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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  7,847 ratings  ·  876 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
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Community Reviews

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First Second Books
Apr 10, 2013 First Second Books marked it as first-second-publications
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...more
Seth Hahne
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.

Relish by Lucy Knisley

[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...more
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 mo...more
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...more
Didi
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.
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...more
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...more
Cindy
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 onl...more
Melissa
This is delightful! Wonderful little illustrations that made me wonder why I'm not living in Chicago, going to art school & working behind a fancy cheese counter in my off time, at least until I realize that I can't draw or paint & I hate cheese. I especially love memoirs about women who have lovely adult relationships with their mothers, because I find that notion is so foreign & beautiful. The recipe illustrations are totally top-notch.
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...more
Kelly
This graphic memoir is fantastic, especially if you are at all into food, either the cooking of it or the eating of it.

There's not a strong narrative, but rather, this is a collection of vignettes. Lucy shares stories of growing up in a family that relishes in cooking and eating good food. But it's not an upturned-nose sort of foodie memoir, which is why I appreciated it so much. It's about the joy of and celebration of the role food plays in a social way and in a very personal way. It doesn't m...more
Bonnie G.
I DEVOURED this book (pun fully intended).

But before you envision me gorging this book, I actually restrained myself. Instead of a graphic novel buffet or smorgasbord, I treated as though an 8 course meal. And I def read it in bed. Before going to sleep.

If you want to go to sleep a happy person, imagine strawberries and sushi and farmers markets and vegan shepherds pie dancing through your head. A preemptive strike against bad dreams!
Amelia
Throughout this graphic memoir, Knisley narrates a childhood defined by her experiences with food. She doesn't just describe the food, for example, a freshly baked croissant filled with fruit jam. Rather, using all her senses, she captures the whole moment in exquisite detail, drawing the reader into the scene so you're standing by her as a she discovers the perfect croissant in early morning Venice.

She closes each chapter with a related illustrated recipe. I am eager to try several of them! Kni...more
Shannon
Reading Lucy Knisley's first book, French Milk, made me want to punch her in the face. It was a pretty irrational hatred of a stranger based on one slim story of her life. I guess we've both done some growing up since then, because I found this book considerably more palatable (terrible pun intended).

My oft stated mantra is that I hate to read about the rich and bored, which is exactly why French Milk grated on my nerves. And even though Relish recalls childhood/young adulthood trips to Mexico,...more
Jamie
Jul 28, 2013 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jamie by: www.capitolchoices.org
If food is indeed the new music this is the book for that new generation.
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...more
Raina
Cookbook authors who write for children have known this for decades - sequential art is an ideal medium for cooking instructions.

Knisley has come a long way since French Milk*. Her storytelling is more developed. I also like how she uses color in this story, and it's nice the way she weaves together memoir content with recipes.

There's no attempt at comprehension here (though Alison Bechdel's blurb on the cover might lead you to expect otherwise) - just one recipe at the end of each chapter. Most...more
Rachael Ricker (Myers)
"I was a child raised by foodies". I almost puked at the opening sentence. The precious musings of a privileged art school student who grows up surrounded by good food and learns to appreciate home cooked meals. The highlights of this book are the recipes which I'm excited to try and the author's art works well here illustrating different techniques and food preparation. I also loved that the author grew up near Greig Farm and both her and her mother worked at the farm stand! Greig Farm is great...more
Chibineko
I slightly waffled between giving this four stars and giving it five stars. The book has some minor flaws, but none that really ruined it for me as a whole. Relish pretty much falls into the type of graphic novel I've come to expect from this publisher: a nice alternative/indie type niche read that is of good quality.

While this is undeniably an autobiography of her life, it's also a story of food. Good food, bad food, and all that falls between those two groups. Knisley utilizes an episodic for...more
ALPHAreader
“I was a child raised by foodies” – so begins Lucy Knisley’s ‘Relish, My Life in the Kitchen’, a collection of graphic food-themed short-stories in Knisley’s graphic novel memoir.

I heard Lucy Knisley speak at Melbourne Writers Festival back in August, and quickly snatched up a copy of ‘Relish’ (which I also got Lucy to sign – and she drew a picture of my favourite food, Turkish delight, along with her signature). And I suppose it’s because I listened to Lucy’s fascinating lecture detailing the...more
Elizabeth Moreau Nicolai
Bottom Line: Delicious book. Should be in all medium and larger sized libraries who collect adult graphic novels. Would recommend for anyone who watches the food channel, Anthony Bourdain and/or is a "foodie".

