Category Archives: Food

Two Teals Cooking

Make Ahead PaleoOn Independence Day, as David was working his Yard Warrior routine, I was puttering around in the kitchen, groovin’ to Lake Street Dive (“You Go Down Smooth“) and whipping up five different recipes. We had David’s grandmother’s recipe, “Mama Teal’s Famous Barbecued Chicken,” on the menu, and since that naturally goes with cole slaw, which I make with my food processor’s shredder blade, I decided to get some extra work out of it and shred up veggies to make “Breakfast Muffins” from the new cookbook Make-Ahead Paleo, by Tammy Credicott.

2014-07-04 15.33.01This cookbook has several sections featuring different ways of preparing food in advance: cooking for the freezer, preparing crockpot recipes in advance, and, as in this case, prepping all the complicated parts of a recipe a day or more in advance of finishing or serving. On July 4th, I put all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl, covered it and put it away, and then I processed all of the “add-ins”—shredded carrots and zucchini, chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and coconut. I covered the container and put it in the fridge for the next morning. All I had to do after that was mix up the eggs and such, and then put it all together.

Since I am a low-carber, not really a Paleo die-hard, I had to replace the maple syrup with two other ingredients. I used Splenda in the dry ingredients for sweetness, and then used coconut milk to replace the liquid. It worked perfectly. These muffins were sweet and delicious, and much lighter than I expected with all of those added ingredients. If you have children, this is a terrific way to sneak some serious vegetables into their diets without a struggle. However, I cannot guarantee success unless you listen to mellow music while you work.2014-07-05 09.38.04
Deviled Eggs Debbie MooseThe next day, with the satisfaction of a perfectly manicured lawn behind him, David spent some time in the kitchen creating a batch of “Deviled Ham ‘n’ Eggs.” This was his second round with this recipe, as it was the first one we made when I brought the book home. David is a specialty chef. He grills brilliantly, of course, and is particularly adept with fish on the grill. He also makes breakfast every weekday morning, which is an excellent arrangement, since he wakes up perky every morning, whereas I would start to think about breakfast around 10 AM— which would be unfortunate, since I’d be at work at that point. So he gets me off to a good start every morning. And then, for some reason, he has had a fascination with deviled eggs for several years since my friend, Julie, gave me a copy of a cookbook by Debbie Moose with nothing but deviled egg recipes. David is working his way through this little gem, and we are all happily sampling the results. Lately, we’ve been traveling so much that we’ve missed our connection with Elaine, our egg lady at church, and I think we panicked and overbought eggs at the store. Time for a special recipe!

David uses our friend Darlene’s instructions for egg boiling. Darlene is a botanist from Ontario, and this method is a result of scientific experimentation from her graduate work, so we call them Canadian eggs. We do not question why botanists would need to study hard-boiled egg preparation. David puts the eggs in the pot, covers them with salted water, and brings them to a full, rolling boil. He begins timing the eggs when they come to a boil, and he boils them for two minutes. He then removes them from the heat, covers the pot, and lets them sit for ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the number of eggs. He hypothesizes that more eggs, and therefore more water, will take longer to reach a boil, so they can sit for less time. At that point, he pours off the hot water and immediately plunges them into ice-filled water until they are completely cool. Using this method, he gets perfectly cooked eggs without that gray-green ring around the yolks.

2014-07-05 13.40.22“Deviled Ham ‘n’ Eggs” is a great recipe for summer, when we have the fresh thyme and parsley growing in the garden. I will not divulge that David always has to ask which herb is which. He digs the soil; I’m the plant person. I’m not complaining. Besides the ham and herbs, this recipe calls for lemon juice, and the end result is a fresh, savory snack. The “make-ahead” element of this recipe is that you can make these the day before a picnic and they will travel well in your cooler. Again, we are not Paleo hardliners, so we ignore the dairy-free rule when it’s convenient. Here you can see some of the eggs topped with chopped parsley (the authorized version) and some topped with shredded sharp cheddar (unauthorized, but yummier). Take your pick.

