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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen Paperback – April 2, 2013
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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
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Okay, now to my actual review! If you've read any other books by Knisley then you'll love this. Relish is a really lovely, slow paced memoir about Knisley's life through food. Each chapter is sort of based around a specific event, and the food is what seems to bring the event all together at the end. There are only a few recipes in the book but they're all accompanied by lovely infographic illustrations and directions. I especially love the cheese guide. This book will make you want to eat at every restaurant she mentions and I dream of her grandma's pickles! I must say I'm actually pretty jealous of her life, she traveled a lot as a kid, and even went to Europe with only a friend as a teen. What I would have given for my mother to let me do that! The way she describes each food item will make your mouth water, never have I craved a good croissant so much! Haha.
Anyway, this is not an action packed spiderman type book, this is not a batman comic, it's a thought out, elegant graphic novel about a girls life through food, suitable for reading with your preteens, as a gift for teenagers, or any adult you know that likes food and art.
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.
I also like the photo album at the end.
I enjoyed this book and will be looking for more Lucy Knisley works soon.
Kinisley has had me in her illustrative storytelling grasp for almost a decade. Her work never loses its charm. That's because she tells real stories with heart. Her illustrations have such life that it never fails to color her books for me.
Packed with recipes and lovely drawings of kitchen life, it's bound to make foodies proud and newbies ready to roll up their sleeves and explore - or order Blue Apron. Lol