A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
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A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  9,306 ratings  ·  1,380 reviews
When Molly Wizenberg's father died of cancer, everyone told her to go easy on herself, to hold off on making any major decisions for a while. But when she tried going back to her apartment in Seattle and returning to graduate school, she knew it wasn't possible to resume life as though nothing had happened. So she went to Paris, a city that held vivid memories of a childho...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Simon & Schuster
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Heidi
Every once in a while I come across someone who makes me wonder. What I was doing when God was handing out talent? No, really. WHAT was I doing? Begging some mid-level angel to send me to a pastry-making family in Paris while rocket-science intellect and supermodel looks were being passed out like Halloween candy two lines down?

One thing’s certain: I was not in line with author Molly Wizenberg. Actually, I’m not sure anyone was in line with her that fateful pre-mortal day. She reminds me of the...more
Anne
I'm sincerely baffled by the glowing reviews and book jacket blurbs from talented, capable writers and chefs like David Leibovitz. This book is AWFUL. The writing is trite and painfully unedited; Molly Wizenburg writes as if she's 60 and writing a touching memoir, when she in fact is oversharing about her twenties only a couple years later. The whole thing was overly precious and read like the diary of a 14-year-old who thinks she is a special unicorn because her parents love her and she met a b...more
Cate
I read this immediately after It Sucked and Then I Cried, and that was probably one too many books-based-on-blogs in a row. I don't read her blog, Orangette, but I'm guessing this material works much better in blog format. It was very lightweight.

Also, while I'm glad the author and her husband are happy, she's really gushy about their relationship. She sounds very young. It's like Twilight, but with cooking instead of vampires.

None of the recipes jumped out at me as anything I want to make.
Jaclyn
I laughed, I cried, I put bouchons au thon on my weekly menu.

Molly Wizenberg is basically my generation's M.F.K. Fisher. Her recipes are fantastic, her descriptions are apt... but that all pales in comparison with the simple fact that her writing is full of life and joy. I've been a follower of her blog, Orangette, for some time now and I find I can always rely on Molly for a great recipe, wonderful story and stunning photography. But the book transcends that - it's something more. It's a glimps...more
Nute
I picked up this book because I really wanted to know how someone has a blog one day and a decent selling book the next. Yes, I understand that it probably didn't go down quite that simple, but you know what I mean.
That's what I wanted to find out from reading this book. But before I started reading it, I checked out Molly's blog site, Orangette.

After visiting Orangette, I just wanted to get to know Molly and try cooking her recipes. I knew that I had a real love for food as deep as hers, and if...more
Laurie
Mar 07, 2009 Laurie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laurie by: http://orangette.blogspot.com/
Shelves: nonfiction, food
Molly Wizenberg has a wonderfully flattering way of writing about food and people. She makes both sound delightful. While readers of A Homemade Life will wish they could sit down with Molly over salad and cheese, they will especially wish they could know all these charming people: her father, mother, husband, and various friends in Oklahoma, Paris, and Seattle. Molly describes each in a vivid way that says, "I love this person! I want to share him with you." And with each person comes a recipe....more
Beth
I heard of this book from a couple of sources and decided to pick it up. I now feel that Molly Wizenberg and I are best friends, and I have not yet even visited her blog, called Orangette. Great bedtime reading, as the "chapters" are quite short, each ending with usually one but maybe two recipes---and then I'd tell myself, "what would one more hurt?" so I'd read more. Her recipes are written as prose, leading you through each step. Along the way, she writes about her childhood, (and since she i...more
Gina
This book encompasses two pet peeves of mine: the blog-to-book craze and the cookbook-book combination. Blogs fodder is not always great book fodder. I enjoy a well-written blog, but I am less forgiving of a book that is not so well-written. I am not saying this book is not well-written, but I do think that the flow of the stories feel more like blog posts than short stories to me.

As for the cookbook/book issue, it's a personal matter of wondering where to house a book like this. Is it a proper...more
Ciara
Jun 21, 2009 Ciara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: francophiles, salad devotees, people who need motivation to cook, fans of blog love stories
i would have given this book four stars, because i have tried a few of the recipes & they are pretty delicious, & the book definitely inspired me to cook more & experiment in the kitchen, which is awesome. but halfway through the book, which seems to a be a loosely chronological cooking-related autobiography, the author marries some dude she met through her blog & the qaulity of both the writing & the recipes went way downhill. the dude she married is vegetarian (maybe even v...more
Bronwyn
When I first came across Orangette, I was charmed by Molly, by her optimism and casual intimacy and a life focused on friends and simple pleasures. And then, exposing some rather ugly aspect of my personality, I became rather jealous of her. Even knowing that writing a blog such as that allows quite a bit of self-editing, I was jealous of how lovely her life was, how clear her spirit, how well she put words together. I've cycled back to being charmed by her, and this book only reinforced her cha...more
Allison
The problem with criticizing memoirs is that it always feels like a personal attack on their authors, particularly when the author is your age, you both have dead fathers, and maybe just maybe there’s a little green-eyed monster sitting on your shoulder hissing “Hey! I can write at least as well as this! Where are MY book deal, freelance column with Bon Appetit, travel writing assignments, and True Love?” Which is of course unseemly.

