A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416551065
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/23/2010
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 484,769
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Molly Wizenberg, winner of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award, is the voice behind Orangette, named the best food blog in the world by the London Times. Her first book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, was a New York Times bestseller, and her work has appeared in Bon Appétit, The Washington Post, The Art of Eating, and The Guardian, and on Saveur.com and Gourmet.com. She also cohosts the hit podcast Spilled Milk. She lives in Seattle with her husband Brandon Pettit, their daughter June, and two dogs named Jack and Alice. She and Brandon own and run the restaurants Delancey and Essex.

Read an Excerpt


INTRODUCTION

It started when I was a freshman in high school. We'd be sitting at the kitchen table, the three of us, eating dinner, when my father would lift his head from his plate and say it: "You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants." Sometimes, for good measure, he'd slap the table and let loose a long ooooh of contentment. It didn't seem to matter what we were eating. It could have been some sliced tomatoes, or a bowl of mashed potatoes, or some fish that he'd fried in a pat of butter. At least every couple of weeks, he said it. To me, it sounded like tacky bragging, the kind of proud exaggeration that fathers specialize in. It's the suburban man's equivalent of ripping open his shirt and beating his chest with his fists. I would shrink into my chair, blushing hotly, the moment it crossed the threshold of his lips. I was mortified by the weird pleasure he took in our family meal. After a while, I could even sense it coming. I'd mouth the words before he could say them: You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants!

But now I'm old enough to admit that he was right. It's not that we knew how to cook especially well, or that we always ate food that was particularly good. There were hot dogs sometimes, and cans of baked beans. Our garlic came in a jar, minced and ready, and our butter was known to go rancid. What was so satisfying, I think, was something else. It was the steady rhythm of meeting in the kitchen every night, sitting down at the table, and sharing a meal. Dinner didn't come through a swinging door, balanced on the arm of an anonymous waiter: it was something that we made together. We built our family that way -- in the kitchen, seven nights a week. We built a life for ourselves, together around that table. And although I couldn't admit it then, my father was showing me, in his pleasure and in his pride, how to live it: wholly, hungrily, loudly.

When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be. When my father sat down at the dinner table, he saw more than what was on his plate. He saw his childhood as the son of two Polish immigrants; his youth in a working-class neighborhood in 1930s Toronto; his immigration to the U.S. after medical school; his troubled first marriage; his first three children; the beautiful woman in a brown faux-fur mini-dress who danced with him at a Christmas party; their move to Oklahoma; his successful private practice; his big house in the suburbs; and me, his fourth child, born when he was just shy of fifty. No wonder he was proud. He made a good life for himself. He might as well have won the lottery, for all his glee over those tomatoes or potatoes or fried fish.

When I walk into my kitchen today, I bring all of this with me.

Like most people who love to cook, I like the tangible things. I like the way the knife claps when it meets the cutting board. I like the haze of sweet air that hovers over a hot cake as it sits, cooling, on the counter. I like the way a strip of orange peel looks on an empty plate. But what I like even more are the intangible things: the familiar voices that fall out of the folds of an old cookbook, or the scenes that replay like a film reel across my kitchen wall. When we fall in love with a certain dish, I think that's what we're often responding to: that something else behind the fork or the spoon, the familiar story that food tells.

I grew up in the kitchen. When I was a baby, my mother would put me on a blanket on the kitchen floor, where I would bang around with pots and pans and spoons. I crashed my first dinner party at the age of three, and I still remember it -- mainly because my grand entrance consisted of falling, half asleep and holding a unicorn hand puppet, into a family friend's swimming pool. When I was old enough to reach the kitchen counter, my mother let me make what I called "mixtures": weird, what-would-this-taste-like concoctions made from such winning combinations as Diet Coke and cake flour, or sugar, garlic salt, and food coloring. As a kid, I loved to play the card game Old Maid, but I didn't call it by that name: I called it Homemade, a word that made much more sense to me. Everything interesting, everything good, seemed to happen when food was around.

