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.
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