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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  15,863 ratings  ·  1,848 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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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  15,863 ratings  ·  1,848 reviews

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Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 th
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Rebecca by: Em
(4.5) Foodoir extraordinaire! Along with Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples, this tops my foodie reading of the year. I liked it even better than Delancey, which is a terrific book about opening a pizza restaurant in Seattle with her husband. Here we get the prequel: the death of her father Burg from cancer, time spent living in Paris, building a new life in Seattle, starting her now-famous food blog (Orangette), and meeting her husband Brandon through it. Each brief autobiographical essay is ...more
Julie Ehlers
A Homemade Life was an impulse read: I'd been seeing Wizenberg's forthcoming memoir being promoted around the interwebs, got curious about her stuff, noticed my library branch had a copy of her first book, checked it out, and read it pretty much right away. I knew it was based on Wizenberg's food blog Orangette (which I'd never visited), so I was expecting it to be episodic in nature, which it was. What I hadn't expected was that it would be so charming. The writing is wonderful, some of the sub ...more
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
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 vegan?). i can vouch ...more
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Laurie by:
Shelves: food, nonfiction
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
Anne Bogel
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sweet story, excellent food writing, and solid recipes. Plus, the blogger in me loved how the internet introduced the author to new, life-changing relationships.
Nov 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to jess by: olympia public library
Shelves: 2009, blogger, food
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
Allison Floyd
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
I'm a fan of the Spilled Milk podcast, which Molly Wizenberg does with Matthew Amster-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. ...more
She-Readers Book Club
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have long loved Molly’s Spilled Milk Podcast with Matthew AB and knew that I would eat up her book as well but even going in with that mindset, I was still pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed and whizzed through this book! I couldn’t find it for the longest time (I know, the internet). I insist on being thrifty when it comes to books. I like it to feel more like a treasure hunt and a major win when you find one that you’ve been pining for. Thank you, library used book sale for this wond ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Pleasant but not overly deep book. Well, it's basically reading a blog. Sometimes the posts work. Sometimes they don't. The married for 18 year part of me found the romance portions eye rolling worthy but the part of me with aging parents found the middle section deeply moving. ...more
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks, memoirs
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
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished this beauty of a book. I loved it, and felt a little choked up at the end! Lovely to read her story and see how each of her recipes is meaningful to each stage of her life. And now I’m hungry!
There’s something for everyone in this sweet and lovely memoir about the ways food and cooking are interwoven into the big and little moments of author Wizenberg’s life. Every chapter is a short essay on how the included recipe was impactful at a certain time in her life, and all of the
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Molly really spoke to me. I read this book and I felt I was having a conversation with her. Some bits were like reading a letter from someone I knew well, someone who poured out their heart and feelings. She is so much younger than I am but I sure could relate to so many things she wrote about. From the unresolved feelings regarding her father’s death to the cautious delight of falling in love with her soul mate. The calm and focus that creeps in when you are immersed in preparing food for peopl ...more
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I read somewhere recently that no one should write a memoir until they are in their seventies - and possibly not even then. I have also recently been reminded that CS Lewis believed journaling at all to be a deadly form of self-indulgence and hubris.

The thing is, though, I like memoirs. Even when they are written about a life that only happened a few years earlier, or that is still ongoing. I also like cookbooks with stories woven into and around the recipes. And I like blogs. And I really, real
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
More than a few times, my darling wife has expressed bemused (but perhaps genuine) alarm at my obsession with the food blog Orangette and, more to the point, with the charming red-headed blogger--Molly Wizenberg--herself. It's no big secret that the path to my heart tends to go through my (ever-expanding) tummy, and many of the recipes on Orangette are now among the tastiest in my repertoire: her slow-roasted tomatoes served with aged goat cheese on toasted baguette slices, her decadently fudgy ...more
Caiti S
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
This was another book club selection I never would have picked up on my own. Sadly, I wasn't pleasantly surprised. I wasn't interested in reading snipets of Mollys life. She isn't a person of great importance whose life I was excieted about reading.

I'm sure she would have no desire to hear stories of my life and the people around me having never met me. Because of that I felt she was ostentaous and I have to put her on the same level as Mrs. Ratzenberg (All that Remains.) She's making money fo
Beth Bonini
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love foodie memoir -- one of my favourites genres.
I read this book on the extremely jet-lagged day after my return from a long holiday in the States, and it was perfect reading material for my mood/energy levels (ie, not high).
Molly W's style is nicely reminiscent of my beloved Laurie Colwin, and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing although it did suffer (a bit) from a lack of material. I enjoyed her descriptions of her parents, though, and falling in love for the first (and second) time.

I've ma
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who love foodie books and cookbooks
Recommended to Relyn by: the blog world
Shelves: memoir
If you've ever read my blog, you know I cry easily and am never embarrassed by it. I should, however, tell you that I rarely cry at the end of a book. I don't know why - I just don't. But, Molly's writing about her wedding, her love, her father. Well, I did get misty eyed. I find myself wanting to write about my Dad. So, I did today. You can read it here:

Anyway, I really did love this book.
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I started out as a food writer focused on home cooking, using food as a lens for peering into everyday life and relationships. I was interested in people, in how we find and make meaning for ourselves. I still am. My latest book, The Fixed Stars, is a memoir about sexuality, divorce, and motherhood. I wrote it because, in my mid-thirties, nearly a decade into marriage and newly a mother, I lost tr ...more

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