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

4.4 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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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
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Product Details

  • Series: Relish
  • Paperback: 192 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Growing up, Lucy’s parents loved food. Her mom, who liked to work in kitchens in New York, turned caterer after her parents’ divorce. Her dad just loved good food. As she grew older and more appreciative of good cooking, Lucy never forgot her roots or her ingrained love of food. Told in chapters titled with her favorite food dishes, Lucy talks about her first delicious bites of each dish as well as some of her later life experiences. A fun read for fellow foodies everywhere.

The illustrations were colorful, fairly easy to follow, and complemented the text. The story was a little dry in parts and I had a hard time getting into the story. The recipes inside were enjoyable to look at, but I hadn't had a chance to try any yet. Overall, I think people interested in food will enjoy this book, but as a stand-alone biography, probably not.
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By P.M. on July 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a foodie, self-proclaimed, and the first of my bloodline (as far back as I can tell). I wish I had the author's life growing up. I read this and it reminds me of why I love good food. I don't mean fancy food. I mean quality food. Tomatoes that actually taste like something. Cheese that comforts my soul. Fresh warm bread that could end wars.

The art in the book is charming, and fits the story quite well. The recipes are a lovely touch. I was satisfied when I finished reading the book. And, yet, a little hungry.
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