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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

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A vibrant, food-themed memoir from beloved indie cartoonist Lucy Knisley. Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession 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, cooki A vibrant, food-themed memoir from beloved indie cartoonist Lucy Knisley. Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession 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. A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a book for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product.


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A vibrant, food-themed memoir from beloved indie cartoonist Lucy Knisley. Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession 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, cooki A vibrant, food-themed memoir from beloved indie cartoonist Lucy Knisley. Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession 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. A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a book for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product.

30 review for Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    A foodie graphic novel. This is getting ALL THE STARS!! Do not attempt to read this book if you are hungry. Do not attempt to read this book if you are even thinking about being hungry. Lucy Knisley was born to two people who love food. She was introduced to a sophisticated palate pretty much at birth. This book is told as a memoir of her growing up years. Food and tastes serve as memories for her (and me) so she takes us on a journey of her childhood through food. She moves to the country A foodie graphic novel. This is getting ALL THE STARS!! Do not attempt to read this book if you are hungry. Do not attempt to read this book if you are even thinking about being hungry. Lucy Knisley was born to two people who love food. She was introduced to a sophisticated palate pretty much at birth. This book is told as a memoir of her growing up years. Food and tastes serve as memories for her (and me) so she takes us on a journey of her childhood through food. She moves to the country with her caterer mom after her parents divorce and encounters a whole different perspective of food. Not always in ways she likes. There is also a trip to Mexico that involves porno mags, unknown amounts of the "sugar high" and coming of age for her and her friend Drew. Then she also spends some time with Dad. In Paris. The city of food. What does Lucy do? She craves those crispy McDonald's fries, sneaks out and gets her some! Sometimes even foodies need some grease. This is a fun book whether you are a food lover or a food to live kinda person. Plus there are recipes. In comic form! How awesome is that?

  2. 5 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    I'll be honest....I avoided this one for so long because I heard it was part graphic novel. It's just not my thing. But recently, I just can't get into anything, and I just wanted to read about my favorite thing...FOOD! I love reading cookbooks or food memoirs, etc. So finally, I decided to pick this one up. And I'm so glad I did. What a charming book. Lucy Knisley was always surrounded by food. Her parents, "foodies", instilled these values in her at a very young age. Lucy was never one to open I'll be honest....I avoided this one for so long because I heard it was part graphic novel. It's just not my thing. But recently, I just can't get into anything, and I just wanted to read about my favorite thing...FOOD! I love reading cookbooks or food memoirs, etc. So finally, I decided to pick this one up. And I'm so glad I did. What a charming book. Lucy Knisley was always surrounded by food. Her parents, "foodies", instilled these values in her at a very young age. Lucy was never one to open her box of Cheerios or Frankenberries at breakfast. I laugh at children today who only eat foods that come out of a box and then are individually wrapped in plastic wrap. (Yes, I write this while eating an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie for breakfast.....what??!?!? Yeah, I'm being lazy today but atleast it's a homemade cookie.) Lucy grew up surrounded by food and what better way to tell this story than through moments in her life where food played a major role. To working catering jobs with her mom, to picking organic mushrooms on an upstate New York farm to sell at a farmers market, to writing reviews for her Aunt on food in restaurants, to visiting Mexico and discovering the wonderful world of Mexican food. I loved the graphic picture parts too. Each chapter is a food related story and it includes pictures to accompany the story. And, even better, each chapter includes a graphic depiction of a recipe. Awesome! There are a few I want to try out - especially the mushroom one, which I'm on a huge mushroom kick now. I'm kinda envious of her youth, growing up surrounded by good food, recalling moments in those years through stories of food. Some of my childhood food memories I cringe at today. Perhaps I'm just a bit of a food snob now. I'm so glad I picked this one up and gave it a shot. If you are food obsessed, you will not be disappointed with it. Even if your not a fan of graphic novels. I plan to pick up her other books too - each story told in graphic form. And I'll not wait so long to get to those ones.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Oh my, I loved this! If you love graphic novels, read this! If your a foodie, read this! I loved the authors diff. stories about her relationship to food!

  4. 5 out of 5

    First Second Books

    One of the most interesting parts about publishing books with cooking in them is recipe-testing them! (We run into people all the time who are like, 'Publishers actually make all the recipes in the cookbooks they publish to make sure they work? Are you . . . crazy?' But of course we do -- the same way that textbook publishers check all the facts that are in their textbooks. Cookbooks are one of the easiest things to mess up with accidental typos, second to math books -- if you change just one num One of the most interesting parts about publishing books with cooking in them is recipe-testing them! (We run into people all the time who are like, 'Publishers actually make all the recipes in the cookbooks they publish to make sure they work? Are you . . . crazy?' But of course we do -- the same way that textbook publishers check all the facts that are in their textbooks. Cookbooks are one of the easiest things to mess up with accidental typos, second to math books -- if you change just one number, a whole recipe could be ruined (was that 1 or 11 tablespoons of salt?). We try our best to make sure that does not happen!) Mostly our editor does the recipe testing in our office, but I'm pleased to say that I have so far tested three of the recipes in Relish, and they were all delicious! Lucy says that she tried to present the recipes in a format that was intuitive and allowed for creativity, and as someone continually making vegetarian substitutions in her recipes, I found that structure to be very helpful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Seth T.

