Ciara's Reviews > A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
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Jun 21, 09

bookshelves: autobio-memoir, read-in-2009
Recommended for: francophiles, salad devotees, people who need motivation to cook, fans of blog love stories
Read in May, 2009, read count: once

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 vegan?). i can vouch for the fact that vegetarians eat plenty of delicious food & there are many exciting vegetarian recipes in the world, but pretty much all she offers from here on out are salad recipes. who the fuck needs a recipe for salad? it's seriously shit like, "wash off some lettuce. sprinkle with vinagairette. garnish with ground pepper & a few sliced cherry tomatoes. serve." um...thanks. i never could have figured that out on my own.

i also have a bit of an issue with people writing about losing their parents when their parents are really old. if your parent dies & is older than 70, that's really sad & i don't want to diminish the extent of your loss, but also, zip it. or at least have some respect for those of us whose parents have died at way younger ages. i don't like to get into death-related pissing contests, but i would definitely like to read more stuff from folks my age whose parents died relatively young. i find it difficult to relate to people who lost a parent to cancer at age 78 or whatever. i was barely 23 when my dad died. he was only 48. no one saw it coming. i don't know. the author's dad certainly sounded like an exciting cook, & i'd try his french toast recipe if i weren't afraid of seizing up & dying from a grease-induced heart attack on the spot, but we all have to deal with our parents dying eventually (if we're lucky & actually out-live them). sucks, but deal.

my far larger issue was all the writing about how great her husband is, how they fell in love through her blog when he wrote to ask if she had a certain cake recipe a friend was seeking, all the preparations that went into their wedding menu, etc etc. here's a tip from me to the rest of the world: your romantic relationships are really interesting to you & hopefully to the people you have relationships with. the rest of really do not give a fuck. we don't care about your delight over the way his hair curls, or how anxious you were about your outfit the first time you met. we don't really need forty pages detailing the way you basically ripped off your friend's wedding wholesale but made your own cake. we just don't care. i love my partner too, but i don't labor under the delusion that anyone else gives a fuck about it. despite the fact that he is also a really good cook.

like i said, this book made me want to cook, & that is a good thing. it also kind of made me want to go to france, but i hope i have the self-respect not to have a redezvous with a french teenage boy who never calls me again & causes me to weep & then write about it years later in my memoir. (especially because i'm almost 30, so hooking up with teenagers would be gross on a lot of levels.) i get kind of sick of solidly middle-class americans going on & on about their love of france as if it gives them some mysterious je ne sais quois & evidence that their fondness for cooking is truly sophisticated because it was honed in a country famous for its cuisine, but...whatever. i kind of chose to like this book, & i probably could have hated it if i'd read it in a different mood. but the custard-filled cornbread recipe is really good. eat it with honey instead of maple syrup.
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Pumpkinbear Yeah, long curly hair on a guy? Gross.

Oh, and how she almost missed his proposal because she was staring at a piece of dandruff caught in a curl? Why would you ever tell that to another human being, not to mention put it in your MEMOIR? If that had happened to me when I was getting engaged, I would have tried to forget it as soon as possible.


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