Tuesday, September 22, 2015


lucy knisley
graphic novel/memoir
first second
published 2013

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.

Oh, oh, oh I loved this book.  Reading all of Knisley's memories of growing up and how they were tied to her memories of food.  From growing up in a small apartment in New York City with chefs and foodies, through her parents divorce, puberty, college and coming home she tells it all while weaving in a memory of pasta she had with her dad, or eating McDonald's much to her parents' horror.

The memories are sweet and honest, sometimes funny and sometimes sad, but always, always there was food.  Her recipes are tempting not only from the description, but the illustrations as well.  I especially loved her recounting of her meal at Alinea, especially just coming off of Bourdain's less than favorable opinion of the restaurant.  I finished the book wanted to eat cheese, pickles, farm fresh veggies and tacos and, well, everything!

medium raw

medium raw
anthony bourdain
published 2010

Medium Raw marks the return of the inimitable Anthony Bourdain, author of the blockbuster bestseller Kitchen Confidential and three-time Emmy Award-nominated host of No Reservations on TV's Travel Channel.  Bourdain calls his book, "A Blood Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook," and he is at his entertaining best as he takes aim at some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, Alice Waters, the Top Chef winners and losers, and many more.  If Hunter S. Thompson had written a book about the restaurant business, it could have been Medium Raw.

I must begin my review by stating that I love Anthony Bourdain.  There is very little that he has done or said in his career that I didn't find true or amusing, or both.  And I think that Medium Raw is excellent.  He is honest, both about the people he thinks are wrong and about himself.  No one is safe from his critiques, but he isn't just spewing vitriol or haphazardly calling people douchebags.  There is a method to his madness.  He is equally negative and positive in his critiques and while he may think that Alice Waters should probably retire her gardens for schools idea he thinks her heart is in the right place.  When he names someone a villain he has a reason and a good one at that.

He does a quick 'where are they now' for the co-stars of Kitchen Confidential and it makes me want to go back and read it all over again.  He admits that there is no way he can hack it on the line anymore.  He talks a lot about starting his career moving away from the kitchen and in front of the camera.  He discusses why Food Network is evil and David Chang is brilliant and a maniac.  He validates that Top Chef really is the only cooking competition show on TV worth watching.  ;)  I loved every word.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

knit one, kill two

knit one, kill two
a knitting mystery #1
maggie sefton
berkley books
published 2005

For Kelly Flynn, coming back to Colorado for her aunt's funeral yields a disturbing suspicion: that her death wasn't the result of a burglary, but something more sinister.  After all, why would the sensible sixty-year-old borrow $20,000 just days before her death?  With the help of the knitting regulars at the House of Lambspun, Kelly's about to get a few lessons in creating a sumptuously colored scarf - and in luring a killer out of hiding.

This was a quick cozy mystery read that I found myself enjoying more than I had expected I would.  The characters aren't delved into too deeply and there is still much of Kelly's life that we don't know about.  The ending of the book kind of left you hanging.  The mystery was solved, but once the dust settles, what happened?  But the descriptions of the yarns and knitting had me itching to grab my needles and start again.  I loved that the book included two quick knitting patterns and a recipe for cinnamon rolls too!

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