    I was unlucky in birth. I mean, sort of. Really everything went pretty swimmingly save for the fact that I was born with a very narrow palette. My range of acceptable tastes and textures is lean and withered. I am, others have judged, a picky eater. [This was not me.] I'm fine with a small battery of stand-bys (meats, potatoes, dairy, most fruits), but vegetables and items with more exotic textures remain holy and set apart for sacrifice to other eaters. I mean, I absolutely adore steamed articho I was unlucky in birth. I mean, sort of. Really everything went pretty swimmingly save for the fact that I was born with a very narrow palette. My range of acceptable tastes and textures is lean and withered. I am, others have judged, a picky eater. [This was not me.] I'm fine with a small battery of stand-bys (meats, potatoes, dairy, most fruits), but vegetables and items with more exotic textures remain holy and set apart for sacrifice to other eaters. I mean, I absolutely adore steamed artichoke, but broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes (not a vegetable, I know), and non-Idaho-potato roots twist my expression into something sinister. Mussels, oysters, and sushi are a rocky row to hoe—fourteen years ago when I interviewed for my current job, I was taken to sushi, gave it a chance, and nearly drenched my prospective employer in regurgitation. I mostly stick to safe things these days, out of habit and out of fear. With all that in mind, think about how incredible Lucy Knisley's book must be to make me want to a) prepare things like a plateful of mushrooms, a gaggle of sushi rolls, or a good pesto, and then b) try actually eating the product of those recipes. Relish, Knisley's personal-history-via-gustatory-memory, is simply wonderful. I haven't been this exuberant about a reading experience in a while. There are better, thicker, more challenging works available and as far as importance goes, the 173-page paperback doesn't hold a candle to, say, Building Stories or Duncan the Wonder Dog. But that hardly matters as I'm pretty well-convinced that I had more fun reading Relish. It's that much fun. [Curvy!] Knisley's memoir is composed of twelve short chapters that roughly trace the chronology of her life, and each pericope develops around the various foods she associates with those stories. She intersperses narrative delights with recipes for favourite foods and a helpful fact sheet explaining the complicated world of cheeses. None of my description of this, however, conveys the pleasure and excitement Knisley's pages draw forth. Her work is bright, colourful, humourous, and (best of all) exuberant. The joy Knisley evidently takes in the act of tasting is translated almost perfectly (fn1) through both her narrative choices and the manner of her execution. Her characters are lively and their expressions telling. She narrates her story with a confident voice and as much as she talks about food, good food, and even gourmet food, Knisley never approaches that smug condescension that has become the signature delight of the foodie crowd. Here, wait. I'll share with you the piece that utterly won me over early on in the book. [Click to read without squinting.] That right there is golden. I will confess that perhaps nothing else in the book grabbed me quite so well as the image of young Lucy dreaming of all the geese that would be foie-grased into her belly over the succeeding years—but the rest isn't far off. And at the end of the day, Relish does probably exactly what it sets out to do: 1) Make Lucy Knisley seem like an awesome person with an infectious love for food. 2) Infect the reader with that love for food. 3) ... There are probably other things the book sets out to accomplish as well: like talk about stuff that happened, share information about food, underscore the fact that Knisley's mother is a bitchen cook, make divorce seem sad. Stuff like that. It's all there and it's all at some level of important. But end of the day? Relish is about a young woman's love of food and how you will be drawn into that love's blackhole gravity until you become one with a love for food too. Remember: I almost vomited on the founder of the company I was trying to work for all because the taste and texture of high-quality toro put my throat into convulsions. And now I think I want to try sushi again. [As it turns out, many of the things we eat are sinister. And not all of them are meats.] Footnotes 1) I only say almost to leave her room for improvement—even though I can't imagine in which direction she could improve. ________________________ [Review courtesy of Good Ok Bad.]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    Lucy Knisley’s Relish is a fun graphic memoir about growing up in a household surrounded by good food and good fun. With a mother who is a chef and a father who knows how to appreciate fine dining, Knisley had a special relationship with food from an early age. As a cartoonist, Knisley recounts various food-related moments from her life through amazingly rendered illustrations that vibrantly bring her love of food to life. Unlike other books about food, this one bears a positive message abou Lucy Knisley’s Relish is a fun graphic memoir about growing up in a household surrounded by good food and good fun. With a mother who is a chef and a father who knows how to appreciate fine dining, Knisley had a special relationship with food from an early age. As a cartoonist, Knisley recounts various food-related moments from her life through amazingly rendered illustrations that vibrantly bring her love of food to life. Unlike other books about food, this one bears a positive message about food that I really appreciated — the notion that all foods (from junk food to gourmet dishes) should be celebrated rather than shunned. Food-themed books can be a hit and miss at times, as some (whether directly or indirectly) often come across as “preachy” and can take on a tone that feels like it is reprimanding readers for eating certain types of food. Knisley’s memoir does the opposite in that it does not pass judgment on the merits of the food we decide to eat, but rather celebrates all food for its connection to life and environment. I don’t consider myself a foodie (despite the fact that I love food and love to eat), but I enjoyed this charming, funny memoir about food and definitely recommend it. I’m not much of a cook so the recipes at the end of each chapter didn’t do much for me, but it was still a lot of fun to read through them and see Knisley’s witty spin on dishes both traditional and outlandish. Seeing that this will likely be the last book I read this year and the last review before my year end recap, I’m glad it will be on a positive note with such a feel-good, delightful read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charles Hatfield