My family believes in cooking. It's what we do, where we put our money and our free time. I may have grown up in landlocked Oklahoma, but I ate my first lobster at age six, when my father came home from an East Coast business trip with a cooler full of them. He upended it on the kitchen floor, spilling them onto the linoleum like giant spiders, and while they clattered around on their spindly legs, I stood on a chair and screamed. Then, of course, I had a taste of their sweet meat. That shut me right up.

This is my family. My sister Lisa keeps a plot in a community garden, where she grows her own asparagus, lettuce, and snap peas. She also makes a near-perfect scone and, for a while, wanted to open a chocolate shop. My brother Adam can whip up a terrific impromptu tomato sauce and, with only the slightest prompting, will tell you where to find the finest gelato from Italy to the Eastern Seaboard. My brother David has a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and owns a handful of restaurants in Washington, D.C. He can also roast a mean piece of beef. A recent Christmas in our clan consisted of forty-eight hours in the kitchen, a twenty-five-pound turkey, five quarts of soup, four dozen scones, three gallons of boozed-up eggnog, two dozen biscuits, and a bushel of spinach, creamed.

I learned to cook because it was a given. But I didn't learn in any sweet, at-the-apronstrings way. Neither of my grandmothers ever stood me on a chair and showed me how to make biscuits or beef stew. To tell you the truth, I hardly remember my grandmothers' cooking. My father's mother, Dora, used to send us Jewish holiday cookies from her kitchen in Toronto, but she packed them in a cardboard shoebox, so by the time they arrived, they were only crumbs.

I learned to cook because the kitchen was where things happened. No one told me to, but I hung around, and I was comfortable there. I learned how to handle a knife. I learned how to cook a string bean by eye, until its color turned bright green. It was no big deal. I hardly even thought about it. By a sort of osmosis, I picked up a sense of comfort in the kitchen, and a hunger that lasted long past breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For a long time, I thought that this meant that I should be a chef. Interests came and interests went, but at the end of the day, I always wound up at the stove. It was the only place I really wanted to be. It seemed only natural, then, to try to make something of it. I can cook, I thought, and I like to cook, so maybe I should be a cook. I should try working in a restaurant kitchen, I decided.

So one summer, the summer after my sophomore year of college, a friend set me up with an internship at a well-known vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. I was a vegetarian at the time; it was one of those interests that came and went. I was assigned to the pantry station, prepping salads and plating desserts. I got to eat a lot of day-old ginger cake, which was pretty fun, and with the exception of the time the chef handed me an onion and asked me breezily, as though it were as obvious as brushing my teeth, to slice it "as fine as an angel's eyelash," it went all right. But I didn't love it. I wasn't even sure I liked it. I never saw the faces of the people who ate what I had prepared. I never saw anything but my corner of the counter, actually. I didn't like the discontinuity between the kitchen and the dining room, between the procedure of cooking and the pleasure of eating.

I didn't last long. I didn't leave college for cooking school. I got a degree in human biology and another in French, and then another in anthropology. If I had stayed my course, I'd probably be standing in front of a class somewhere, talking about the concept of solidarité and social security in France. But then, you wouldn't be reading this.

All along, something kept calling me back to the table. Every time I opened my mouth, a story about food came out. In July of 2004, I decided that I had to listen. I left my PhD program with a master's degree instead. In an effort to make something of my madness, I started a blog called Orangette, a space where I could store all my recipes and the long-winded tales that spun from them. I named it for one of my favorite chocolate confections -- a strip of candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate -- and started to fill it with my favorite people, places, and meals.