2014-07-006

The Paleo movement continues to evolve, concentrating more on whole, unprocessed foods, rather than food that would actually be available in the Paleolithic era. Coconut aminos? Furthermore, natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup, are showing up in more and more recipes, whereas Paleo cookbooks used to consider these very occasional treats. However, Make-Ahead Paleo is filled with wonderful recipes that I intend to sample, including “Macadamia, Garlic, and Basil-Crusted Chicken,” “Cashew Lime Hummus,” and “Creamy Cilantro No Potato Salad.” One brilliant feature is the “Week in a Day” section in the back that helps you to cook one day for a week’s worth of dishes. There are also resource lists, guides on how to store various ingredients, and grocery shopping and freezer inventory forms that you can download with a QR code. How well-planned is that? I can definitely recommend this large paperback cookbook to all busy low-carb or Paleo cooks. Bon appétit!

Disclaimer: I used a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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We Went to New York!: Book Expo America #1

ImageLast Tuesday, I made a trip to New York with these fine ladies for Book Expo America, a huge convention held in the Javits Center for booksellers, librarians, publishers, and other people in the book trade. New York is an exciting city of over eight million people, all of whom are walking up and down the streets 24/7. We met all of them when we decided that our first adventure would be to walk from the New Yorker Hotel on 34th Street and 8th Avenue to “the discount ticket place,” which Google told us was on 52nd Street and Broadway. It’s pretty easy to find your way around the numbered grid of streets (east-west) and avenues (north-south) until they get tricky on you and start naming the avenues instead. Despite their reputation for rudeness, New Yorkers will answer questions from strangers, such as, “Is Broadway this way or that way?” They don’t stop, of course, but they will point.

The picture above was taken just after we scored four tickets for Jersey Boys, which was our first choice. We had come up with a list of our three choices, in order, before we got up to the ticket window, because there is no waiting on people in New York. At the first sign of dithering, the clerk would yell, “Next!” and we’d be pushed out of the way. 2014-05-27 18.14.34Since we had a two-hour wait, we decided to walk around and see the sights. This is when I found out that the well-reviewed Aravon shoes that I had bought especially for the trip were not going to be kind to my feet. Granted, I bought a pair that look like pumps, and they did have excellent arch support, but I could feel blisters starting up all over. We kept on walking, and here in this vast city there would suddenly be places that made you feel as if you were in your own living room, they were so familiar.

Jersey Boys was amazing. If you are not aware, it is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the actors and actresses, especially the one who played Frankie, had stunning voices. Of course, we all sang along at the tops of our voices, as did the rest of the crowd. We loved it. Sitting next to me were a mother and teenage son who were visiting from Leeds, England. They told me that the dad had decided to tour around Europe in an RV, and that was just not their thing, so they decided to hop on a plane to America and wander around New York. I can just imagine myself saying to David on a Friday afternoon, “Dahling, what say we do London this weekend?” Ah, for disposable income!

Carnegie DeliAfter the show, we walked to Carnegie Deli, where I had said no to a piece of chocolate cheesecake in 1998 and regretted it ever since. It was to be my one indulgence for the week, but alas, there were others. Anyhow, Carnegie Deli is well known for its gigantic sandwiches with gigantic prices to match. I ordered a Reuben that was so big that I boxed up two-thirds of it so that it could smell up our hotel room for the night. I ate more of it in the morning. (Yes, corned beef and sauerkraut at 7:00 AM.) I did order my luscious cheesecake, as well, and ended up eating half of it for breakfast, too. It was a glorious start to the day. At Carnegie, customers share a picnic-style table with total strangers, and interesting conversations ensue. I am sure that one of the older men who sat with us was famous, but I can’t quite place him.

New Yorker NightWe walked all the way back to our hotel in the dark, pushing through a relentless river of humanity, and sometimes daring to cross on the red when everybody else did. What is life without a frisson of danger occasionally? By the time we got back to the New Yorker, every single toe had a little blister on the bottom, and I found that I was not the only one who had packed Band-Aids for this very purpose. However, I was jubilant! I had accomplished two of my goals for the trip—a Broadway play and Carnegie Deli—and it was just the first day! The working part of the trip was still to come.

I plan to write up bits of the trip this week, along with book reviews and a detailed post on picture books, so stay tuned! I learned a great deal and met so many interesting people that I’d like to share with you. Wednesday was an intense session on children’s books from early morning until late at night. Fun!