    Relish is a foodie memoir for the non-specialist: a gourmet's gift to the ordinary gourmands among us, told with love and verve from a unabashedly personal, often child's-eye perspective. It's about growing up around good food, great cooks, and passionate eaters. Alternately charming and frustrating, the book wobbles from guileless self-absorption to attempted deep insights, aided considerably by Knisley's crisp, delightful cartooning and gorgeous color palette. I kept wanting to dislike it, and Relish is a foodie memoir for the non-specialist: a gourmet's gift to the ordinary gourmands among us, told with love and verve from a unabashedly personal, often child's-eye perspective. It's about growing up around good food, great cooks, and passionate eaters. Alternately charming and frustrating, the book wobbles from guileless self-absorption to attempted deep insights, aided considerably by Knisley's crisp, delightful cartooning and gorgeous color palette. I kept wanting to dislike it, and finding myself charmed; also wanting to like it, and finding myself put off. Those of us (I include myself) accustomed to tell-all graphic memoirs will probably be frustrated by Knisley's skirting, or rather her only glancing acknowledgment, of real emotional complexity. The book hints at various displacements, separations, tensions, but its approach is palliative, always celebrating shared cooking and eating as balms to the soul. Essentially, the book is a loving paean to her mother and her mother's cooking, but dotted with other, sometimes spot-on, sometimes undeveloped, anecdotes. Its sense of structure is local, that is, most notable on the chapter level; as a whole, the book ambles on vaguely if agreeably, not quite finding a center other than the simple idea of loving food and those who make it. At its worst, this determinedly light touch seems to lure Knisley into a blithe sort of narcissistic entitlement, as when her anecdotes about traveling and eating in Mexico and Japan turn into foodie travelogues about Knisley and her fellow expats and what they ate, just about excluding any specific depiction of the Mexican and Japanese subjects they encountered along the way. I found this, to put it mildly, bothersome. Consistent with this (dare I say?) shallow approach is the way Knisley narrates, i.e. summarizes, certain hard-won insights, instead of dramatizing how she came to win them. That gives the insights a potted, received, familiar quality rather than the force of genuine discovery. The thing is, Relish truly is a loving book, and I can imagine readers getting quite a bit out of it. I do love Knisley's way with the page, with drawing and with color. She can cartoon and design pages up a storm, and there are moments, humorous and neatly visual, of such delectable payoff that I hate to complain. I won't be getting rid of Relish anytime soon, even though I think it doesn't really work as a book. So. I will look out for further work by Knisley, even though, I have to say, the naivete evoked in this book made me quite impatient with her as a writer. Relish hangs in my mind as a tasty series of anecdotes that strains after book-worthiness but doesn't quite get there.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    I enjoyed this. This is told as a story about her life and she it telling you, with a panel or two what happened. In some ways I wish she had just told it like a story about her life. The art is fun and the recipes in the book look great. I would love to try them. It makes me want to go out in the world and try lots of different food. I have wanted to go to Alina for 2 years now and I wondered if she went while in Chicago. She did. She has eaten all over the world. I like to travel simply to eat I enjoyed this. This is told as a story about her life and she it telling you, with a panel or two what happened. In some ways I wish she had just told it like a story about her life. The art is fun and the recipes in the book look great. I would love to try them. It makes me want to go out in the world and try lots of different food. I have wanted to go to Alina for 2 years now and I wondered if she went while in Chicago. She did. She has eaten all over the world. I like to travel simply to eat their food too. A different lovely kind of book. It was good. I am loving the company first Second who is putting out these great stories. I have enjoyed everything I tried. They are true stories. I need to find a way to look up a list of the graphic novels they produce. They are on it!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zachary F.

    A loose series of illustrated, food-related anecdotes by the daughter of a New York chef, with a recipe at the end of each chapter. In theory Relish is charming and feel-good, but in practice it left me mostly bored and more than a little annoyed. This is one of those rich kid narratives where the rich kid is eager to convince you she's not actually rich, grousing about being a "broke college student" or driving a "rickety clunker" between meals at Michelin-starred restaurants and pleasure trips A loose series of illustrated, food-related anecdotes by the daughter of a New York chef, with a recipe at the end of each chapter. In theory Relish is charming and feel-good, but in practice it left me mostly bored and more than a little annoyed. This is one of those rich kid narratives where the rich kid is eager to convince you she's not actually rich, grousing about being a "broke college student" or driving a "rickety clunker" between meals at Michelin-starred restaurants and pleasure trips to Italy, Japan, and remote Mexican hideaways. These days (in the U.S. at least) it's almost a prerequisite for being rich that you also have to pretend you're currently or formerly poor, which I promise is 100% more alienating to us common folk than simply acknowledging you've got a trust fund and getting on with it. Most of this book exists on one of those two poles—"Here's a cool thing I got to do thanks to my well-connected parents" or "Here's how salt-of-the-earth I am"—so if you can't get on board with that there's not much left for you. Otherwise the illustrations are good if not particularly groundbreaking (though the food is well-drawn and tasty-looking), and the stories are only stories in the airiest sense. (There's no tension or plot here, so don't look for them.) I wanted to let go and just enjoy the culinary talk, but I guess I'm too much of a Bolshevik these days to uncritically take pleasure in what feels like, essentially, a warm and fuzzy celebration of class privilege.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Roya

