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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  20,343 ratings  ·  2,696 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
Paperback, 173 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
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A. S. This is a memoir that's more suitable for adults. The content includes a coming of age in Mexico that recounts her friend discovering adult magazines …moreThis is a memoir that's more suitable for adults. The content includes a coming of age in Mexico that recounts her friend discovering adult magazines and herself menstruating, and one of the recipes is one for sangria. Some parents might find that content objectionable.(less)
Beckiezra This isn’t appropriate for kids, most of the stories are fine, but the 5th chapter includes a story about discovering Mexican pornography that a paren…moreThis isn’t appropriate for kids, most of the stories are fine, but the 5th chapter includes a story about discovering Mexican pornography that a parent should decide whether or not is within the bounds of what they’d want their child exposed to even if the drawing style doesn’t lend itself to a lot of graphic depictions. There’s also underage drinking in the Japan chapter. (less)

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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
A foodie graphic novel. This is getting ALL THE STARS!!

Do not attempt to read this book if you are hungry. Do not attempt to read this book if you are even thinking about being hungry.

Lucy Knisley was born to two people who love food. She was introduced to a sophisticated palate pretty much at birth.

This book is told as a memoir of her growing up years. Food and tastes serve as memories for her (and me) so she takes us on a journey of her childhood through food.

She moves to the country
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'll be honest....I avoided this one for so long because I heard it was part graphic novel. It's just not my thing. But recently, I just can't get into anything, and I just wanted to read about my favorite thing...FOOD! I love reading cookbooks or food memoirs, etc. So finally, I decided to pick this one up. And I'm so glad I did. What a charming book. Lucy Knisley was always surrounded by food. Her parents, "foodies", instilled these values in her at a very young age. Lucy was never one to open ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Oh my, I loved this!
If you love graphic novels, read this!
If your a foodie, read this!
I loved the authors diff. stories about her relationship to food!
First Second Books
Apr 10, 2013 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
Seth T.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
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
Z. F.
A loose series of illustrated, food-related anecdotes by the daughter of a New York chef, with a recipe at the end of each chapter. In theory Relish is charming and feel-good, but in practice it left me mostly bored and more than a little annoyed. This is one of those rich kid narratives where the rich kid is eager to convince you she's not actually rich, grousing about being a "broke college student" or driving a "rickety clunker" between meals at Michelin-starred restaurants and pleasure trips ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction

Lucy Knisley’s Relish is a fun graphic memoir about growing up in a household surrounded by good food and good fun. With a mother who is a chef and a father who knows how to appreciate fine dining, Knisley had a special relationship with food from an early age. As a cartoonist, Knisley recounts various food-related moments from her life through amazingly rendered illustrations that vibrantly bring her love of food to life. Unlike other books about food, this one bears a positive message abou
Charles Hatfield
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
I enjoyed this. This is told as a story about her life and she it telling you, with a panel or two what happened. In some ways I wish she had just told it like a story about her life.

The art is fun and the recipes in the book look great. I would love to try them. It makes me want to go out in the world and try lots of different food. I have wanted to go to Alina for 2 years now and I wondered if she went while in Chicago. She did. She has eaten all over the world. I like to travel simply to eat
Dave Schaafsma
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: auto-bio-memoir, food
I really liked this exuberant, fun and thoughtful book told with relish about the life of a comic artist raised by foodies, a gourmet chef and a lover of fine dining, great meals. It's a memoir (and read Seth Hahne's great review as usual for one with greater detail, and just.. more relish!) with food and maybe her mom as central figures... positive, joie de vivre, happy, all these things... WITH recipes that emerge out of the stories, out of her life! Fine, fun, colorful, joyful drawings... and ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good
Final rating: 3.5 stars

Going through graphic novels has really helped me rekindle my love of reading. My poor attention span is forever indebted to you talented artists out there. Relish is about Knisley's relationship with food. I tend to avoid memoirs because more often than not they have this holier-than-thou tone I can't commit to. This was an exception. Knisley is relatable and not just in a look-at-me-I'm-quirky-and-relatable type of way. I found myself laughing every now and then, which b
I love food and I also enjoy graphic books. This graphic memoir is a fun and light read about cooking and enjoying food. Unlike her first book, “French Milk”, which had quite a bit of complaining, this one seems more mature. Lucy Knisley shows deep appreciation and passion for life’s blessings. Each chapter ends with a recipe, none of which I have tried.