Review clipped from blog entry. To read full review go here: http://bornlibrarian.blogspot.com/201...

This is the story of both a recognizable middle class childhood (divorced parents, travel, school, friends), but also of a lot of different foods.

The tales of childhood and young adult tran...more
Karen
This was a lovely graphic memoir about the love of food and memories that are embedded in certain dishes, places, and people we were with when we first experienced them. The chapters are organized around different dishes, which come with their related stories and memories, so by the end of the chapter, when you get why this is so special to her, and are a little more than curious about tasting it yourself, you find a recipe waiting for you! Yay!
This made me stop and think about my own food memor...more
April
I love graphic novels. I love books about the act of cooking and eating. Thus, Relish: My Life In The Kitchen by Lucy Knisley immediately caught my eye, as it combines two of my favorite things ever. Lucky for me, Relish was just as delightful and tantalizing as expected. Also? Bonus! There are recipes throughout the book where the instructions are visually illustrated. The down side is that I now wish ALL cook books were like this – as that would make following a recipe so much easier. I digres...more
Elizabeth A
This is a foodie graphic memoir. The author's parents are foodies, and raised their daughter on things you would not normally see a kid eat. She might have been raised a gourmand, but watch out when she is exposed to salt, sugar and fat. Is there room for both?

While I found this a fun read, it read like a short story collection which is not my fave writing form. The art while simple, is colorful and cheery, and I think reflects the theme of this book well. I especially liked the illustrated rec...more
Candice M (tinylibrarian)
I love this book! The only reason I don't want to proclaim this too loudly is because I want to BUY IT FOR ALL OF MY FOODIE FRIENDS!!! Shhh... Don't tell anyone. Knisley's love of food culture (taste, prep, community) easily shines through in the gorgeous, happy illustrations, recipes and dialogue. Here is a food book as it should be - welcoming, easy, comforting, and filling, like a dish that you want to share with all of your family and friends. Brava and bon appetit, Lucy Knisley, on this del...more
Courtney
Love this lady! Read French Milk a couple years ago (tribute to Paris) -- highly entertaining. Becoming a big fan of these feminist comic books and Relish was no exception. Let's face it: I LOVE FOOD!!! This memoir is about Lucy's growing up with a chef mom and foodie Dad and while it sounds superficial it's not. Her drawings and recipes are priceless as are her reflections that have nothing to do with food like a coming of age trip to Mexico with her friend and their Moms which involves skin ma...more
Ryan
This was the perfect graphic novel for me. The narrative was strong and kept solid throughout the whole book; the illustrations were simple and combined well with the story. Author Lucy Kinsey takes us on a epicurial tour of her life and taste palate. As the daughter of a caterer in a family of foodies, Kinsey experienced many wonderful tastes, foods and methods of preparation, yet she was not shy about admitting to a love of fast food french-fries and delivery pizza (not something a typical foo...more
paula
And now I am checking to see if we have any fresh ginger, for the ginger lime maple Pimm's cocktail in this book. Also: carbonara for dinner tomorrow. Mustn't be jealous of her idyllic childhood - at least she shares!
Chelsea
I had not planned on being consumed with a graphic novel this Friday night. New groceries were purchased yesterday, so I was going to make something from my new cookbook. I sat down to go through the recipes in it and found something I wanted to try. While I was still in my reading spot I put my cookbook aside and happened upon this beautiful little book. I just checked it out from the library today, so it wasn't high on my 'to be read' list. I flipped through a few pages and ended up reading th...more
Mihaela Precup
A very charming book indeed. The recipes look delightful. I think my only beef with it is that Knisley decided not to include any negative memories in a book that is ostensibly about how she remembers her life through/with food. I would have been really curious to see how her love of food would have played itself out in less harmonious surroundings (here, everybody gets along, all aggravations are read as minor because the passage of time has rendered them amusing, and even her parents' divorce...more
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Beginning with an love for Archie comics and Calvin and Hobbes, Lucy Knisley (pronounced "nigh-zlee") has always thought of cartooning as the only profession she is suited for. A New York City kid raised by a family of foodies, Lucy is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago currently pursuing an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies. While completing her BFA at the School of the...more
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“I love the treat and pleasure of eating when it becomes an act of focused giving and sharing...Wasting money and appetite on bad food is disappointing, but it doesn't matter when the company is good...[T]here's a lot to be said for eating as a social act. It's a treat, even when the food is bad.” 3 likes
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