    Final rating: 3.5 stars Going through graphic novels has really helped me rekindle my love of reading. My poor attention span is forever indebted to you talented artists out there. Relish is about Knisley's relationship with food. I tend to avoid memoirs because more often than not they have this holier-than-thou tone I can't commit to. This was an exception. Knisley is relatable and not just in a look-at-me-I'm-quirky-and-relatable type of way. I found myself laughing every now and then, which b Final rating: 3.5 stars Going through graphic novels has really helped me rekindle my love of reading. My poor attention span is forever indebted to you talented artists out there. Relish is about Knisley's relationship with food. I tend to avoid memoirs because more often than not they have this holier-than-thou tone I can't commit to. This was an exception. Knisley is relatable and not just in a look-at-me-I'm-quirky-and-relatable type of way. I found myself laughing every now and then, which books rarely do for me. Lots of fun illustrations with recipes thrown into the mix for good measure. I'll get around to making these cookies eventually. P.S. The reviews are going to be on the short side for now.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Negin

    I love food and I also enjoy graphic books. This graphic memoir is a fun and light read about cooking and enjoying food. Unlike her first book, “French Milk”, which had quite a bit of complaining, this one seems more mature. Lucy Knisley shows deep appreciation and passion for life’s blessings. Each chapter ends with a recipe, none of which I have tried. I love food and I also enjoy graphic books. This graphic memoir is a fun and light read about cooking and enjoying food. Unlike her first book, “French Milk”, which had quite a bit of complaining, this one seems more mature. Lucy Knisley shows deep appreciation and passion for life’s blessings. Each chapter ends with a recipe, none of which I have tried.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Oriana

    This is a fun memoir. It's really a series of vignettes of a life in food: grandma's pickles, a perfect croissant in Venice, Mom's chocolate-chip cookies, seared halibut with Dad. Lucy was born & raised a foodie before there was even such a term. Her mom worked at the very first Dean & Deluca in NYC in the 70s, and was behind the cheese counter for most of her pregnancy. They then moved upstate and Lucy spent her adolescence in farms, farmers markets, and working as a waitress for her mom's fanc This is a fun memoir. It's really a series of vignettes of a life in food: grandma's pickles, a perfect croissant in Venice, Mom's chocolate-chip cookies, seared halibut with Dad. Lucy was born & raised a foodie before there was even such a term. Her mom worked at the very first Dean & Deluca in NYC in the 70s, and was behind the cheese counter for most of her pregnancy. They then moved upstate and Lucy spent her adolescence in farms, farmers markets, and working as a waitress for her mom's fancy catering company. There's great scenes about the power of food, from eating crazy things in Japan to being served awful "lemonade chicken" by a well-meaning but clueless friend. Lucy gives equal weight to a super-high-end molecular gastronomy restaurant and a marinated lamb shank at a family BBQ. She even has a soft spot for junk food, from pocky to McDonald's fries. The memoir is kind of light, with not too much emotional depth, but it's still really fun. And each chapter ends with a recipe, which is awesome awesome awesome. At our Jugs & Capes meeting today, two different ladies made Lucy's chocolate-chip cookies, and they were spectacular. I hope she does a whole graphic-novel cookbook next!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I remember food like that too, Lucy. The roadside taquerias, the garden-fresh greens, my grandfather's pickles, ripe jungle fruits, the hot falafel and hummus, the bread bowl stews... mmmm. That's why I loved your book so much. A graphic food memoir checks several of my "favorites" boxes - plus, I am a big fan of your art and style, after reading your 2015 Displacement: A Travelogue a few months ago. Your book was charming and sweet, telling your family's story, your own, the cities you've lived I remember food like that too, Lucy. The roadside taquerias, the garden-fresh greens, my grandfather's pickles, ripe jungle fruits, the hot falafel and hummus, the bread bowl stews... mmmm. That's why I loved your book so much. A graphic food memoir checks several of my "favorites" boxes - plus, I am a big fan of your art and style, after reading your 2015 Displacement: A Travelogue a few months ago. Your book was charming and sweet, telling your family's story, your own, the cities you've lived and traveled to, and of course, the richness of amazing foods throughout your life. I loved your graphic recipes (why isn't this more of a thing? other artists need to do this! a whole cookbook even!) and I am gonna try your chocolate chip cookies, sangria, pesto, and huevos rancheros recipes myself. -- Read for 1) my appreciation of Lucy Knisley's work 2) food! growing, cooking, baking, preserving, eating 2) Book Riot's 2016 Read Harder Challenge - a food memoir