I wanted a space to write about food. That's all, really. But what I got was something much better. I got an excuse for long afternoons at the stove, and for tearing through bags of flour and sugar faster than should be allowed by state law. I got a place to tell my stories and a crowd of people who, much to my surprise, seemed eager to listen and share. What started as a lonely endeavor came to feel like a conversation: a place where like-minded people could swap recipes and dinner plans, a kind of trading post where cakes and chickpeas are perfectly valid currency. I'm not the only one, I learned, who believes that the kitchen, and the food that comes from it, is where everything begins. What started as a simple love for food grew to have a life of its own -- and a life that, in turn, has changed mine.

Now, of course, all this is not to say that my kitchen is full of sunshine and puppies and sweet-smelling flowers that never wilt. When I cook, there's often a lot of cursing. I've made soups that tasted like absolutely nothing, as though the flavors had miraculously united to form a perfect zero sum. I once charred a pork loin so thoroughly that it looked like a tree stump after a forest fire. I have eaten my fair share of peanut butter and jelly and two-dollar beans and rice from the taqueria down the street. But I still believe in paying attention to those meals, no matter how fast or frustrating. I believe in what they can show me about the place where I live, about the people around me, and about who I want to be. That, to me, is the "meat" of food. That's what feeds me -- why I cook and why I write.

That's why this book is called A Homemade Life. Because, in a sense, that's what we're building -- you, me, all of us who like to stir and whisk -- in the kitchen and at the table. In the simple acts of cooking and eating, we are creating and continuing the stories that are our lives.

Copyright © 2009 by Molly Wizenberg

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Introduction 1

How to Use the Recipes in This Book 7

A Place to Start 11

The Baker in the Family 17

In Need of Calming 23

The Whole Messy Decade 29

An Uncalculating Science 35

Better with Chocolate 41

The Dark Horse 47

A Brood of Seven 51

La Boule Miche 59

A Strange Sort of Coming of Age 65

The Hardball Stage 71

A Personal Chronology in Christmas Cookies 77

The Right Answer to Everything 85

Quite that Magnificent 91

What France Would Taste Like 97

The Best of All Possible Worlds 103

High Points 111

Heaven 119

9:00 A.M. Sunday 127

Italian Grotto Eggs 135

The Mottling 141

Whatever You Love, You Are 153

Summer of Change 161

Pretty Perfect 171

Promise to Share 177

With Cream on Top 183

Happiness 189

Baby Steps 195

Like Wildflowers 207

Delicious in Its Way 213

Rough Going 219

Bonus Points 223

Herbivores Only 229

Special Game 235

The Diamonds 241

Sugarhouse 249

The Change Thing 253

Bonne Femme 259

So Much Better 267

A Big Deal 275

Freeze Frame 281

Pickling Plant 287

So Easy 293

I Have Learned Not to Worry 299

Winning Hearts and Minds 309

Recipe Index 315

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for A Homemade Life includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Molly Wizenberg. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, freelance food writer and creator of the award-winning blog Orangette, is part touching personal memoir, part wonderful recipe collection. Molly recounts a life with food at its heart, where delicious recipes intertwine with the stories of her family, growing up, beginning a blog, even meeting and marrying her husband. Written in a lively, accessible style, A Homemade Life is as much at home on the bookshelf as it is in the kitchen.




Discussion Questions

1. In her introduction, Molly describes her love for the intangible things about cooking. She explains, “When we fall in love with a certain dish, I think that’s what we’re often responding to: that something else behind the fork or the spoon, the familiar story that food tells” (p. 2). Are there any dishes that you associate with a particular story, person, time, or place? Describe those dishes and the intangible meaning they have for you.

2. Molly’s father Burg was an important presence in her life. She describes him as “a real character, a very kind person, and even sort of a sap, but he could also be very difficult. He was not some mythic figure sent from on high” (p. 183). What do you think were Burg’s strengths and weaknesses?

3. “When I was little, I thought my mother came from the most perfect family.” (p. 51). Later in the book Molly explains that she was closer to her mother than her father, but she spends more of A Homemade Life describing Burg and his outsized personality. Why do you think this is?

