Review: Relish by Lucy Knisley

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. First Second. Written by Lucy Knisley. Art by Lucy Knisley. relish

Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by herobsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe—many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy’s original
inventions.

This is a story of one woman’s love affair with food. Definitely a story I could relate to, a story most people should be able to relate to. Relish is a book that will inspire you to revisit your own journey with one of our most basic, and necessary activities and I believe all reviews/conversations about this book should start with people sharing their own experiences.

My parent weren’t foodies by any means  but I loved food growing up. From my mother’s spaghetti sauce to my grandmother’s lime velvet salad, there were (and still are) dishes that always bring up certain memories. Ravioli makes me think of the French baby sitter we had one summer, maple flavoured anything calls to mind trips to my family’s sugar bush and corn on the cobb brings me right back to the scattering on farms that surrounded my childhood home. I went vegetarian as a teenager had to start cooking for myself – my mom refusing after a long work day to prepare two separate meals. I fell in love with cooking and trying new things and seeing what different flavours tasted like together.

When I went off to university I began  waiting tables at a number of different restaurants to pay the rent. I served everything from Asian fusion, to lunch buffets, to 5 star dining. Since I staying in town for the summers as well, when all the students were gone, many of my friends were food industry people as well. When all of your friends are waiters, chefs and bartenders good food and drink are always part of the equation. I have never ate so well in my life and have not since leaving the food industry when I moved to Toronto. Although Toronto has provided a whole new chapter in my relationship with food (there is a whole restaurant that is based around meatballs!)

In Relish, Lucy Knisley tells her own story beautifully. Drawing on all the senses. I really felt like I could smell and taste the food she was describing. Her early years with food were very different then mine but she makes them feel incredibly easy to relate to. And the stuff I could recognize later on put a smile on my face as it brought to mind my own memories. Food is a very personal and sensual thing and Relish reminds us of all the good times we’ve had with it.

The whole book is filled with beautiful artwork. It’s very colourful and full of life and the style is very accessible for all ages.The recipes especially were a fun touch. I wanted to try everything! I’m still working my way through them but I can definitely vouch for the chai tea – it  was especially tasty.

I highly recommend you pick up Relish and take a trip down memory lane. But be warned – this story will leave you hungry and ready for a food adventure!

5 out of 5

– Christa

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One thought on “Review: Relish by Lucy Knisley

  1. Pingback: Best Books of 2013 - More Than Just Magic

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