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    I really liked this exuberant, fun and thoughtful book told with relish about the life of a comic artist raised by foodies, a gourmet chef and a lover of fine dining, great meals. It's a memoir (and read Seth Hahne's great review as usual for one with greater detail, and just.. more relish!) with food and maybe her mom as central figures... positive, joie de vivre, happy, all these things... WITH recipes that emerge out of the stories, out of her life! Fine, fun, colorful, joyful drawings... and I really liked this exuberant, fun and thoughtful book told with relish about the life of a comic artist raised by foodies, a gourmet chef and a lover of fine dining, great meals. It's a memoir (and read Seth Hahne's great review as usual for one with greater detail, and just.. more relish!) with food and maybe her mom as central figures... positive, joie de vivre, happy, all these things... WITH recipes that emerge out of the stories, out of her life! Fine, fun, colorful, joyful drawings... and she focuses on two great cities I love, NYC and Chicago (oh, and other cities she has lived and visited, too...). She is like many comic artists I like a grad of the Chicago At Institute, still young with so much accomplished and this is great... highly recommend, especially if you are a foodie... or, at least, love to eat!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    This is absolutely not the book to read on an empty stomach. Relish is all about the love of food, and it's infectious. It's a very loose memoir, written as a graphic novel. So it isn't a strict timeline, covering every event in her life. Just the ones touched by food. And being the daughter of foodie parents, with a mother who runs an upscale catering business, there's been a lot of food, very good food, and from a very early age. But it isn't just good food. Knisley can write just as lovingly This is absolutely not the book to read on an empty stomach. Relish is all about the love of food, and it's infectious. It's a very loose memoir, written as a graphic novel. So it isn't a strict timeline, covering every event in her life. Just the ones touched by food. And being the daughter of foodie parents, with a mother who runs an upscale catering business, there's been a lot of food, very good food, and from a very early age. But it isn't just good food. Knisley can write just as lovingly about a McDonalds french fry as a plate of freshly sauteed mushrooms. As she writes, people eat junk food because it's delicious, and because it hits a craving, for fat or salt or just for something familiar. (See Knisley breakfasting in Rome on a Big Mac and fries, while her father watches in horror.) That she can endorse canned croissants a few pages after raving over a Venetian croissant filled with apricot jam makes the whole book way more accessible than it could have been. The people here are stylized, somewhat cartoony, but they're also quite expressive, in both body language and facial expressions. The food is also stylized, but a little less so. It's detailed enough to obviously be what it's meant to be. There's also a lot of recipes, bookending every chapter. They're all conversationally written and broken down into illustrated steps. Very few cookbooks do this, but I love to see what I'm supposed to be doing at every step. And it's delicious, fairly simple food: sauteed mushrooms, chocolate chip cookies, pasta carbonara... I'm hungry now. This is the sort of book that people who love food and who love reading about food will like. I tend to judge these sorts of books on how hungry it made me. After reading Relish, I was desperate for some really good baked goods. Pretty high praise, for a book about food.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brown Girl Reading

    I picked this graphic novel up not really knowing what to expect and truly loved it. It's a trip down Lucy Knisley's memory lane with food. She brilliantly explores all types of cuisine and each chapter ends in a recipe. There's an in-depth blog review over at http://didibooksenglish.wordpress.com.... Worth the read if you like reading books that talk about food and life. I picked this graphic novel up not really knowing what to expect and truly loved it. It's a trip down Lucy Knisley's memory lane with food. She brilliantly explores all types of cuisine and each chapter ends in a recipe. There's an in-depth blog review over at http://didibooksenglish.wordpress.com.... Worth the read if you like reading books that talk about food and life.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diz

    This series of autobiographical comics is a love letter to food. After reading this I really felt like eating something nice. There are some recipes included as well, so you can try your hand at cooking some of the featured foods.

  18. 4 out of 5

    christa

    This is huge: Lucy Knisley made me mushroom curious. Me. A lifelong hater of all things fungal. I always imagine them as something slick and slug-like, tasting of moldy earth. My mom would take a can, open the lid, pluck fingerfuls of mushrooms the way I do now with black olives. She would give me contradictory messages: So good, she would say. I’d grimace. You can’t even taste them, she would then say. She would dump them into the pasta sauce, ensuring that I would stick to plain noodles with b This is huge: Lucy Knisley made me mushroom curious. Me. A lifelong hater of all things fungal. I always imagine them as something slick and slug-like, tasting of moldy earth. My mom would take a can, open the lid, pluck fingerfuls of mushrooms the way I do now with black olives. She would give me contradictory messages: So good, she would say. I’d grimace. You can’t even taste them, she would then say. She would dump them into the pasta sauce, ensuring that I would stick to plain noodles with butter and parmesan. Devotees of mushrooms are, I’m sure you’ve learned, assholes. They can’t order a pizza without them. When a mushroom hater objects, she might be granted a half pizza without mushrooms. Sure as shit, at the end of the night it’s the mushroom-y pieces that remain. Even the mushroom fans have dipped into the plain old cheese piece just to mix it up. Still hungry? Eat one with mushrooms. “Just pick them off,” someone will say. Impossible. That wet insole taste lingers, man, well after the mushrooms have been flung far from the plate. In an effort to be 100 percent legit, I’ll admit this: Twice I have not hated mushrooms. Episode One: My mom filled a crockpot with mushrooms, like a pound of butter and Hidden Valley Ranch dried seasoning. This has everything to do with butter and nothing to do with mushrooms. Episode Two: I have enjoyed raw, sliced mushrooms from a veggie tray. But they cannot be even slightly damp or have the appearance of having once been damp. So what does Knisley have to do with this? Everything. The artist’s comic book “Relish: My Life in the Kitchen” is a love letter-memoir to all things food, especially her mother’s culinary influences. In between chapters there are recipes for hueves rancheros or tutorials on cheese done in her whimsical and charming style. One of these is a simple recipe that actually made me salivate … over mushrooms. If a book can inspire that kind of mushroom curiosity, I have to give the creator props. Lucy’s parents were foodies -- her mother the cooking kind, her father the enjoying kind -- and she grew up tasting the mix of fare in New York City. When her parents divorced, Lucy went to upstate New York with her mother, where they gardened and worked at the farmer’s market and learned to appreciate farm-to-table. During a trip to Japan, Lucy samples sushi and struggles with soy. During another trip, she goes nutso on Pixie Sticks. She ends up in Chicago and has the chance to discover a food scene the way her parents had in New York City. This is a quick-hit book and a fun read. I spend a lot of time with memoirs considering why I should want to read this person’s story. I mean, this is just one woman’s food memoir. We’ve all got one: My mom rotated through the same five dishes every week and then after I went to college got creative and started making awesome foods. I learned to cook by honing vegan recipes. That’s mine. Done. But Knisley doesn’t have to sell anyone. She’s so descriptive and earnest that it makes for a completely charming story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Truly enjoyed the bits about food, cooking, recipes and family. Wish it had been all that. As an artist and food lover, a graphic memoir seems the right vehicle to explore her enjoyment of both. My favorite panel depicts a large group of people sitting around a table sharing a meal. The caption reads "I love the treat and pleasure of eating when it becomes an act of focused giving and sharing." Truly enjoyed the bits about food, cooking, recipes and family. Wish it had been all that. As an artist and food lover, a graphic memoir seems the right vehicle to explore her enjoyment of both. My favorite panel depicts a large group of people sitting around a table sharing a meal. The caption reads "I love the treat and pleasure of eating when it becomes an act of focused giving and sharing."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Xueting

