Sadly, I did not read this month’s selection for The Kitchen Reader because of a library snafu. Next month’s is on its way to my local branch.
This month’s selection for the Foodie Book Club was A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg, author of this book, writer of this blog, and co-owner of this restaurant (not in chronological order). A Homemade Life chronicles Molly’s life, from growing up in Oklahoma through her wedding in the Pacific Northwest. Her life isn’t particularly extraordinary, but the book finds the significance in a rather normal life.
I really enjoyed this book. As a subscriber to Molly’s blog, the book sometimes felt like a printed collection of blog posts, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s a testament to how good her blog is, and perhaps her blog just reads like chapters of a book. The main reason, though, is that each chapter ends with a recipe related to the story told immediately prior (like a good food blog post) so the structure is familiar. The library copy I read (though I might buy myself the paperback version anyway) somewhat adorably had all of the recipe pages dog-eared for the first third or so of the book.
In some ways reading the book reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, except it would be Cook, Write, Love instead. Both authors effectively take the reader on their journey so that the story is intimate without being uncomfortable; I feel like the author is telling you her story over a glass of wine. At the end of the book I felt like I had made a new friend. There is no great drama or conflict, but I appreciated the honest description of someone struggling with real life (the experience of a foreign exchange, the death of a parent, the decision to go to grad school).
Other than the lovely writing, the recipes looked great. I’ve made a number of dishes from her blog before and been pleased. I was disappointed that I had to return the book to the library ($1.50 in late fees!) before I had a chance to try any or even copy any down, but I know a lot of them are available on her blog.
This was a library book for me, but I might still buy it — mainly for the recipes, but I would enjoy reading it again. The next time I would make one of the recipes first so I wouldn’t get so hungry while reading it.
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