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The New Southern Table, by Brys Stephens

ImageWhen Garden & Gun magazine’s Facebook page announced the publication of The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited, I immediately turned to our adult nonfiction selector and said, “Please!” She happily agreed. This lovely, large paperback cookbook has one chapter devoted to each of thirteen Southern ingredients such as okra, collard greens, and figs. You know, if you’ve read my cookbook reviews before, that lots of pictures are really important to me. You have to know what it’s supposed to look like! Fortunately, this cookbook has a full-page photo for almost every dish. Some recipes combine traditional Southern ingredients in new ways, such as the Sweet Potato, Sorghum, and Rum Flan or the Peaches with Pecan Mint Pesto. Others bring Southern foods to the international table in ways that seem intuitive, like Butterbean Hummus or Chicken, Collard, and Country Ham Saltimbocca. Still others are wildly adventurous, such as Japanese-Style Okra with Horseradish Soy Dressing or the Pizza with Figs, Country Ham, and Mustard Greens. If you saw the picture for that one, you would never use figs for anything ordinary again.

As a diabetic, I had to skip the rice, corn, lima bean, and field pea chapters, but you should certainly dive into those luscious risotto and Hoppin’ John recipes. I still had plenty to choose from. I tried two very different recipes, both of them, amazingly, from the pecan chapter!

ImageFirst of all, I had to make my husband happy by trying out the pimento cheese recipe. It’s really different, with Monterey Jack cheese and chopped pecans. You might think that Monterey Jack cheese is too mild for pimento cheese, but this recipe gets its kick from habanero peppers. As always, you should shred your own cheese, not buy bagged shredded cheese, in order to avoid fillers. Since Monterey Jack is difficult to find already shredded, this is not a problem. What is a problem is getting that soft cheese through a shredder! I recommend making sure that your cheese is very cold. If it gets to room temperature, you will have a hard time with it. Fresh lemon juice is also important to the flavor, and the book advises adjusting the lemon juice and mayonnaise in order to achieve the desired spreading consistency. The author did not say this, but of course you must use Duke’s mayo to be truly Southern. Just a tip. We really enjoyed this pimento cheese as a change from the tried-and-true cheddar variety.Image

ImageThen I made this scrumptious roasted Brussels sprouts dish with pecan halves and country ham. I wondered how in the world I could buy only the 6 ounces of country ham that the recipe calls for, but lo and behold, you can readily find packages of sliced country ham that are exactly 6 ounces. Although it may be meant as a side dish, with the ham and pecans for protein, I served it as the main course. First you toast the pecans at 350 degrees, and then turn the oven up to 400 so that the Brussels Sprouts caramelize a bit. Here is the awesome part: You then remove them from the oven and toss them with chopped, ripe avocado! Y’all, it is fabulous. We like it with or without the recommended balsamic vinegar.Image

Just writing about these recipes makes me want to run out and buy the ingredients for more. Tomorrow is Easter, though, so it’s lamb and asparagus at the Teal house. Maybe Monday….

Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this cookbook. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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A Low-Carber’s Dream Come True

2014-03-22 15.36.59We low-carbers are a tough bunch. Whether it’s for weight loss, sugar regulation, gluten sensitivity, or any number of very good reasons, we are willing to look our junk food nation in the face and say, “No!” However, even though the blood test results are gratifying and (for people other than me) the scale is going down, down, down, there are two things we really miss for which we just can’t find an acceptable substitute: crunchy cereal and stretchy bread.

Until now!

Thanks to Melissa McGhee and my sister’s internet searching, we have found two miracle recipes that you would love even if you weren’t eating low-carb, but are especially wonderful because they fill those two gaps.

First of all, Melissa McGhee’s granola recipe, that beautiful cereal that you see above. I’ve talked about Satisfying Eats, Melissa’s cookbook and blog, several times in this space, and I continue to be amazed at her work. Although I do have this recipe in her cookbook, she has it posted on her blog, too. My sister made it first and said that her family loved it, and my mother tells me that she ate it right from the zip-lock bag as a snack! But, oh, it is so good with milk, and reminds me of Honey Bunches of Oats. Use whatever milk is best for you: cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or whatever.

2014-03-22 13.02.52The first time I made it, I did not realize that the coconut flakes were very important to the recipe. I used shredded coconut instead, because I had it in the pantry. Not the same thing at all, as you can see! Also, please be aware that raw pumpkin seeds are green. If the pumpkin seeds you see on your grocery store shelf are white, they are coated with salt. We actually used to eat these as a snack when I was a teenager. Can’t remember why, exactly, we thought they were healthy. I had to go to Whole Foods to find raw pumpkin seeds. Rather than pumpkin pie spice, I used mostly cinnamon with a sprinkle of nutmeg and ginger. This recipe is a bit pricey, but not much more than good store-bought granola.