Maybe if I were a regular follower of the blog, I’d get it, bu...more
jess
Nov 16, 2009 jess rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to jess by: olympia public library
Shelves: 2009, food, blogger
While I am skeptical of blogs-to-books, and have spent considerable hours of my life dissecting the genre in recent months, I really wanted to love this book. First, the author lives in the PNW. Me too! (Only 60 miles north of me, Molly Wizenberg has a restaurant.) She's from Oklahoma, but left the minute she could. Hey, me too! She had a long-distance sweetheart who became her spouse. Wow! Me too! So, imagine my surprise when I, self-identified emotional sap and carbohydrate connoisseur, became...more
Ron
Based on Wizenberg's "Orangette" blog, this memoir trades off anecdotes of her family and the blossoming relationship with a fan of her website (reader, she married him) with recipes keyed to certain memories. There's a lot of desserts, but also some pretty nifty-sounding salads, and a simple formula for pickled grapes I can't wait to try. I might even take a crack at the tomato soup with fennels if I ever have a spare afternoon to myself...

Wizenberg's an engaging raconteur, keeping the grand ar...more
Ashley
Quick, fun, mouthwatering read. Wizenberg comes across as a bit young, which means:

1) there’s some oversharing, and
2) the recipes are more the type of thing you'd cook as a single—or young couple—with a flexible budget, a refined palate, and ready access to Dean & Deluca, rather than the kind you’d fix on a weeknight for a family with kids.

Each recipe comes with the story behind it, and many are inspired by her time spent in France. The ones I’m most likely to make are, I have to admit, de...more
Laura
This is a wonderful book. I expected food writing (Molly Wizenberg is the author of Orangette, the number one food blog in the world, according to the London Times) and it is food writing, but it is way more than that. I guess the title 'A Homemade Life' should have been a clue.
I like to cook and have been doing it for a long time. I own more cookbooks than the law allows, so you'd think I'd like to read foodwriters' memoirs. I'd think so! But I find MFK Fisher so bleak and her writing so flat a...more
Hillary
I was fully prepared to skim this book. I am not a big fan of food or cooking, so when my friends recommended a book that included a passionate love for both, well suffice it to say I was a little apprehensive. That said, however, I loved this book. Not only can this woman eat, she can write. I have never heard anyone ascribe healing powers to cake and I have never seen writing that used “people adjectives” for food and “food adjectives” for people. She once explained that a friend of hers, duri...more
Susan
I've been interested lately in food as an inspiration for writing, especially about one's life. Molly Wizenberg has a knack both for telling a great story and making something amazing out of just a few ingredients laying around in the fridge. I truly enjoyed hearing about her life in the U.S. and her periods of time spent in Paris. I will definitely be cooking using her simple recipes in the very near future. Love that very few include meat, and most are incredibly healthy. Her way of cooking re...more
Julie
I'm a fan of the Spilled Milk podcast, which Molly Wizenberg does with Matthew Amsterdam-Burton, so I was pretty sure I would like this book, and I did. I especially loved how she told the story of her romance with her husband through recipes. The descriptions of Paris made me want to get on the next plane. All in all, an engaging book. Highly recommended.
Barbara
Initially I rated this book four stars. Not because it wasn't awesome, but because I'm a tough critic. There are books I adore that I've only given three stars. I started out a tough critic, so I just have to keep up with it. Anyway, I changed this rating today because of four words: Blueberry Raspberry Pound Cake. OMG. I just wrote about it on my blog, and reprinted the recipe:
http://woofnanny.blogspot.com/2009/09...
Morgan Fraser
Molly Wizenberg has become one of my new favorite writers. She folds her love of food and its description into her life the same way she nestles apricots with honey into one of her homemade cakes. Her stories don't necessarily make me hungry, they make me want to savor my food -- and my life -- in a slower, more profound, way.
Stephanie
I picked up A Homemade Life never having read Orangette (the author's blog) or any of Molly Wizenberg's writing. Yet within a few pages, this culinary memoir/cookbook had me hooked. Wizenberg is honest, funny, and touching without being cloying or cute. Each "chapter" contains a brief, personal essay followed by one or two related recipes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both. As a budding home chef and blog writer myself, I found Wizenberg inspiring, thought-provoking, and somewhat of a kindred sp...more
Jacki
Bone-shaking grief…redemptive love…and the finest chocolate cake ever to grace an oven…