4. Based on her description of her parents, what traits do you think Molly inherited from each of them? How do you think those traits affect her life?

5. People often associate food with celebrations and holidays. In the chapter “Italian Grotto Eggs” (p. 135), however, Molly describes a dish she made for Burg as he was dying of cancer. How did the egg dish provide relief for Burg? How did it provide relief for Molly? Do you associate any recipes with a sad or tragic memory?

6. Molly describes meeting her future husband online in the chapter “Baby Steps” (p. 195). Does making a romantic connection online hold any connotations for you? If a friend told you she was going to meet someone who emailed her blog, what would you think?

7. In the chapter “Summer of Change,” Molly admits, “Whenever I don’t know what to do, Paris is where I’ve gone” (p. 162), and she has spent a significant amount of time there. What does Paris mean to Molly? What does it provide her?

8. What does the concept “whatever you love, you are” (p. 153) mean to Molly? How did she use it to better understand her father?

9. Throughout the book, Molly mentions that she has difficulty embracing change, that she likes the concept of routines—almost to the point of being boring. What are the aspects, both positive and negative, of this character trait?

10. Molly defines happiness as “a pan of slow-roasted tomatoes” (p. 189). Can something specific and tangible define happiness? If so, what defines happiness for you?

11. When her father was near death, Molly states, “I know it’s awful to say it, but I was so relieved that morning, when I saw the splotches. I didn’t want to stop him. I was terrified of stopping him. I pulled my hand away from his face. I stood up, ran my fingers down his forearm to smooth the hair, and stepped back. Then I left the room, and I don’t remember what I did” (p. 144). The sentences leading up to the last are descriptively vivid. Why do you think Molly doesn’t remember after that point?

12. In the chapter “The Hardball Stage” (p. 72), Molly shares the story she wrote as a teenager about, as she puts it, “how one wordy teenager found her way into the kitchen.” What does the essay reveal about her relationship to her family? about her relationship to food? Optional exercise: Write a personal food-related story to share with the group.

13. What do you think A Homemade Life means to Molly? What does it mean to you?



Enhance Your Book Club

Check out Molly’s award-winning blog: www.Orangette.blogspot.com.

Using Molly’s blog photos as inspiration, have your book club members take photos of some of their favorite foods. Bring them to the book club discussion to display.

For your book club discussion, bring a box of orangettes. They can be ordered from online retailers like www.ChocolatDuMonde.com or make them yourself (www.About.com offers a recipe). Or select one of the recipes in the book to make and share at the meeting.

Make your own cookbook. Each member of the group can contribute a favorite recipe (or recipes) and brief stories that explain them. Use photos if you have them—and be sure to include a photo of the members of the group! Organize all the materials in a booklet and share copies with the group.





A Conversation with Molly Wizenberg

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your life since publishing A Homemade Life? Have there been any special projects, meals, or recipes? Does Seattle still feel like home for both you and Brandon?

A. It’s been busy around here, to say the least! In August of 2009, Brandon and I opened a restaurant. It’s called Delancey, and it’s in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. It’s a Brooklyn-style wood-fired pizzeria, inspired by all the great pies that Brandon grew up eating in New York and New Jersey. A restaurant is probably the last thing that anyone expected of us, given that Brandon is a musician by training, and that I’ve written quite a bit about how much I dislike (!) working in a restaurant kitchen, but what can you do? He makes a killer pizza. I’m so proud of him.



Q. Do you still enjoy writing your blog, Orangette? Has it changed since you began it in 2004?

A. I love writing for the blog. Probably more than ever, actually. The blog is where I can be the most spontaneous in my writing, where I can really play. It’s also an incredible community. I’m continually blown away by the conversations that crop up in comments, by the people that I’ve met, by the way it has completely reshaped my life over the past six years. It sounds cheesy, but I mean every word.



Q. At your book events or through your blog, do readers ever share their own food stories with you? Does one of these stand out in particular?