    Food + illustrations + memoir = totally my kind of book!!!!! Not only are the illustrations and coloring so gorgeous to make me hungry whenever I read this, Lucy Knisley's storytelling skills and amazing experiences make this a super enjoyable read! Very hilarious and very imaginative. Love it!! :) gonna go get some food now.... Food + illustrations + memoir = totally my kind of book!!!!! Not only are the illustrations and coloring so gorgeous to make me hungry whenever I read this, Lucy Knisley's storytelling skills and amazing experiences make this a super enjoyable read! Very hilarious and very imaginative. Love it!! :) gonna go get some food now....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacey (prettybooks)

    I first came across this foodie graphic memoir when I saw that it had been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in 2013. I love books and I love food, so I added it to my wishlist straight away. It wasn't until last month that I finally got around to buying it, after a trip to Gosh! Comics with Debbie. We had never visited Gosh! before (neither of us have read many graphic novels or comics) and were looking forward to it. We loved the huge curated display table as soon as you set foot through I first came across this foodie graphic memoir when I saw that it had been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in 2013. I love books and I love food, so I added it to my wishlist straight away. It wasn't until last month that I finally got around to buying it, after a trip to Gosh! Comics with Debbie. We had never visited Gosh! before (neither of us have read many graphic novels or comics) and were looking forward to it. We loved the huge curated display table as soon as you set foot through the door, and this is where we found Relish (Debbie bought Friends with Boys ). We both definitely want to go back, especially because the staff were super friendly. I loved Relish as soon as I started reading it. It's 29-year-old Lucy's graphic memoir of growing up surrounded by food and food lovers, from her chef mum's home cooking to exotic foodie adventures on trips abroad – what food means to her and what food she particularly loves, and what memories they bring back. She says, 'I can remember exactly the look and taste of a precious honey stick, balanced between my berry-stained fingers, but my times tables are long gone, forgotten, in favour of better, tastier memories'. Lucy's drawings are wonderful and colourful – an exquisite mix of food writing and delicious illustrations. You can't really ask for more. I relate to her because she's a foodie, but not a food snob. She love artisan bread and good quality chocolate, but she won't say no to McDonald's or a packet of Oreos. ('We wouldn't be eating it if it didn't taste good'). She writes so eloquently, but clearly, showing us how memories of food are memories of growing up, and how tasting all the different flavours – from home and from other cultures – is like no other experience. I craved so many different kinds of food while reading Relish, including food I've never even tried (where can I find a tomatillo or honey sticks?). At the end of each chapter, there's an easy-to-follow tasty recipe to make one of the foods featured in that chapter, such as the best chocolate chip cookies and sushi rolls. It was perfect for bedtime reading and it made me want to pick up more graphic novels – and eat more food! I can't wait to pick up her travelogue, French Milk , next and her new book, An Age of License A Travelogue , is published in September. I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    My favorite graphic novel of the weekend. I loved every panel, page and recipe. I actually feel like crying because even though this book isn't actually emotional. I feel emotional having reached its end. Some people remember things from the past through smell. A perfume, a shampoo, maybe even the smell of cigars. Some people can pick out memories through positive and negative experiences. In the case of Lucy Knisley, she remembered her childhood through food. I really enjoyed reading stories fro My favorite graphic novel of the weekend. I loved every panel, page and recipe. I actually feel like crying because even though this book isn't actually emotional. I feel emotional having reached its end. Some people remember things from the past through smell. A perfume, a shampoo, maybe even the smell of cigars. Some people can pick out memories through positive and negative experiences. In the case of Lucy Knisley, she remembered her childhood through food. I really enjoyed reading stories from when she was a kid...helping her mom in the garden or gallivanting a Mexican city, parent-less with her best-friend. Each chapter consisted of a precise memory of Lucy's childhood either on vacation with her dad or living in New York with her mom. She even has a nice stay in Chicago during her college years were she too became a cheese monger like her mother. Every story made me relive some of my past memories with my family. My grandma is the foodie in the family and would fix crazy extravagant Thanksgiving feasts consisting of not your typical American dishes. She would throw in lasagna and enchiladas. Sometimes we would have adobo or beef stroganoff along side the Turkey and mashed potatoes. No one complained. We loved the food and would be forced into second helpings. Once you reached the end of the chapter Lucy skillfully weaves in a recipe from either the story just told or one she just needed to share. I love recipe books and I love to cook. I'm still a novice, but I love making food and having people enjoy them. Not only was the book heartwarming with the sentimentality of family life, the illustrations are wonderful. I wholeheartedly enjoyed everything about this graphic novel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nnedi