When Molly Wizenberg began her blog Orangette in 2004, she thought it would make a great storage space for her musings about life, food, and how the two influence each other. She had no idea her warmth, candor, and lip-smacking recipes would bring her scores of fans, a husband, and finally a book deal that resulted in the delicious bestseller A Homemade Life. Part memoir, part essay collection, part cookbook,...more
Stacy
This food memoir opens with the author, popular food writer and blogger Molly Wizenberg, describing her father and the pain she experienced when he died of bone cancer. This turns out to be a wise move in more than one way. First, it provides a structure to her collection of essays and recipes. Second, it prevents the reader from feeling too much jealous spite over her otherwise apparently charmed life, which involves a wealthy family, much time spent eating and living in France, meeting her won...more
Caiti S.
As someone who loves food, and stories involving food but not necessarily about food, I adored this book. Food is about living and loving, and Molly's brief stories illustrate this point, with a recipe to follow each one. My favorite parts were the stories that were less about the food specifically, such as Molly's time in France and the death of her father. It is the kind of cookbook/memoir I'd want to write for my own family someday. I checked it out from the library to read, but I will likely...more
Amy
I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. Part cookbook, part memoir, Molly Wizenberg is an amazing writer and cook. I really do wish I lived closer to her so I could meet her.

I was first introduced to Molly through her blog, Orangette. I have no idea how I came across it in the first place, but I'm glad I did. Then I heard that she had a book out, which I thought would be interesting to read. Then I saw the book at Borders, and no amount of penny-pinching could keep me from buying it. I mean, jus...more
Shelah
Some books about food demand savoring, others leave a bad taste in your mouth. But I gobbled up Molly Wizenburg's A Homemade Life like it was a pan of seven-layer bars. I know that some say that writers who started as bloggers often don't make good writers, but I think Wizenburg's book is an exception. I also know that some authors (like Robert Wolke in his Einstein series) include recipes to go along with each chapter of related text. But the stories from Wizenburg's life were so interesting th...more
Jacqie
I ended up gulping down the last half of this book after easing into it. Molly Wizenberg also writes the food blog Orangette and writes articles for Bon Appetit. I sometimes find her articles for the magazine a bit precious, so I was very pleasantly surprised by how the book drew me in. The book talks about her love of food, but also about her love for her parents and how she met her husband. In fact, most of the last part of the book is a love letter to her husband, with recipes. There are reci...more
Jackie
Dec 27, 2008 Jackie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies and those who like to swap stories while enjoying fabulous food
Molly Wizenberg is a food writer with a monthly column in Bon Appetit and a popular blog called Orangette (http://orangette.blogspot.com/), as well as being a contributor in several other publications as well as NPR and PBS. "A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table" is her first book, made up mostly of past entries on Orangette. It's a biography told in recipes--amazingly accessible recipes that made my mouth water and my feet itch to get into the kitchen and start experimenti...more
Emily
I just started reading the author's blog, Orangette, back in January, but it's good food writing. I also like her personality. So I was surprised when I found myself rolling my eyes several times while reading the introduction to this book. Maybe it's because romanticizing the crap out of mealtimes and cooking at home peaked in 2009 (when the book was published), and so it's old, old news by 2012. Maybe it's because I feel like we are similar--though I outgrew my French phase--and I'm jealous to...more
Jeannette
This book is like getting together with a best friend and sharing stories over a kitchen table. Molly writes not just about food but about memories and family and love. She doesn't just give you a recipe for cabbage salad, she opens herself up and shares her memories, her feelings, her stories. I've been a loyal follower of her blog, Orangette, for years but reading this book was so much more meaningful to me. Reading this in bed before falling asleep or sneaking in a chapter before I got out of...more
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Molly Wizenberg 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. Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit and The Washington Post. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Brandon and their daughter June.
More about Molly Wizenberg...
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“To most people, I guess, turning twenty-one is all about booze. To me, turning twenty-one was all about coconut. Booze is nice, but coconut is chewable, and when push comes to shove, I will always like eating better than drinking. Everyone has their priorities.” 5 likes
“Even the Thanksgiving when her parents had just divorced, Hoosier Pie made the cut. ...They also, incidentally, made a pumpkin pie, but it fell on the floor, a classic example of survival of the fittest” 3 likes
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