A. Absolutely. Talking with readers and hearing their stories has been my favorite part of book events. When I write, I feel as though I’m having a conversation with my readers—only, the thing is, I never actually get to see their faces or hear their voices. Book events give me that chance, and I’m so grateful for it. The fact that food gives us a common ground to meet on, that it gives us something to share—that’s what it’s all about. Now I’m really sounding cheesy.



Q. Does Paris continue to be a special place for you? Have you been back since the publication of your book?

A. Paris will always be a special place for me. I haven’t been back since the book came out—this year was so busy!—but Brandon and I are hoping to steal away for a trip sometime in 2010. I miss it.



Q. List three items that are in your refrigerator right now, and what significance they have for you.

A. Peanut butter—it’s not glamorous, but I could eat it every day. I’m pretty sure my body is at least 75 percent peanut butter.

Maple syrup—this particular jug of syrup was given to me by one of my readers. It came from her trees in upstate New York, and it’s fantastic. I don’t think there could possibly be a better present than maple syrup from your very own trees.

Apples from the farmers’ market—one of the best parts of living in Washington! There’s one stand in particular that has lots of heirloom apples, and they have the best names. Right now, I’ve got a couple of Black Twigs, one Gold Rush, and a couple of Waltanas.



Q. In A Homemade Life you write about both of your parents, but there seem to be more stories about your father and his outsized personality. Is there a reason for this?

A. I needed to write about my father. There were so many details and moments and stories that made up who he was to me, and I didn’t want to forget. I needed to write about him to assure myself that I would remember. But I also needed to write about him so that I could start to let go of some of the harder moments of his illness and his death. In putting them down on paper, I got to take them out of my head and store them somewhere else. I didn’t know it until I was deep into the book, but I still had a lot of grieving to do, and writing helped me to do it.



Q. Has your relationship with your mother changed in the years since the death of your father?

A. We were always close, and we still are. But we’ve become more intentional about spending time together. It’s not easy, since we live far apart, but every year, the two of us go away together, just for a few days, and do lots of eating and drinking and catching up.



Q. From potato salad to Christmas cookies to Hoosier Pie, in the book you describe many recipes that are traditions in your family. Have you and Brandon created any new traditional recipes?

A. We ’re still pretty fixated on Hoosier Pie, to tell you the truth! Old traditions die hard—or however the saying goes. But we’re making new ones, too. Slowly but surely I’ve taken to making the same chocolate layer cake for our birthdays every year, and I get irrationally excited about it. I’m still working on the frosting, though. Maybe this will be my lucky year.


Q. What is your opinion of the slow food movement in this country? Do you believe it is on the rise? How do you think the current economy has or will affect it?

A. Anything that encourages people to eat more real food and less processed food, to find pleasure in cooking and sharing food, is a great thing.



Q. What are you working on now? Do you have plans to write another book?

A. Well, I’m into my third year of writing a monthly column for Bon Appétit and my sixth year at Orangette, both of which keep me busy! I’m also the de facto manager / wineglass polisher / baseboard scrubber / errand runner / CFO of Delancey, and that keeps me even busier. (Or crazier, depending on your point of view.) But I do want to write another book, and getting a start on that is my goal for 2010. Fingers crossed.

