Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review Pt. 2 of 3

The next book in the review process is A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.

I will be honest and say that I wasn't thrilled at first glance. Molly is much younger than I am and my vanity didn't want to read a book written by a girl who has lived in Paris in her twenties, has a successful blog and accomplished all this before she was thirty. The only interesting things were that Molly is from Oklahoma, which is soon to my new home town, and she writes about food. I do however trust the giver of this gift. My friend April sent this book. I love my friend April. She knows me and she also likes to cook. So I figured if she thought I would like the book I would give it a try.

It turns out April knows me better than I thought.

I ended up loving this book because Molly seems to intertwine her memoirs surrounding food seamlessly with the actual recipes.

She starts off the book with an ode to her father's potato salad. I was immediately smitten because in my family my mother's potato salad is a legend. She doesn't really have a recipe; she just cooks it by feel. This has made it almost impossible to replicate. Lucky for her Molly has her dad's recipe. I am sure it is good but it calls for ranch dressing and caraway seeds and that's not in my mom's potato salad. So I am sure my mom's is better.

Each recipe in this book is preceded by a story about the item of food and how it is connected to someone special in Molly's life. Her father looms large and her mother's Christmas cookies make a great story. Other recipes from her time in Paris and her boyfriend turned husband make appearances.

Somehow the combination of story and recipes turns the cookbook into something more inspirational. I actually want to make all these recipes. Usually, I am a very utilitarian cook. I cook well but I like to get in the kitchen and be done. The eating and conversation are the fun parts for me. So, when I found myself enrapt in this book I was surprised; the most I ever do with cookbooks is browse and maybe make a grocery list. Now, I can't wait to make her roast cauliflower, her French bread and chocolate, the list of Christmas cookies and maybe, just maybe the potato salad. Maybe, but I won't like it.

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