I heard many good things about A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, and when I was shopping at Barnes and Noble while in Michigan I couldn’t resist it any longer. That was the first time I actually picked it up and flipped through it, and I immediately knew it would be a book that I loved.
From the book jacket:
When Molly Wizenberg’s father died of cancer, everyone told her to go easy on herself, to hold off on making any major decisions for a while. But when she tried going back to her apartment in Seattle and returning to graduate school, she knew it wasn’t possible to resume life as though nothing had happened. So she went to Paris, a city that held vivid memories of a childhood trip with her father, of early morning walks on the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter and the taste of her first pain au chocolat. She was supposed to be doing research for her dissertation, but more often, she found herself peering through the windows of chocolate shops, trekking across town to try a new pâtisserie, or tasting cheeses at outdoor markets, until one evening when she sat in the Luxembourg Gardens reading cookbooks until it was too dark to see, she realized that her heart was not in her studies but in the kitchen.
At first, it wasn’t clear where this epiphany might lead. Like her long letters home describing the details of every meal and market, Molly’s blog Orangette started out merely as a pleasant pastime. But it wasn’t long before her writing and recipes developed an international following. Every week, devoted readers logged on to find out what Molly was cooking, eating, reading, and thinking, and it seemed she had finally found her passion. But the story wasn’t over: one reader in particular, a curly-haired, food-loving composer from New York, found himself enchanted by the redhead in Seattle, and their email correspondence blossomed into a long-distance romance.
In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother’s pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won’t be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots.
I did not want this lovely book to end. I love memoirs that center around food and recipes, and this is one of the best ones I’ve read. I’m happy that she also blogs so I can look forward to more stories and recipes from her coming into my feed reader. I also can’t wait to try many of the recipes she includes.
Here’s one of my favorite paragraphs from the book:
“My ex-boyfriend Lucas liked a band called Dirty Three. I was always fond of that name, especially for a kind of melancholic, unshaven trio, which is what they are, but they had an album title that was even better. It was called Whatever You Love, You Are. Isn’t that perfect? That album title is probably a good part of why we got together – he told me about it on our first date – but I figure it’s as valid a reason as any. I mean, think about it: whatever you love, you are. I want to believe in that.” (page 153)
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs, especially food memoirs. It’s wonderful.
EDIT: I also found this link where you can read all of her monthly columns for Bon Appetit Magazine.
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