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Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
kanellio65 More than 1 year ago
A HOMEMADE LIFE, a personal memoir, comes from Molly Wizenberg as she writes about her family and how food was always the center their lives seemed to revolve around. In each chapter, as she recounts her life, she tells stories about her family and herself and they all seem to wind up somehow back to some kind of food. Whether it is about a family gathering and what food they served, or a place they visited and something they ate while there, food shows up as a character in her memoir. With each story and chapter, comes a recipe or two described in a way that even I can follow. I found myself wishing I had all the ingredients on hand so many times so I could rush into my kitchen and try it right away. Her father's French toast, which I did make, is my favorite, so far. Of course, A HOMEMADE LIFE isn't one of the best books I have enjoyed in a long time JUST because of the food. It is a beautifully written, touching story of Molly's life and her special relationship with her family and her father in particular. The recipes she gives the reader are integral parts of the stories she tells. Whether growing up and learning to cook, or meeting and marrying her husband, or traveling to her beloved Paris, recipes and food play an integral part of making this book so personal and memorable. Whatever You Love, You Are. Molly Wizenberg's ex-boyfriend was in a band and they recorded an album by that title. In her book, Molly writes about what that title meant to her mainly in reference to her father's death. Her father, Burg as he was known, died after a short battle with cancer and A HOMEMADE LIFE is dedicated to him. Molly explains how more than anyone else she knows, her father "was what he loved. .He did what he did and was what he was." When you come right down to it, don't we all hope we can be that way as well? Molly loves to cook with such a passion and so much of that comes from her father. She says, "I am so my father's daughter. Whatever you love, oh yes, you are." I think this speaks volumes and to me is the reason I loved this book so very much.
Christine_Emming More than 1 year ago
As a longtime fan of Orangette, Molly Wizenberg's blog, I was one of a food-loving, dorksome crowd who raced to buy this book immediately. I savoured it for weeks - okay, A week -, allowing myself to read small bits at a time, hoping to eke out the snuggly feelings as long as possible. Wizenberg writes easily, sweetly, about food and family, wrapping flavors tightly together with memory. It's a soothing way to read about recipe development, one story at a time, meals building up like steps. Molly is relatable - writing about simple, comforting food without judgement or attitude. Readers will find her approach honest, honeyed and inspiring. Overall, the recipes here are cozy bits of Wizenberg history, splashed together sometimes haphazardly. Salad recipes abound, for which my vegetarian leanings are grateful, and desserts are hearty, flavorsome staples. Molly flipflops between clever tweaks on classic dishes and presenting the classic dish pared down to its basic essence. But either way, most are recipes you'll appreciate for their fuss-free directions and ingredient lists. Wizenberg's book is a charmer, stories and recipes alike.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Molly Wizenberg has written a beautiful tribute to her family, her father in particular, and to the soothing, comforting, exciting power of food. She starts by introducing us to her family, and before long you feel like one of them, in the kitchen late at night stirring, tasting, and baking Fresh Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears. She takes us to Paris and Seattle and we meet all her friends along the way. Molly gently leads us through Christmas with Espresso-Walnut Toffee, her father's battle with cancer with Italian Grotto Eggs, and to the French Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon that changed everything. Her stories are simple, like her food, but comforting and filling too. Molly Wizenberg is absolutely one of the best food writers I have read. She has a way of drawing you in, making you feel a part of the story, and she makes me itch to get in the kitchen and try her recipes! This is a book I will use often, mostly when I have the urge to cook, but can't decide what. I'll give this book to friends and family and hope they get the same feelings of contentment and joy from this book as I did.
MarianneJ More than 1 year ago
I picked this book for my bookclub and we all really enjoyed it. I prepared 7 recipes from the book and we had a gourmet dinner the evening of our meeting. It really helped us discuss the book. Everyone loved the food and I am still receiving comments about the dinner and the book.The wine wasn't bad either. We also enjoyed port with her Winning hearts and minds cake. The cake was so good we all swooned!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book
Luckygranadma More than 1 year ago
I liked it, lots of good information, presented in a nice, relaxed and entertaining style.
slsMO More than 1 year ago
