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In the Kitchen: Essays on Food and Life

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  340 ratings  ·  43 reviews
I learned that before entering the kitchen, I must get the measure of its hold over me.’

Food can embody our personal history as well as wider cultural histories. But what are the stories we tell ourselves about the kitchen, and how do we first come to it? How do the cookbooks we read shape us? Can cooking be a tool for connection in the kitchen and outside of it?

In these e
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 8th 2020 by Daunt Books (first published October 3rd 2020)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  340 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Karen Foster
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well... that was completely delightful! 😍
Those that know me, know I rarely read Non Fiction.... but when I do, it’s more often than not about food! Food writing speaks to my soul.... and this lovely collection was moving, mouthwatering, diverse and fascinating in equal measures.
#pop2020 #anthology .... just the AI prompt to finish now.
Sandrine V
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
The first section, Coming to the Kitchen, was my absolute favourite. Including Juliet Annan’s essay on publishing cookbooks, and Ella Risbridger’s one on the concept of kitchen intimacy with the following quote that I found particularly charming:

“To know how someone else takes their tea - tea or coffee; milk or sugar or lemon - is a small and delightful privilege because it’s a fact of too little consequence to be ferreted out except with small repeated acts of care”
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, non-fiction
'I would make her a cup of tea without asking her whether she'd like one or how she takes it, which is in and of itself a profound intimacy [...] To know how someone else takes their tea - tea or coffee; milk or sugar or lemon - is a small and delightful privilege because it's a fact of too little consequence to be ferreted out except with small repeated acts of care.' Ella Risbridger, Cupboard Love
I loved this collection of essays. At a time when the most exciting part of my day is often cooki
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
For the food obsessed, this is 90% sublime.
Sophie Harrington
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“There is something about the kitchen that invites intimacy. I suppose kitchens are a space for intimacy because I will touch with my hands the things that will go in your mouth; I will taste what you taste; I will work for you, or you will work for me. I will make this for you because I love you, because you need it, because you want it.” - Ella Risbridger, ‘Cupboard Love’.
Becca Di Francesco
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I tried to save this but ended up devouring it. Now I've never been so hungry. ...more
Ellie Kakoulli
Feb 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
Had a real craving for something light and digestible and this book definitely hit the spot!

In the kitchen is delightful collection of personal, bite size culinary stories. Each essay reflects on the universal, meaningful connections and experiences that can be had from food -whether that’s through cooking, eating or sharing.

Such as the way with trying a new dish, not every story was to my taste. That said, because of the sheer variety of topics covered, there’s bound to be at least one that’l
Jasmine Harrop
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, lockdown
I read Golby’s essay back in October, and enjoyed the anecdotes that were utterly relatable to a northern family and all that are included in the notion of putting on or eating a spread.
I decided make the rest of the curated book of essays my first of the new year after a festive period of finding comfort in food, at a time when the kitchen was one of the places to visit in a time of confinement. And, it was a warming experience, the whole collection negotiating personal experiences of nostalgi
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
This collection of essays reminds us of what everyone has rediscovered in this turbulent year the personal but universally sentimental relationship we have with food. This guides us through burnt fingers, first ovens and treasures the mishaps along with the triumphs, the greasy buffet as much as haute cuisine.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very up my street
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Found some of the essays to be a lot more enjoyable and evocative than others though I enjoyed the variety of responses to the theme and found a lot of warmth, nostalgia and heart in many of them. Such a great idea for a collection of essays.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I knew I was going to adore this book the moment I knew it was a thing - and I'm delighted to confirm it certainly lived up to expectations. If you are looking for a brief respite from the monumental shitshow that is the third decade of this century, 'In The Kitchen' presents an excellent balm.

As in every essay collection, some are stronger than others and each reader will have their own connections to certain essays. My particular favourites came from Juliet Annan, Laura Freeman, Daisy Johnson
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rec-to-me, essays
There's something for everyone in this book of cozy essays. I got this book as part of a Christmas gift/parcel from one of my dearest/favourite people in my life. Read it all at once on a slow afternoon - on another ordinary day in this pandemic stricken world. There's something about 'food' stories that binds and triggers the loveliest memories.

