Friday, May 7, 2010

Foodie Book Club Review #1

This past month I joined (never home)maker’s Foodie Book Club. My sister-in-law told me about this, and I thought it was a great idea, because I most certainly love to eat, and I haven’t done any reading for pleasure in a long long time (I read a lot of boring accounting literature at work, and my brain needs a rest when I get home). Please forgive me in advance, as this is my first attempt at writing a book review, and I have a tendency to get overly excited and ramble, but I promise to get better each month. So here goes:

This month’s book was A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg. If you are unfamiliar with the book, Molly gives a somewhat autobiographical account of her life. Each chapter tells a story from her life which leads up to a recipe that relates to her fondest and deepest memories. Overall I really quite enjoyed this book. I found it a very quick read (I think I read it cover to cover in 2 sittings) and I found the format of this book (memories mixed in with recipes) to be quite genius.

Molly has a way of explaining characters in her life that will make you say “Oh yes! That reminds me exactly of so and so.” This makes the book very enjoyable because you feel like you can really relate to at least one of the characters in her book.

For example, when I read about Molly & Brandon (her now husband) and their love of food, it often made me think “this reminds me of me and my husband.” The way Molly was the “Baker” and Brandon was the kitchen scientist...I am certainly the “Baker” as I follow my little recipes to a T most of the time, even the old old family recipes that by now I should be brave enough to modify from time to time. I don’t dare change a family recipe for fear of the bad karma that would a wait! My husband is most certainly the complete opposite in the kitchen. He never has a real “recipe” for anything he makes. He just stands in there like a brilliant food scientist (a quite cute one at that), buzzing around the kitchen and putting lots of ingredients into little bowls and then BAM! It all comes together magically. In the 8 years we’ve been together, this method has never really failed him.

But I digress. What I really love about her book is the message that so much of our lives and memories are made in the home, and particularly in the kitchen with loved ones. I know in my family most of our traditions, and childhood memories, revolve around food. The times we have all spent together in the kitchen (especially on holidays) have been some of my fondest memories. It’s funny how food (and the smell of food) really can bring back such great memories.
I remember waking up at 6am to help my mom turn out those amazing Swedish tea rings and listening to the hum of the ice cream maker in the summer time when my dad would make his homemade vanilla ice cream and famous peach cobbler.

So many of the greatest conversations of my childhood were in the kitchen or at the dinner table, and this is something that has certainly carried over in to my adult life. My husband and I cook together every night and I LOVE the time we spend in the kitchen together. Especially our Sunday night dinners, which are very grand (this is something I probably inherited from my mother). My husband and I have been known to spend at least a couple of hours in and out of the kitchen and then a couple more hours sitting at the table sharing a feast over candle light, intense or nonsensical discussion, and laughter. It’s our way to make sure we start off our week on the right foot. This is why I was smitten with this book from the introduction where Molly talks about how her father would always say “we eat better than most people in restaurants!” because this is so similar to something my husband and I say to each other constantly. For us it’s more like “well babe…I don’t know any other 20-somethings that eat like we do.” And no, we don’t always have the most gourmet meals (sometimes we go all out since we both love to cook), but sometimes I’m just in the kitchen chopping up a big pile of veggies while he makes one of his delicious sauces for a stir fry (this is actually a weekly occasion in our house…stir fry veggies & chicken, pork, beef, tofu with noodles, white rice, brown rice…take your pick we’ve done it).

I think maybe we feel we “eat so well” because we always make our dinner time (and hence each other) a priority. We cook together every night and the rest of the world kind of just stops as we prep, dine and enjoy each other’s company.

If this sounds like you at all, I would most certainly recommend this book. Reading back through this, this isn’t much of a book review, lol. But if you love to cook and want to pick up some new fabulous recipes (I’m itching to try a few in here when I’m done traveling for work this month), then go ahead and give this one a read.

P.S. I apologize if I have been ignoring my blog a bit this week. I have been traveling for work, and working late nights.

P.S. jr - The author, Molly Wizenberg, also has a food blog written in a similar style as her book. Interested? Visit here:


  1. I like your book review actually. It tells me exactly what I want to know, gives me a little meat mind you, instead of just fluff. Make sense? What were some of the interesting or your favorite recipes, what type of food was included? Will for sure check this one out, on your oh so grand recommendation. Do stop by at the swing, I will throw you a good recipe next week.

  2. I really enjoyed that book as well. Her writing style is so conversational it's a great easy read. Wish I could talk my husband into making a bunch of different kinds of pickles...

  3. You did great with the review! I really enjoyed it and now I have to read this book too :)
    Balazs and I cook together too... (Ok, he cooks and I cut stuff for it)...We love that so much! I know exactly the feeling....I love what you said about eating well!
    Great post and so glad you shared it with us!
    Have a great weekend, sweetie!

  4. Great review! I am jealous of you and Molly as my fiancee is not into cooking at all! He is into the eating part though, haha.

  5. Oh, cool, I'll have to check that out. I was SOLD on food writing after reading Julie & Julia, I laughed out loud all through that book, I mean literally, I would be lying in bed next to my husband and just crack up! He's the foodie in the family, and it was his book, but he didn't find it as amusing as I did. Anyway, I will definitely check this out! I'm so glad I stumbled onto your little world, I'll be following, and it's great to meet you!

  6. This sounds like such a good book! I think that everyone has memories that are strongly associated with food, so it's easy to relate to. I'll have to pick one up :)
    xxoo Josie

  7. I'll check it out! And I love the "never home" line - that's the truth :)
    -Sanity Fair

  8. awesome review!!! i loved the book too!! my post coming soon :)

  9. Amazing review - I now really want to read this book which seems quite fitting as I am slightly obsessed with being in the kitchen, too!


  10. Sounds like a really great book! And that's so great that you and your husband spend that quality time together - sounds very lovely!

  11. fabulous idea! I really would love a club like that :)


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