Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Snagged from NetGalley.

Like many people, I was first introduced to Lucy Knisley through French Milk and I've been following her LiveJournal ever since. I enjoyed French Milk so much, when I started working at the library here, I recommended they add it to our popular reading collection.

Relish is not a complete story like French Milk, but instead is a series of loosely linked vignettes. At the end of each chapter, Knisley provides a recipe that fits the theme of the chapter. Comfort food, this is not. While the recipes are fairly simple in design, they are not for picky eaters and could definitely be termed as gourmet. This is also not particularly vegetarian friendly. Knisley makes no apologies for loving foie gras, citing an incident from her childhood where she was attacked by a flock of geese. There was also a mildly disturbing brief glimpse of a turkey hanging from a meat hook. It's all relevant and not at all gratuitous, but let the non-meat eaters be warned.

You get what you see with Relish. Knisley keeps the focus very narrowly on memories of food. She touches on her parents' divorce, but never discloses why it happened or why her mother got (apparently) sole custody. I know from her LiveJournal that she's already done pieces on her ex-boyfriend and her time in Chicago, but she glosses over most of it, focusing on how she followed in her mother's footsteps as a cheese-monger. Knisley keeps things light, never revealing too much, and it feels like Lucy the Narrator is almost a fictional character, separate from Lucy the Creator.

I kinda wish that Relish had come before French Milk because Relish is very much an appetizer while French Milk is the entree. I'd love to see a volume about Knisley's professional growth as a cartoonist for dessert.