This is a story of one woman’s love affair with food. Definitely a story I could relate to, a story most people should be able to relate to. Relish is a book that will inspire you to revisit your own journey with one of our most basic, and necessary activities and I believe all reviews/conversations about this book should start with people sharing their own experiences.
My parent weren’t foodies by any means but I loved food growing up. From my mother’s spaghetti sauce to my grandmother’s lime velvet salad, there were (and still are) dishes that always bring up certain memories. Ravioli makes me think of the French baby sitter we had one summer, maple flavoured anything calls to mind trips to my family’s sugar bush and corn on the cobb brings me right back to the scattering on farms that surrounded my childhood home. I went vegetarian as a teenager had to start cooking for myself – my mom refusing after a long work day to prepare two separate meals. I fell in love with cooking and trying new things and seeing what different flavours tasted like together.
When I went off to university I began waiting tables at a number of different restaurants to pay the rent. I served everything from Asian fusion, to lunch buffets, to 5 star dining. Since I staying in town for the summers as well, when all the students were gone, many of my friends were food industry people as well. When all of your friends are waiters, chefs and bartenders good food and drink are always part of the equation. I have never ate so well in my life and have not since leaving the food industry when I moved to Toronto. Although Toronto has provided a whole new chapter in my relationship with food (there is a whole restaurant that is based around meatballs!)
In Relish, Lucy Knisley tells her own story beautifully. Drawing on all the senses. I really felt like I could smell and taste the food she was describing. Her early years with food were very different then mine but she makes them feel incredibly easy to relate to. And the stuff I could recognize later on put a smile on my face as it brought to mind my own memories. Food is a very personal and sensual thing and Relish reminds us of all the good times we’ve had with it.
The whole book is filled with beautiful artwork. It’s very colourful and full of life and the style is very accessible for all ages.The recipes especially were a fun touch. I wanted to try everything! I’m still working my way through them but I can definitely vouch for the chai tea – it was especially tasty.
I highly recommend you pick up Relish and take a trip down memory lane. But be warned – this story will leave you hungry and ready for a food adventure!(less)
How do I even begin to write a review of this collection? No matter what I write it won't be enough to express the...moreOriginally posted at Hooked on Books
How do I even begin to write a review of this collection? No matter what I write it won't be enough to express the impact this The Letter Q had on me.
Every single letter in this collection was incredibly thoughtful, moving and most of all brave. These authors really put themselves out there. All their fears, struggles, confession - they didn't hold back. And I have a huge amount of respect for them. It couldn't have been easy for Julie Anne Peters to admit that she sat in a park and thought about someone murdering her or for David Levithan to admit that he had bullied one of his teachers.
It also amazed me how young so many of them where when they began to realize they were gay/lesbian/bisexual. So often when the sex in YA debate comes up, you hear opponents claiming teens are too young to think about "that kind of stuff." But these letters prove that kids do have questions, and books, of all things, should make them think about these things instead of pushing them away.
For the rest of this review I just wanted to share some of my favourite passages from the collection and why they were so meaningful:
From Stacy D'Erasmo's letter: "You're just as you should be. All that desire is going to turn out to be your compass in life. You're going to fall in love with incredible women, incredible men and they are going to fall in love with you" (p. 53) --> Because that's all any of us want right? To know we will be loved.
From Erik Orrantia's letter: "sometimes things get worse before they get better, but they do get better" (p. 65). --> Maybe not the ideal, but will definitely stick with me when things are getting difficult. And remind me that there is always hope.
From Arthur A Levine's letter: "With books in particular you are drawn to stories where a person has hidden talents, unappreciated skills, a great destiny perhaps. Remember the name Harry Potter" (p. 82) ---> This was probably the passage I could most relate to. I'm sure many of us can. Harry Potter was truly something magical and inspirational.
From Gregory Maguire's letter: " You actually get PUBLISHED! And you get to be friends with some of your HEROES! Like oh not to name names but like MAURICE SENDAK! I know! I KNOW! SCREAMMM!" --> Reassured me that you can grow up and be successful and still totally be a fanboy/girl for the things you love. And you'll find other people who feel that way too.
From Brent Hartinger's letter: "but it's one of life's strange paradoxes that the only way to find true love is to be willing to risk being devastated by losing it. Who knew love was so much like a Star Trek episode?" (p. 187) --> For being honest yet inspirational. And refrencing Star Trek while doing so.
Whether GLBTQ or straight this book should be on your to-read list. Every school library should have a copy, or twelve. Letters like these can change lives. They can save lives.
Final recommendation: I think everyone should read this book. Even if you've never questioned your sexual orientation, this collection has the power to inspire you.(less)
As some one who has spent the past few years of her life running around restaurants, working my way through school I picked up this book hoping to lau...moreAs some one who has spent the past few years of her life running around restaurants, working my way through school I picked up this book hoping to laugh a little and read about someone whose been in way worse situations than me. For the first half of this book this is exactly what I got. Bourdain's rise from dishwasher to chef at the Rainbow Room really demonstrated Bourdain's love of food and how hard he was willing to work to become a chef. After that however I found myself reading a disorganized jumble of anecdotes mixed with some self pity and too much pride. I got tired of reading Bourdain's pity party of working for managers who don't know what they're doing, applying for jobs that were beneath him and cooking food that was gasp not haute cuisine! You almost wanted to reach into the book, grab Bourdain, shake him and tell him to suck it up! Where had the drive, the ambition and the humour gone from earlier in the book? Oh and “sex, drugs and bad behaviour”? Only alluded too. They were just brief passages connecting stories that left you wanting more. Bourdain gives us an honest account of his experience in the restaurant industry. Do not, however, assume this is everyone's experience. Sure there are things we would rather customers didn't know. But the restaurant industry I know isn't a top secret exclusive club. It's filled with a bunch of people, who even with the bad days enjoy what they do (yes even a lot of waiter's like what they do, despite what you may believe) and the chef's I know are proud of it! Bourdain is a talented chef and I am a huge fan of his show No Reservations but this book left me wanting more. I wanted more of the “bad behaviour” he constantly refers to. I wanted more tips and tricks that aren't common knowledge for a lot of people (like owning a chef's knife – I own one, my mother owns one, my grandmother got one for Christmas). And I want less complaints about other staff in the restaurant (waiters, managers, hosts, runners etc). You're a team! Now act like it! If Bourdain can do all that, than I will happily pick up his next book and try again. Until then I'll stick with my own culinary adventure.(less)