I remember food like that too, Lucy. The roadside taquerias, the garden-fresh greens, my grandfather's pickles, ripe jungle fruits, the hot falafel and hummus, the bread bowl stews... mmmm. That's why I loved your book so much. A graphic food memoir checks several of my "favorites" boxes - plus, I am a big fan of your art and style, after reading your 2015 Displacement: A Travelogue a few months ago.

Your book was charming and sweet, telling your family's story, your own, the cities you've lived
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 mom's fanc ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is the epitome of white privilege living in a bourgeois bubble of gentrification.

I love to read memoirs because you get to learn about a person's life experience, but also the lessons they have learned and how the events in their life shaped their world view. This graphic novel was a woman's incredibly privlidged existance with no real message and not really grounded in most people's reality. No matter how much you insist you were a poor student and your parents were poor artists, trav
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i loved this book...even used one of the recipes. :-). the inclusion of recipes reminded me of an isabel allende book that did the same thing (i forget the name of the book , right now). i was both amused and disturbed by her childhood experience in mexico, i'll admit. i don't want to put any spoilers in this, so you'll have to read it and find out what i am referring to, haha. i enjoyed the art and the stories through the taste and smells of food. as someone who LOVES to cook, i see the world i ...more
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
The art is great, and I love the food focus, but Relish was ultimately a flop. Between the only portrayals of fat people being as outraged victims of fast food, and talking about gentrification being so great because it brings more (expensive) food options to neighborhoods, there was just too much lacking. But, I'm also someone who usually avoids any story that involves white people backpacking through anywhere at all costs, if you're into shitty politics and nice drawings of food, you'll probab ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Brown Girl Reading
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 Worth the read if you like reading books that talk about food and life. ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Truly enjoyed the bits about food, cooking, recipes and family. Wish it had been all that. As an artist and food lover, a graphic memoir seems the right vehicle to explore her enjoyment of both.

My favorite panel depicts a large group of people sitting around a table sharing a meal. The caption reads "I love the treat and pleasure of eating when it becomes an act of focused giving and sharing."
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, food
This series of autobiographical comics is a love letter to food. After reading this I really felt like eating something nice. There are some recipes included as well, so you can try your hand at cooking some of the featured foods.
Jun 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
I have recently been craving a lot of food. And, I've also been experiencing reading slump.

So, I took to reading Graphic novels (my savior in moments such as these) and there could not have been a better choice than this story where the author takes us though a joyride of food.

Memories are made of so many places, people and other stuff. Lucy, however, convinces us that food in several places and with different people is the binding factor to a stellar collection of one.

Not surprisingly (becaus
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
Food + illustrations + memoir = totally my kind of book!!!!!

Not only are the illustrations and coloring so gorgeous to make me hungry whenever I read this, Lucy Knisley's storytelling skills and amazing experiences make this a super enjoyable read! Very hilarious and very imaginative. Love it!! :) gonna go get some food now....
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
Melissa Chung
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My favorite graphic novel of the weekend. I loved every panel, page and recipe. I actually feel like crying because even though this book isn't actually emotional. I feel emotional having reached its end.

Some people remember things from the past through smell. A perfume, a shampoo, maybe even the smell of cigars. Some people can pick out memories through positive and negative experiences. In the case of Lucy Knisley, she remembered her childhood through food. I really enjoyed reading stories fro
Cindy Dobrez
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 online
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked this up after glowing recommendations from two friends whose opinions I trust. I like food. I like talking about food. I like illustrated things. I am the target market for this type of book.

but unfortunately somehow it never caught fire with me like it did with my friends. I can't think of a single negative thing to say - nothing Knisley did or said or drew was off-putting. It was all quality work. It just didn't gel with me, and I can't point at any one reason why.
I have mixed feelings about this book, a graphic novel/memoir/food diary of sorts. Ideally I'd have given 2 1/2 stars, and since I couldn't, I was really torn between 2 and 3 (I'm still not sure I'm in the 3 camp). Nothing for it but to dive right in!

First, the good. The art was great. The illustrations were super-cute, and just really well done. I appreciate that it's in color, too (so much better than B&W!). I also liked the illustrated recipes. I hope there's a cookbook out in the world done
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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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