    i loved this book...even used one of the recipes. :-). the inclusion of recipes reminded me of an isabel allende book that did the same thing (i forget the name of the book , right now). i was both amused and disturbed by her childhood experience in mexico, i'll admit. i don't want to put any spoilers in this, so you'll have to read it and find out what i am referring to, haha. i enjoyed the art and the stories through the taste and smells of food. as someone who LOVES to cook, i see the world i i loved this book...even used one of the recipes. :-). the inclusion of recipes reminded me of an isabel allende book that did the same thing (i forget the name of the book , right now). i was both amused and disturbed by her childhood experience in mexico, i'll admit. i don't want to put any spoilers in this, so you'll have to read it and find out what i am referring to, haha. i enjoyed the art and the stories through the taste and smells of food. as someone who LOVES to cook, i see the world in a similar way. also, the stories were infused with culture and history in a most unique way. note, this book is a book of interconnected short stories, it's not a novel.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kendal

    The art is great, and I love the food focus, but Relish was ultimately a flop. Between the only portrayals of fat people being as outraged victims of fast food, and talking about gentrification being so great because it brings more (expensive) food options to neighborhoods, there was just too much lacking. But, I'm also someone who usually avoids any story that involves white people backpacking through anywhere at all costs, if you're into shitty politics and nice drawings of food, you'll probab The art is great, and I love the food focus, but Relish was ultimately a flop. Between the only portrayals of fat people being as outraged victims of fast food, and talking about gentrification being so great because it brings more (expensive) food options to neighborhoods, there was just too much lacking. But, I'm also someone who usually avoids any story that involves white people backpacking through anywhere at all costs, if you're into shitty politics and nice drawings of food, you'll probably love it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I picked this up after glowing recommendations from two friends whose opinions I trust. I like food. I like talking about food. I like illustrated things. I am the target market for this type of book. but unfortunately somehow it never caught fire with me like it did with my friends. I can't think of a single negative thing to say - nothing Knisley did or said or drew was off-putting. It was all quality work. It just didn't gel with me, and I can't point at any one reason why. I picked this up after glowing recommendations from two friends whose opinions I trust. I like food. I like talking about food. I like illustrated things. I am the target market for this type of book. but unfortunately somehow it never caught fire with me like it did with my friends. I can't think of a single negative thing to say - nothing Knisley did or said or drew was off-putting. It was all quality work. It just didn't gel with me, and I can't point at any one reason why.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Well now I've seen everything - a foodie graphic novel memoir? Check! This is a fun read with great art, about Lucy Knisley's childhood as the child of foodies back when food culture was just kicking off in NYC. Each chapter also includes a recipe, illustrated with the same art that populates the graphic novel. It's cute and vibrant and makes you want to pull up a chair to her kitchen. I loved the little part at the end where she included actual pictures from her childhood, to demonstrate that all Well now I've seen everything - a foodie graphic novel memoir? Check! This is a fun read with great art, about Lucy Knisley's childhood as the child of foodies back when food culture was just kicking off in NYC. Each chapter also includes a recipe, illustrated with the same art that populates the graphic novel. It's cute and vibrant and makes you want to pull up a chair to her kitchen. I loved the little part at the end where she included actual pictures from her childhood, to demonstrate that all of it was grounded in fact! The section that includes chocolate chip cookies had a little bit that made me smile because I saw myself in it - she compares her personality to her Mom's as far as being able to bake. Her Mom's cookies were always perfect, and her cookies were always flawed: "My baking is too emotional, too volatile with distress, to ever match Mom's cookie perfection. But my cookies contain the anxious deliciousness earned through an afternoon spent in turmoil, soothed by separating my troubles into warm crispy pieces. I'm fairly certain anyone who bakes for emotional release will understand that one! It seems crazy to talk about this graphic novel without at least one image, so here is one of the two pages with the Huevos Rancheros recipe. The author/artist also posts sketches and other fun things over on her Tumblr.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Dobrez

    This just might be my favorite book of 2013 so far. I love the memories and stories surrounding food, the recipes, the illustrations and the celebration of food and eating. I loved every chapter but my heart jumped a little when Lucy moves to Chicago and discovers Fox & Obel's market. I only discovered it a few years ago while visiting and I took photos throughout the first time there. I visit there every time we go to Chicago now. I have to hunt down her first book, French Milk, and her online This just might be my favorite book of 2013 so far. I love the memories and stories surrounding food, the recipes, the illustrations and the celebration of food and eating. I loved every chapter but my heart jumped a little when Lucy moves to Chicago and discovers Fox & Obel's market. I only discovered it a few years ago while visiting and I took photos throughout the first time there. I visit there every time we go to Chicago now. I have to hunt down her first book, French Milk, and her online comic. Count me in as a new fan. Full review now posted at Bookends Blog: http://bookends.booklistonline.com/20...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Spencer

    4.5 stars This graphic novel is a delight. The book is a set of memories and anecdotes revolving around food - loving it, growing it, sharing it with others. We get to see Lucy's childhood as the daughter of foodie parents (including a mother who is a chef), and some of her cherished memories involve the joy of being cooked for as well as learning her way around different foods. Some of her stories are humorous and some nostalgic and poignant. Her tone reminds me of sitting with a friend and lis 4.5 stars This graphic novel is a delight. The book is a set of memories and anecdotes revolving around food - loving it, growing it, sharing it with others. We get to see Lucy's childhood as the daughter of foodie parents (including a mother who is a chef), and some of her cherished memories involve the joy of being cooked for as well as learning her way around different foods. Some of her stories are humorous and some nostalgic and poignant. Her tone reminds me of sitting with a friend and listening to them tell stories over coffee or tea. And if you're reading while hungry, there are recipes interspersed throughout the book as well. I've only tried the huevos rancheros so far, but they were delicious!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kaye