I haven't even finished the book yet, but came on the site to order two copies for friends. This isn't a book you pass on, it is one you keep on your shelf - in the kitchen! I was not familiar with the author before I stumbled upon this book but I couldn't be more pleased. A Homemade Life is entertaining, easy to read, and full of great recipes put into context of the author's life (in a way that you can see them being a part of your own).
Sales_Girl More than 1 year ago
It was one of those books that you just don't want to put down but rather stay under covers until you have finished every single chapter. It also makes me wanna cook as I feel I can be part of each Molly's adventure...
wineisme on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Delicious read by a fun, funny, and forthright female. I adore Molly Wizenberg for her frank and non-judgmental approach to life. She writes about cooking, eating, and dining with such passion and relatability. I love that she claims no 'secret' recipes. They are meant to be shared, according to Molly, and she names many of her favorite dishes in the book after the person who introduced the dish to her. I admit, I even called my mom halfway through a chapter suggesting we book a trip to France, just she, my sister, and I. An author who inspires such a consideration deserves praise. Molly has also coaxed me gently into the kitchen, sorting through old family recipes, in search of way more than just food energy. I'm off to bake meringues and molasses crackle cookies with spiced orange!
irisrose on LibraryThing 7 months ago
i simply loved this book. Such an enjoyable read. I kept it at my bedside to read slowly. I would read again for fun.
nittnut on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Oh my! I loved this book. I probably drooled on it too. Stories and recipes describes it perfectly. I made it to page 33 before I had to stop and go make one of her recipes. I've made two now and they were both delectable. Buy it, read it, store it on the shelf with your cookbooks.
Asperula on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A charming book with recipes!
abitbookish on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I adored this book. I read it in the summer and found myself contemplating making her fruit nut balls she makes each Christmas and even Ed Fretwell's Soup; a hearty soup with swiss chard, carrots and white beans, all in 95 degree weather! She really has a way of connecting the food to the events in her life in a poetic, lovely way. The love and respect she had for her Dad, is beautiful, as is her very own love story and how she met "the one". I'm considering putting this book next to my most used cookbooks because I know I will be reaching for it often enough, but it would be equally at home on the shelf with my most beloved fiction. It was delightful. I want more!
lkrier on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Molly has an incredible voice, whose stories make me want to sit down at the table with her, preferably over a simple salad and a rustic cake, and hear more and more and more. This collection of stories, each paired with a recipe, offers vignettes of her life and a bare autobiography, and shows how integral food and the table is to a well-lived life. She describes a life of simple pleasures, and the way she cooks seems so effortless. Every chapter made me want to get into the kitchen and give the recipe a try, but more significantly, it made me want to think and move differently in the kitchen. This book is charming and fascinating, and made me feel like I was wrapped up in a cozy blanket. I will definitely read it again.
cemming on LibraryThing 7 months ago
As a longtime fan of Orangette, Molly Wizenberg's blog, I was one of a food-loving, dorksome crowd who raced to buy this book immediately. I savoured it for weeks ¿ okay, A week ¿, allowing myself to read small bits at a time, hoping to eke out the snuggly feelings as long as possible. Wizenberg writes easily, sweetly, about food and family, wrapping flavors tightly together with memory. It's a soothing way to read about recipe development, one story at a time, meals building up like steps. Molly is relatable ¿ writing about simple, comforting food without judgement or attitude. Readers will find her approach honest, honeyed and inspiring.Overall, the recipes here are cozy bits of Wizenberg history, splashed together sometimes haphazardly. Salad recipes abound, for which my vegetarian leanings are grateful, and desserts are hearty, flavorsome staples. Molly flipflops between clever tweaks on classic dishes and presenting the classic dish pared down to its basic essence. But either way, most are recipes you'll appreciate for their fuss-free directions and ingredient lists.Wizenberg's book is a charmer, stories and recipes alike.
bookstar on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The stories were fun. They were cute, related and likeable, but what I loved most about this book was something I discovered days, even weeks later. I couldn't tell you what any particular story was about, but I could tell you the recipe included chocolate and arugula. I could tell you there was lots of butter in a delicious-sounding pound cake and I could tell you I had bookmarked more than half the book to try the recipes. It was fun having stories to accompany the recipes rather than pictures and from the recipes I've tried I yet to be disappointed.
