Book Review – A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg

Molly Wizenberg has as definite a way with words as she does a way with food! As author and creator of the popular Orangette food blog. This book is captivating, free, and written with an excellent style (though a few of her stories contain a little adult content that may be TMI for younger audiences). Regardless, the recipes are fabulous and the auto-biographical content leading up to each recipe is entertaining and heartfelt.

Molly shares the recipes that stood like snapshots in her memories of key events throughout her life, from trips to Paris to her first apartment, from her first boyfriend to meeting her husband, from cooking with her dad to cooking for her dad on his deathbed. She shares recipes that range from sweet cakes to tangy salads, from soups to custard-filled cornbread, and everything in between.

Probably my favorite part was her chapter called “The Change Thing,” in which she shares her fear of change and her intense struggle with it, from each semester at college to bigger life changes. She writes, “I love the concept of routines. For some people, like skydivers and storm chasers, it may sound like torture, but for me, it’s reassuring” (p. 253). I can totally relate to this. And then I laughed as I read her follow up comment on the next page, “I am happy to report, though, that in recent years, I’ve been working on getting friendlier with change, and with its cousin flexibility. Growing up has helped a lot” (p. 254). So true.

This was another one of my “Summer Reading List” books. Personally, I can’t wait to try her “Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Glazed Oranges and Crème Fraîche” on pages 88-89 and her “Red Cabbage Salad with Lemon and Black Pepper” on page 222. And the one I’m really looking forward to trying is the “Little Corn Cakes with Bacon, Tomato and Avocado” on page 304.

Published by Simon & Shuster, 2009. 320 pages (plus a “Reading Group Guide” at the end).

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