    It is rather ironic that, not even forty-eight hours after Ramadan ended, I am sitting here and fighting the urge to lick my fingers - over a graphic novel. I think the particular beauty of Ramadan, and Relish as well, is that it all rests in being grateful for what you have, and appreciating it more when you have it in front of you. You can have the simplest Iftar and close your eyes in bliss in the first moments of it rolling over your taste buds: a pot of simply served ramen, a few dates and a It is rather ironic that, not even forty-eight hours after Ramadan ended, I am sitting here and fighting the urge to lick my fingers - over a graphic novel. I think the particular beauty of Ramadan, and Relish as well, is that it all rests in being grateful for what you have, and appreciating it more when you have it in front of you. You can have the simplest Iftar and close your eyes in bliss in the first moments of it rolling over your taste buds: a pot of simply served ramen, a few dates and a water bottle. Like Lucy Knisley, a lot of my fondest reminiscences are interlinked with what I ate at the time. My childhood memories are peppered with wading in the Atlantic Ocean, raising butterflies and numerous trips to the library, as well as my best friend's mom packing a "little" lunch to tide us over during our adventures at the aquarium (fresh parathas and perfectly spiced omelets) and the Carvel ice cream cake that graced my fourth birthday. (Yes, I do remember. And it was pure, sugary goodness.) And of course, there are the Eids: fluffy plates of biryani, syrup-soaked gulab jamun lovingly handmade by my uncle's own hands, colorful platters of fruit that are often passed over for slices of Trader Joe's carrot cake and ice cream. The best moments of the reading experience is when you feel the presence of someone like you behind every word - or at least, somewhat like you. I definitely can't claim Knisley's lovely, often humorous words or drawings, or her gourmet upbringing; though, I could tell you a lot of interesting facts about growing up Muslim, and how quickly I learned to decipher the back of a food label. At the heart of Relish, though, is the shared pleasures of eating, of finding new things you like or the comfort of returning to old faithfuls when times are bad - and, of course, celebrating the communal aspects of a good dinner and sharing that experience with friends and family and beloved ones. It made me miss last year, when, stressed and overtaxed from all sides, I spent hours browsing Foodgawker, discovering that lemon bars may just be my claim to fame and telling myself that one summer, if not that summer, I'd make a peach cobbler. (It's July. I still haven't baked one. But there's always next summer, right?) This little jewel of a memoir celebrates the fancier dishes, and the moments when you just need a little salt and grease on your fingers. It's studded with deliciously illustrated recipes and college student angst and a little bit of self-reflection. I'm grateful, I'm inspired, I'm determined to square off some time for kitchen duty during the semester, and I'm hungry. 10/10.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Selwa

    I have mixed feelings about this book, a graphic novel/memoir/food diary of sorts. Ideally I'd have given 2 1/2 stars, and since I couldn't, I was really torn between 2 and 3 (I'm still not sure I'm in the 3 camp). Nothing for it but to dive right in! First, the good. The art was great. The illustrations were super-cute, and just really well done. I appreciate that it's in color, too (so much better than B&W!). I also liked the illustrated recipes. I hope there's a cookbook out in the world done I have mixed feelings about this book, a graphic novel/memoir/food diary of sorts. Ideally I'd have given 2 1/2 stars, and since I couldn't, I was really torn between 2 and 3 (I'm still not sure I'm in the 3 camp). Nothing for it but to dive right in! First, the good. The art was great. The illustrations were super-cute, and just really well done. I appreciate that it's in color, too (so much better than B&W!). I also liked the illustrated recipes. I hope there's a cookbook out in the world done in the same style! I would totally ... borrow it from the library (space is at a premium in my 1BR and I'm trying to let go of some of the cookbooks I already own ... I'm not looking to add to what I have!). The bad? Sorry to sound like a jerk, but I didn't find the author's life to be interesting enough to warrant a book of vignettes (which is really what this was ... or, more accurately, a book of vignettes about her mom's life). In fact, I was bored with the beginning of the book, only perking up when she and her mother moved to the Hudson Valley (no doubt because I'm in a semi-long-distance relationship with the HV and try to visit as frequently as possible, and am also looking forward to apple-picking season and cider doughnuts). What I'm trying to say is that if it weren't for that personal connection, I don't know that it would have gotten better for me. I mean, I still remember the best egg-and-tomatoes I've ever had (in Iraq, at what used to be my aunt and uncle's house, though I'm not sure what became of the house), and I remember trying to replicate the recipe, not understanding why I couldn't when it's so simple. My mom pointed out that the eggs came from the backyard and the tomatoes and onions were grown for taste, not for the ability to travel long distances. Anyway, I don't think my experience warrants a chapter in a book, in any book, even though it's similar to Knisley's experience with an apricot jam croissant. Lucy, if you're reading this, I think I know why you couldn't replicate the recipe: ingredients in other countries are better than they are here, which makes for better food. Hell, even the McDonald's in Niagara Falls, Canada, had real eggs in their Egg McMuffins! So, to sum up, didn't suck, enjoyed it enough, but won't be seeking out the author's other books.

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