rmariem on LibraryThing 7 months ago
So far, I've made the tomato & fennel soup, the scottish scones with ginger and lemon, and the bouchons au thon. All were great, especially the bouchons.
Brandie on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I just loved reading this book. It inspired me to make pasta, and I'm still thinking about picking up one of the instruments she talks about! Such an inspiring book for sure. Someday, I'd love to have more of the experiences she did (life on a farm, having chickens, etc, etc). For now, I live vicariously through fabulous writings such as this one =)
ntempest on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I can't speak to the recipes in this book, as I've yet to try them, but the prose here is simply beautiful and heart-felt. Wizenberg is the author of the popular food blog, Orangette, and this book uses the same familiar, intelligent voice as do her entries there. Over the course of a series of essays, Wizenberg shares her memories of the various events of her life and how they were always linked to food, including growing up in Oklahoma with her parents, holidays with her much older half-siblings, her father's joyous approach to food and food preparation, travels, and hardship. We learn of her father's illness and death a few years ago, and of Wizenberg's own struggle to redefine her life in the wake of that loss. Each vignette includes a recipe or two that ties into the story. Such a joy to read.
meldridge on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I really enjoyed this book overall... I had to keep in mind that it is a memoir and therefore not the reality that most people have with regards to being able to jaunt down to the local market and pick up specialized ingredients. It has opened up my willingness to thinkout of the box in the kitchen!
bearette24 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I was put off by this book's earnest title, but the story itself won me over almost immediately. Told in Molly Wizenberg's engaging voice, this is a story of food and love, studded with wonderful recipes. I loved her quirky take on blogs, chocolate, meeting her husband, everything.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Molly Wizenberg has written a beautiful tribute to her family, her father in particular, and to the soothing, comforting, exciting power of food. She starts by introducing us to her family, and before long you feel like one of them, in the kitchen late at night stirring, tasting, and baking Fresh Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears. She takes us to Paris and Seattle and we meet all her friends along the way. Molly gently leads us through Christmas with Espresso-Walnut Toffee, her father's battle with cancer with Italian Grotto Eggs, and to the French Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon that changed everything. Her stories are simple, like her food, but comforting and filling too. Molly Wizenberg is absolutely one of the best food writers I have read. She has a way of drawing you in, making you feel a part of the story, and she makes me itch to get in the kitchen and try her recipes! This is a book I will use often, mostly when I have the urge to cook, but can't decide what. I'll give this book to friends and family and hope they get the same feelings of contentment and joy from this book as I did.
stephaniechase on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A delightful mix of memoir and recipe. Fans of Wizenberg's blog Orangette will surely enjoy.
danivg on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Wow! Such a great book. Full of great writing and great food. This autobiography is layed out chronologically with each beautiful story used as a vehicle for delivering a beautiful recipe. Ms. Wizenberg has the most delicious way of describing her food, it makes you want to get in your kitchen and get cooking this instant. I took my time reading this one. Just a story or two a day because from the very beginning of the book I didn't want it to end. Luckily, I can follow her on the blog that started it all- Orangette.
laytonwoman3rd on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A food memoir, in the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher, but homier. Delightful reading--part cookbook, part love story, part tribute to her late father (and watch out for the chapter where she shares her father's last hours; it knocked me cold). Wizenberg loves butter, and chocolate, and cheese, and unexpected combinations of tastes. Cholesterol and indigestion just don't exist in her universe. (She's only 30-something, bless 'er.) Nothing smacks of test kitchens, or, god forbid, Food Channel challenges. Many of the recipes were the result of raiding the fridge to come up with lunch or dessert without a lot of pre-planning. Some people can just DO that---my sister-in-law, for one. But those serendipitous combinations don't always work the second time, because some of the magic is in the surprise. So I suspect these recipes may have been subjected to tweaking and refining before they made it into the book. But it's very plain that there was a lot of fun in the creation, and I'd take pot luck with Molly Wizenberg any time.