Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Homemade Life

I loved this book.  Absolutely loved it.  Part cookbook, part memoir, Molly Wizenberg is an amazing writer and cook.  I really do wish I lived closer to her so I could meet her.

I was first introduced to Molly through her blog, Orangette.  I have no idea how I came across it in the first place, but I'm glad I did. Then I heard that she had a book out, which I thought would be interesting to read.  Then I saw the book at Borders, and no amount of penny-pinching could keep me from buying it.  I mean, just look at that cover!  Gorgeous.

Reading her book is really like reading her blog, but with more consistency.  I feel like I got a better view of her life, but really, the whole reason I kept reading Orangette was for the commentary (the recipes, though, are interesting enough to keep you coming back just to see what she's come up with).  I loved hearing how she equated her life with food.  And I guess that's why I love her book, too.  Food is an essential part of life.  It's what families convene for, rain or shine.  There should be stories to tell.

There are three essential things you need when you pick up this book: wine, cheese, and a box of Kleenex.  Now I'm not one for sob stories, and this isn't one of them.  But an essential part of Molly's life, and a huge reason she loves food so much, is because of her father, who died of cancer.  The book is not only dedicated to him, but many of the stories are reflections of her time spent with him, and some are tearjerkers because that's just the way life is.

Her recipes, by the way, look extraordinary.  I haven't tried one yet, but I fully intend to.  They are not, however, for the faint of heart.  Many call for whole milk or whole-fat cream; it's a wonder she's still skinny.  There is a recipe for just about everything in this book: potato salad to chocolate cake, scones to soup.  You could be in the mood for absolutely anything, and you would find it here.

I have to say, I particularly enjoyed Molly's writing.  It was as if she was writing a letter to a friend, and I loved her anecdotes stating that breakfast is the reason she gets out of bed in the morning (I can totally relate) and that "getting married is not for pansies" (amen).  To write like this is to make the most ordinary of lives interesting. (Although I assure you, her life has been anything but ordinary.  Just check out the section on her first love -- in Paris, no less.)

Easily 5 out of 5 stars.  I loved it, and if you like food and the tales that go with it, you'll love it, too.


  1. Thank you for the review. It sounds great. I'm adding it to my wishlist.

  2. I enjoy Molly's writing too. I read this book a while back, after seeing her speak about it, and then began checking in on her blog. I'm just about to listen to the latest Spilled Milk podcast to hear what she had to say about one of my favorite things...rhubarb.

  3. This sounds excellent. I love books that include stories and food. I'll remember the kleenex. It's on my list.

  4. Great review! This is already on my wishlist, but now it's near the top!

  5. I love books that combine life with food. Because you are so correct when you say that food is an integral part of life. And I always love collecting new recipes. I'm definitely going to be checking out this book and Molly's blog.

    And if you do get around to trying out any of the recipes, please share the experience!

    Jennifer @

  6. Just wanted to stop back and tell you my book club selected this for our July meeting/pot luck dinner. We'll discuss the book and share the recipes for dinner...can't wait!