I would show you a picture of a bowlful with milk, but it disappeared too soon. Even my carb-eating son loved it.

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Next, my sister told me about Mr. Peanut Sandwich Bread, a recipe that she’d found on the internet that made a flexible sandwich bread! No, it’s not a sweet dessert bread, but an everyday loaf bread that actually holds together no matter what you put on it—just like a gluteny wheat bread, but very low carb with no gluten at all! Here is my favorite hand model, David (conscripted while innocently walking through the kitchen), showing you how even a thin slice bends without breaking.

2014-03-22 18.02.03With only six ingredients, this bread is incredibly easy to make. I even skipped the sweetener. We’ve made ham and cheese sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches, and egg salad sandwiches with it without having any fillers fall out the way most low-carb breads will. It also toasts well. The top of mine popped up a bit, but I can see online that hers did, too. It is strange to add the baking soda and vinegar and then use the electric mixer. It feels as if you’re whipping up your elementary school volcano science experiment. But it works!

Now all of your low-carbing dreams have come true, and you can run out and get your ingredients. You’ll probably see me there. Time to restock!

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OPR: Other People’s Recipes

I had an extra day off last weekend, so I did a bit of successful cooking and thought I’d share. One of these recipes is just in time for your Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. But first, let’s start off with a Southern classic.

ImageMy husband, David, is a big fan of pimento cheese. Now I’m assuming, first of all, that you already know that the only acceptable brand of pimento cheese to buy is Palmetto Cheese. Using anything else would be like using some other mayonnaise besides Duke’s: insane. So, now that we have your store-bought items straightened out, we’ll move on to homemade. Every once in a while, David gets a hankerin’ for homemade pimento cheese, and the best all-around recipe we’ve found is, of course, from Garden & Gun magazine. You can access the recipe here.

ImageDoesn’t it look colorful and fresh? Be sure to grate your own cheese, rather than using a bag of pre-shredded cheddar. Companies put additives in shredded cheese in order to keep it from sticking together, and you don’t want your beautiful pimento cheese spread to be full of cellulose or potato starch.  Do use the spring onions instead of substituting chopped yellow onions. The flavor is slightly different, and the green bits are so much more appealing. There are two different heat-producing ingredients, but don’t skip either one! Just moderate the quantities to taste.

ImageNot that I would ever admit to tasting it, but when David put this pimento cheese on one of Melissa McGhee’s (“Satisfying Eats,” left) cheesy biscuits with a slice or two of bacon—Oh, my! Don’t tell your cardiologist.

Melissa McGhee posted a new recipe for Irish Soda Bread—grain-free, of course!—last week, so I tried that, too. Her recipe can be found on her website here, and be sure to “like” Satisfying Eats on Facebook for new low-carb, healthy recipes all the time.

ImageSince Irish Soda Bread is traditionally a quick bread, you will not miss any yeastiness in this loaf. I am used to a plain soda bread, but this one has a couple of special touches. Melissa has added caraway seeds and raisins, although I have to admit that I did not have raisins on hand, so I used dried cranberries, which I “chopped” by placing them on a cutting board and running my chef’s knife through them a few times. Next time, raisins! I also smashed the caraway seeds around in a mortar and pestle for extra aroma and flavor. They really added a lot to the bread.

ImageHere is the finished loaf, which I baked for 26 minutes, and it was nicely browned. It was smaller than I expected, as you can see here on the cooling rack, so if you have a large family, be sure to bake two. They are very simple to make. The texture is very much like traditional soda bread, and with the raisins, it was almost scone-like. We had the leftovers with breakfast the next morning, as a matter of fact. This bread will definitely be an addition to our St. Patrick’s Day meal!

I have really enjoyed Melissa McGhee’s first cookbook, above, in the past few months. My favorite recipe is still probably her cheesy biscuits, but a couple of weeks ago I tried her “Famous Cheesecake,” and it was just fabulous. For a cheesecake, it was also pretty easy.

I hope you and your family enjoy these two low-carb recipes in your house, too! Let us know how they turn out.

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We Went to a Famous Restaurant!

ImageDavid and I celebrated our thirty-fourth anniversary Thursday night at a restaurant we’ve known about for a long time, but had never visited before. I know what you’re thinking: “Thirty-fourth? Cheryl, you must have been a child bride!” It’s true. I married when I was five years old. Soon, I will have to start saying that I married before I was born.

