Saturday, March 23, 2024

Weekend Cooking/Cook the Books: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley


It's not often that I reread a book, with notable exceptions, but when this book was announced as the current selection for Cook the Books I was more than happy to revisit. I mean, last time I reviewed this book I used words like charming and delightful more than once!

When it came to creating this post, I thought that I had some thoughts to share but it turns out that the things I wanted to highlight were things that I highlighted last time, so I am going to re-share the majority of the review, and then add something new at the end.

This foodie memoir is a delight. Whilst there is still a hint of the precocious Lucy that we met in French Milk, it is much less of an obstacle to enjoyment, or at least it was for me. I think it also helps that rather than focusing on just one place (albeit Paris) for a very short period of only five weeks, this is an exploration of  a life long obsession with good food.

Knisley makes no apologies for the fact that she was introduced to really good food from a young age. Her mother is a chef and her father a foodie from way back and she spent her childhood years in the kitchens of restaurants. She remembers other kids bringing cupcakes to school for their birthdays but her mother would turn up with a blow torch to give the creme brulee a perfect crunchy top.

Lucy lived in New York with her parents until they divorced and Lucy and her mother moved to rural upstate New York - quite the shock to city girl Lucy. It wasn't long before Lucy's mother was involved in food again through farmers markets, catering companies and more, and therefore so was Lucy!

As well as talking about more exotic food and adventures, the author tells of her parents mortification at the fact that she still enjoys junk food like Maccas (McDonalds just in case you didn't get the Aussie vernacular), batches of chocolate chip cookies instead of anything more gourmet, of her shock at finding bits of marshmallows in breakfast cereals (I must confess I find this a bit shocking still!) and more.

We follow Lucy from New York to the country, to Japan, France and Mexico (which was a really fun story), to Chicago and then full circle back to New York. The one thing that stays constant is Lucy's love of good food, of being willing to try new foods, and of trying to recreate those foods. I loved the chapter where Lucy tried to recapture the elusive taste of a croissant that she bought in Venice to the point of being obsessed!

The thing that pleased me most as I was reading was how much it made me smile. In nearly every chapter there was some little quirky addition to the drawing or some tale that just made me happy to read. In one of the chapters, the author talks about going to Japan to visit friend and at the end of that chapter she gives a pictorial demonstration of how to make sushi rolls. In a very small corner, there are three pictures - one of a sushi mat furled, then unfurled and then worn as a hat. They are all tiny pictures, but it is the kind of detail that makes it worth the time to look at all the images closely!

As another example, there is a chapter about why Lucy Knisley doesn't feel guilty about eating foie gras. Let's just say it involves an incident with very aggressive geese. There were echoes of this story in my own family. My sister has a terrible fear of birds which has evolved over the years after being chased up a tree in our backyard by chooks, and then on another occasion being attacked by a black swan!
Now, I was somewhat determined to not cook something sweet to share with this review, but ... that's what ended up happening. I had asked my husband what he wanted to bake one weekend recently, and he said cookies. I had a new cookie recipe to try! So it was meant to be. 

Last time I reviewed this book I shared an image of the recipe for Carbonara. Today, I thought I would share an image related to Cookies, and then I would share what cookies would appear on this page if it was my story. Fair disclosure. I cannot draw to save myself so I am using photos instead. 




I've made....


Fudgy chocolate cookies from Nagi Maeheshi and Sugar Cookies


Melting Moments (Granny's recipe) and Chocolate and Pistachio Sable from Around the Table by Julia Busitil Nishimura


Ricciarelli from The Italian Pantry by Theo Randall and Giant Double Chocolate Chip Cookies











Do you like the sound of any of these?

Finally, in case you are now in the mood for cookies, here is Lucy Knisley's recipe for her Best Chocolate Chip Cookies




I now have two more of Lucy Knisley's books out from the library. I am looking forward to reading them soon!

Weekly meals

Saturday -  
Sunday -  Smash Burgers
Monday - Pork Chops, mash and beans
Tuesday - Spicy Pork and Beans Stirfry
Wednesday - Mexican Chicken and Rice
Thursday - Beef Stroganoff
Friday - Takeaway





Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

7 comments:

  1. I missed your first review of the book, so I enjoyed it this time. The cookies that you made look amazing. I'll have to look for her books in our library. Thanks and thanks for hosting Weekend Cooking.

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  2. I'm glad that you joined us so I could read your review and see all those scrumptious cookie ideas.

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    1. I try to join in most times, although some times the books can be a bit tricky to find! I should be in for next month I think

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  3. The cookies look yummy! What's the Granny recipe ones? And I also could take a batch of the snickerdoodles. Yay.

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    1. They are delicious is what they are! They are actually cookies that are sandwiched together with a filling. The recipe is here

      http://www.theintrepidreader.com/2023/05/weekend-cooking-grannys-melting-moments.html

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  4. Wow, Marg, that is a fabulous cookie spread. Thank you for sharing your earlier review. This sentence particularly resonated with me "The thing that pleased me most as I was reading was how much it made me smile." I agree with you completely. Thank you for contributing to this edition of Cook the Books :)

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