Where would one find tired onions and “old baguettes being jolted to life?” Where do apricots hide, nestling themselves deep in cake batter? A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg, is simply an enticing and delicious read from start to finish. I confess, I had this book out of the library long enough I could hear the library wardens assembling to hunt me down and retrieve their property. I had to wait three weeks for it on reserve and there was no way I could digest it in the one-week loan time allotted to me.
At one point, I almost coughed it up and returned it. I hadn’t tired of it, but I was feeling sympathy for the next anxious reader. Then I flipped the page and Molly related the story of an email she received from a blog reader early on. Having blogged for over five – yes, five – years now, this piqued my interest. I went on to read one of those oh-so-sweet emails that turned out to be from – aw, no, I can’t ruin it for you like that! Let’s just say I had to keep racking up those library fines until I finished this book. It was still worth the $2.10 fine!
I loved that the chapters loosely chronicled her life, so that you could see how her love for all things food grew over the years, and I love reading about how food has always factored into her relationships. I’ve always said that for me, food is about so much more than merely taste and preparation. It’s about the people you cook for, and the human connections that food facilitates. It’s about the memories that are made, as well as the opportunity to be inspired and to create. I’ll never forget one night several years ago, making knoedels (a rather complicated Austrian bread dumpling) late at night. It so happened that our toilet decided to bite the dust that night, necessitating shutting the water off and using the facilities at my inlaws who live down the street. Mike was incredulous as to why I needed to be cooking at ten o’clock at night. But doing so was a way of connecting to my gram, who had recently passed away, and keeping her memory alive for the rest of my family. I couldn’t help but comply when the spirit moved.
I loved reading about her years in France, and her love for off-the-beaten path French country cooking and being inspired to indulge in some simple French delights. I also loved that most of the dessert and cake recipes were made in just an 8″ round pan, so I don’t feel guilty making more sweets than two people really need! Already I’ve adopted her dijon vinaigrette recipe as my new standard dressing, and I will probably just go buy this book because I “need” to try some of her other recipes. If you love to cook, I’m pretty sure you’ll love A Homemade Life.