The wedding was catered by one of Portland’s finest Indian restaurants. There was table after table of delectable and exotic dishes. Each guest brought a dessert to share, so there was an equally bountiful display of treats to choose from.
As we moved through the buffet line, I kept trying to limit myself. Just a scoop of this. A taste of that. But, by the time my plate was full I had barely managed to sample half of the entrees. I quickly polished off that plate and went back for more. And more. Each time I told myself that I should stop. But I couldn’t. It was all so good!
Lucy Knisley’s Relish is just like that meal. It is the perfect blend of memoire and cookbook. And, no mater how hard I tried, I could not put it down. I kept telling myself to slow down and savor the book, but I just had to read more!
Knisley grew up in a house where good food was a part of every day life. Her mother was chef and caterer, and her father enjoyed good food an wine. Knisley grew up surrounded by fresh vegetables, fine cuts of meat, and plenty of cheese.
Early in the book, Knisley explains that she associates memories with the tastes associated with them. From street foods in Mexico to Shepard (Fairey) Pie during finals in college, each taste brings forth the memory of an important moment in her life.
Knisley shares each story with excitement and enthusiasm. Each panel is full of bright colors, smiling people, and plenty of food! Even the challenging times in her life, such as traveling with her father in Europe, have a bit of a sugar coating about them, glossing over the truly rough parts and focusing on the positive.
Each chapter ends with an illustrated recipe for a dish. From cookies to Carbonara, Knisley’s love of cooking comes through. It would have been simple to put together just a simple recipe and an illustration of the finished dish. But Knisley goes the extra step and illustrates each ingredient, each step, and makes the reader believe that this truly is the best version of the food in existence.
After finishing Relish I found myself reflecting on the role of food in my life. I, too, grew up in a household with fresh fruits and vegetables, home made jam, and dinners made with care. The happiest moments in my life have been around the dinner table with good food, god friends, and new memories being made. Relish makes me want to do more of that. It makes me want to gather my friends and family together around the dinner table and savor every moment.
But, knowing me, once that gets started I just won’t be able to stop!
Order your copy of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen now.