were compelling.
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