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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen Paperback – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 970L (What's this?)
  • Series: Relish
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: First Second (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596436239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436237
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-In 12 autobiographical vignettes, a comic artist recalls growing up surrounded by a love of food. Knisley shares coming-of-age experiences in tandem with recipes for some memorable dishes. All are illustrated with full-color cartoons that guide readers step-by-step to the creation of these culinary delights. α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Knisley, daughter of a chef mother and gourmand father, had the kind of upbringing that would make any foodie salivate, and she’s happy to share. In this collection of memories studded with recipes, she explores how food shaped her family life, friendships, travel experiences, and early career as a cartoonist. Loosely connected chapters chart a child- and young adulthood surrounded by cooks and bakers, bouncing between Manhattan kitchens and upstate farmhouses, and through art school and the booming culinary scene in Chicago. Knisley’s artwork has a classic, Richard Scarry vibe, and her illustrated recipes—from a family-special leg of lamb and huevos rancheros to the trick for perfectly sautéed mushrooms—are particularly delightful and inventive. Knisley tempers any navel-gazing impulses with humor, humility, and honesty, noting, for example, that even someone who loves fine food can still put away a truckload of McDonald’s fries from time to time. Just about everything in this rambling memoir is handled with good cheer, which hints at the positive energy and personal fulfillment Knisley has wrought from her young life in food. --Ian Chipman

Customer Reviews

I read this book in one sitting.
Patricia R. Andersen
Lucy Knisley shares her memories of her life through her love and appreciation of food, that has meant as much to her as the people that gave it to her.
Vandal
A enjoyable book with wonderful illustrations.
Grainne O'Grady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chapati VINE VOICE on March 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen is a memoir in comic form about the author's life experiences with food. I read it over the course of a couple of nights and really enjoyed it - though I highly suggest you read it when you have delicious food in the house and not when you are in the midst of a grocery shopping drought like me. It's a little depressing to read a book about the joys of cooking and eating well when you yourself are eating Morningstar buffalo wings and whatever you can salvage from a bag of green beans. But other people plan their grocery shopping better than I do! And Knisley does spend some of her book defending the joys of fast food restaurants and Ramen soup, so I didn't feel so bad.

And honestly, Knisley is such a bright and cheerful person who draws such bright and cheerful (and colorful!) pictures and shares such bright and cheerful food stories that it's impossible to feel bad when reading this book. I'm a big food lover myself, so I can identify with Knisley's inability to separate places she's visited from the food she's eaten while there. And the way she talks about potluck dinners and having friends over to share a meal - I absolutely agree with her, it's one of my favorite things in the world to have or attend a dinner party with close friends.

This book doesn't have a plot. It is episodic in nature, starting with Knisley's childhood first in Manhattan, and then in upstate New York, through trips to Japan and Mexico and then her college stint in Chicago. She ends each chapter with a recipe (shared in a lovely cartoon format that I thoroughly appreciated), and throughout the book she has a lot of other really interesting tips and tricks.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ChibiNeko VINE VOICE on April 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I slightly waffled between giving this four stars and giving it five stars. The book has some minor flaws, but none that really ruined it for me as a whole. Relish pretty much falls into the type of graphic novel I've come to expect from this publisher: a nice alternative/indie type niche read that is of good quality.

While this is undeniably an autobiography of her life, it's also a story of food. Good food, bad food, and all that falls between those two groups. Knisley utilizes an episodic format with recipes or culinary advice sandwiched inbetween the tales. Most of the story is told in a linear format, but there are one or two mentions of her childhood later in the book. This works well, as it keeps the reader from getting too bored with the minute details. After all, meals are a relatively short portion of our lives and daily routine when you get down to it (even those meals that last for a few hours), so it makes sense that the stories should only be a few pages at a time. This might frustrate some readers that want to know more about a specific time period, though. I have to say that occasionally I wanted to read more about one or two things, such as Knisley's time at college.

The artwork was something I really enjoyed and it helped out in some instances where the words couldn't entirely portray the scene alone. Now you might be thinking "but it's a graphic novel- it's naturally reliant upon pictures, right?" I'd agree, but there are some instances in graphic novels where the scene is given a complete narration/description, but is so well depicted in the artwork that the written descriptions are superfluous and/or just a bonus extra.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Whidbey Mary VINE VOICE on April 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am really tired of self proclaimed foodies who blog/write about food (My apologies to those who are true foodies and understand the fine art of creative, insightful, useful blogging - you are a rare breed). I find too much out there that is pompous, self-serving, and boring to read. So thank you Ms. Knisley for your sense of humor, clever illustrations, and honest approach to food and why/how we love it. I took my own trip down memory lane right along with you. You have a realistic and refreshing POV so please continue to write about food - or anything else for that matter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Patterson on May 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a delightful book. As someone who grew up on an odd combination of weight watchers and junk food, this book tells the story of the food life I wished I'd had. The illustrated recipes are a nice touch, they made me wish for an entire cookbook in the style.

Four stars instead of five for the name dropping and format that was too small.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Becky at "One Literature Nut" VINE VOICE on April 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Relish is a graphic novel about the author's life. With a chef mother and a foodie father, Kinsley reminisces about her childhood of salmon mousse, foi gras, and specialty cheeses. Mixed with her memories of sitting on restaurant floors (getting leftover creme brulee at the end of the night), are admissions of her love for junk food and McDonalds, much to her parents' horror. From childhood to college, Kinsley shares her unique journey with food and how it has shaped her memories and connections to people she remembers and loves. Relish then is really about why we eat and how that shapes our connections to life and love.

I really did enjoy Relish, with the author's story and her unique experience with great food. While I laughed at a pixie stick moment at the airport on her way to Mexico, or a McDonald's teenage rebellion moment with her father in Italy, I really just enjoyed hearing about the great foods she was exposed to. There is this nice apricot-filled croissant moment in the book that made me smile. Who doesn't have food memories? It's such a strong sense, that it's hard not to have food memories.

There are a few recipes scattered throughout her tales, such as for chocolate chips cookies, sangria, chai tea, and perfectly pan-sauteed mushrooms. The recipes are a fun addition to the story, and appropriately add to this love story with food. I don't think you have to be a foodie to enjoy this little graphic novel. We all create food memories, so who wouldn't relate to her tale?
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More About the Author

Lucy Knisley is an illustrator, comic artist and author. I'll bet you're wondering how to pronounce her name (the K is silent).

Lucy is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she went to study painting, and ended up making comics. She then studied at the Center for Cartoon Studies, where she received a scholarship to pursue her MFA (completed in June, 2009).

Beginning with a love for Archie comics, Tintin and Calvin and Hobbes, she has been making comics in some form or another since she could hold a pencil.

She lives in Chicago, where she makes comics, does freelance illustration, and teaches the occasional comics workshop. Check out her blog and web comic essay series on Lucyknisley.com!

Her Books:

French Milk, from Touchstone Publishing, is a drawn journal about living (and eating) in Paris with her mother. (From Touchstone Publishing from Simon and Schuster), August of 2008.

Relish, from First Second Books, is about growing up in the food industry. (First Second Books, April 2013.) It won an Alex Award from the American Librarian Association, was a NYT and Amazon bestseller, and a Goodreads top graphic novel of 2013.

An Age of License and Displacement are paired travelogues about youth and family, coming out this year (Fantagraphics Books, 2014).

She continues to work away on two more graphic novels, and is excited to bring more comics to share with readers.

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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
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