"When I say I love you I mean I need you to make me a roast the way you always do. When I say I love you I mean can you go to the fish shop and get oys
Lisa of Hopewell
Jan 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2021
My Interest

I loved the cover was the first reason I chose this one. I also have been having good luck with essays and similar lately so decided to try to read more of them this year. Bonus: After reading this I decided I must make and try Pelau! (The recipe linked is from the essay’s author.)
The Essays

The collection is divided into the following categories:

Coming to the Kitchen
Reading and Writing the Kitchen
Beyond the Kitchen

Within those categories, the essays were sometimes idiotic (an annot
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is really sweet. So many endearing, warm and diverse ways that food has shaped the worlds, relationships, cultures, loves and lives of all the authors. The stories 'Ritual' and 'Steam' made me well up, I think their tender depictions of those small, tiny moments or actions in a life that are often caught around a dinner table was what did it. Po Po's shining eyes, sharing the table with her family. Right now, in 2021, I miss sharing a long table with family and friends. In 'Ritual', th ...more
Jack M
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
After binging on Richard Yates, it was necessary for myself to recalibrate and return to the kitchen and home as a place of comfort, instead of a warzone. Sure enough, this was just that - well to do writers, going on about their AGA cookers (~$10,000 a pop). This was several notches below another food anthology I had read - A Moveable Feast, and really there was only one cynical essay, harping on about HUEL (human fuel) food powder that stood out. There was one that reviewed an entire movie for ...more
The RK
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ok. Yemisi Aribisala’s essay made me laugh out loud. Otherwise this was really rather forgettable.

Also, for a collection of essays trying hard to be stamped “diverse” (otherwise the food, as in the buffet chapter, would have been pretty dire), it’s noteworthy that there isn’t any Muslim representation. None at all.

Hmm, they only make up about 26% of the world’s population, and probably more of its foodie population, given that the size zero wannabe thing is usually healthily absent. Food, commu
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
What a lovely, lovely gem of a book this is. Some of my favourite food writers make and appearance such as Ella Risbridger and Rachel Roddy.
Like all good books like this, it introduced me to some new writers as well. Rebecca May Johnson’s “against roast chicken” made me automatically buy the film mermaids on Prime, Joel Goldby’s wry observations on the U.K. tradition of buffets made me giggle and show my OH who has an immense fear of an overloaded plate and Daisy Johnson’s “Rituals” m
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Read an essay with this every morning for a week or so with my morning coffee. My go to breakfast working from home is the quintessentially millennial poached egg and smashed avo 0n toast; feel-good both in the sense that it tastes really good and is also healthy (I think?) - this is how I feel about this book.

I think in the middle of a pandemic where you're basically not allowed to leave your house theres real value in not filling your head with either junk or doom as soon as you wake up. It's
Poppy Flaxman
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book partly for the cover and partly because there were essays from some of my favourite food writers in there. I've come away with a great many new loves and a huge stack of their work that I now want to explore.

I read this slowly, exclusively in the kitchen, and mostly whilst cooking or waiting for something to rise. An experience I highly recommend. I've already bought a second copy as a Christmas present and look forward to pressing it into more people's hands.
Wendy Greenberg
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this collection of eclectic essays grounded by food, the kitchen, recipes, love.

No matter our origins, as the book displays, we all have food memory and this book made me smile at this basic thing that unites us in in different ways.

The book opens with Rachel Roddy describing her life in cookers! I could relate to that and set me racing through this odyssey
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book and think it’ll be one I’ll treasure forever. It was so comforting to read as it revealed some of the most meaningful connections between food and human relationships, and importantly, how some of these connections are formed among small gestures and overlooked habits. Reading this book has made me want to write, about food of course.
Andy Lyfo
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovely collection of essays about the world of food, a subject very close to my heart. My favourite pieces were: Cupboard Love by Ella Risbridger; Brain Work by Laura Freeman; Tikim Nang Tikim by ruby Tandoh; Ritual by Daisy Johnson; and 'Who Are You When No One is Watching?' by Joel Golby. ...more
Erica G
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-writing
I really loved the essay collection! I especially enjoyed essays by Nina Mingya Powles, Ruby Tandoh and Julia Turshen, but Joel Golby's essay on buffets was so funny I read it back to back! First to myself and then out loud to my wife! ...more
Megan Carnegie
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A proper joy. In a time when our opportunities to share and enjoy food with others, this felt like a revelation. A collection of vivid, sparkling writing that will reinvigorate even the weariest cooks and eaters.
Jill Craig
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this- how the speaker's background and life, family and relationships, personal issues and loss and grief were all woven into a story about food. It was about so much more than the making of food, it was a life story. ...more
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This anthology of food stories has kept afloat during a particularly difficult week of perpetual lockdown. It is ripe, warm, sharp and delectable. I can see myself going back to this whenever I need the feeling of a perfectly brewed not too milky tea.
Mar 05, 2021 rated it liked it
some of the essays were better written and more interesting than others. I liked the one about buffets. I liked how they discussed feminism and cooking, how meal prep relieves depression, and how it offers us an identity outside of work.
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
An excellent essay collection about food, cooking and life.
Moorea Hall
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book enough!
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