Anyhow, back to the restaurant. Last fall, David and I watched the PBS reality TV show A Chef’s Life, not only because we are total foodies, but also because each episode featured a different local food product. We are all about local agriculture and very proud (adopted) North Carolinians, so even though I normally will not watch reality TV, we enjoyed this series very much. Every week, the star greeted us with, “Hi, I’m Vivian, and I’m a chef.” Then Vivian Howard told us all about her restaurant, her husband, her twins, her community, and, most importantly, her food. Vivian is from eastern North Carolina, but she left home to go to culinary arts school, met her chef husband, and worked in famous restaurants in New York. When her parents offered to buy her her own restaurant, but only if she moved back home, Vivian was torn. Having her own restaurant was her dream, but living back in eastern North Carolina was her nightmare. In the end, obviously, she opened Chef and the Farmer in Kinston.

TV show

So, last night, David and I found ourselves driving away from the Triangle on Hwy. 70 into… a lot of empty highway. What is wrong with this picture? After driving through Goldsboro and out the other side, we finally found Kinston, turned left at a surprisingly hoppin’ ABC store, and there, in a big, brick building was our destination, as our GPS service announced. We weren’t sure that we were in the right place because the TV show features the other side of the building on the opening credits, so we walked up to it before we saw the sign, above.

The interior is dimly lit, with clean lines and beautiful woodwork. There is a bar on one side, with customers eating full dinners at the bar, tables on two levels in the center, and an open kitchen with a counter in front on the other side. All of the artwork on the walls was done by Vivian’s husband, Ben. We were on the slightly raised upper level, right at the rail. I asked permission to take pictures, and then found that my Motorola Razor flash has movie-production lights that stay on for what feels like forever when the room lights are low. You can imagine how mortified I was by the fact that every face in the room turned toward me, and I’m sure I had a neon sign over my head saying “Tourist!” And it wasn’t even worth it, since the pictures of the room didn’t turn out.

The wait staff was superb. I’ve been to restaurants where the waiters act as if they wish the customers would leave, and others where they were so chummy that they carried on long conversations and even sat down with us! All of the staff here were friendly, but professional. Our waiter was knowledgeable about every dish, suggested wine pairings, and waited patiently for us to make decisions. Dirty dishes were whisked away, unneeded flatware disappeared, extra flatware appeared before the corresponding dish arrived, water glasses stayed full, and they never interrupted our conversation.

ImageWe started off with fried collards. Now, I have tried baking collards before, but the results were mixed. Some of them turned out right, but some were still mushy and some were tough. Vivian must use baby collards and put them in a deep-fat fryer. They were so light and crispy, with just enough salt, and they collapsed into collard essence in your mouth. Don’t you love the bowl? We didn’t prop it up; it is made to tilt to one side. I want one. The bread was great—David had seconds. One was rosemary and the other was sweet potato and caramelized onion. I tried both, and the sweet potato one was like dessert, rich and sweet.

ImageI thought I was going to stick to my low-carb eating plan, but that did not work out. It plainly states on the bottom right corner of the menu: “no substitutions.” So when I ordered the short rib and root vegetable shepherd’s pie, did it occur to me that shepherd’s pie is always topped with potatoes? No, I had a brain hiccup. I’m not exactly sure what short ribs are (why are they short?), but we decided to order adventurously. The meat mixture was thickened with a sweet potato, rutabaga, and sunchoke purée, and it was perfect for a winter night. The side dish was a roasted Brussels sprouts salad, and as I am one of the five people in the world who think of Brussels sprouts as a favorite vegetable, it was a fun new way to enjoy them.

ImageDavid had spice-rubbed striped bass, with ambrosia, watercress with coriander vinaigrette, and coconut rice fritters. We shared bites, of course, and I can tell you that this is not your mama’s ambrosia—no mini-marshmallows here. No, no. This was a delicately sweetened dish of varied citrus, including grapefruit, and the salad featured very thinly-sliced cucumber and fresh herbs. One bite of the crisp cucumber brought back the tastes of spring and garden-fresh vegetables. The bass was cooked to perfect doneness and not a moment more, and the coconut rice fritters had a light crust, but were creamy and slightly sweet inside. I can completely understand why there are no substitutions. The various elements of the meal are designed to complement and enhance one another. I’d love to taste this meal again in the summer.

While we ate, Ben wandered around, chatting with customers. We could see Vivian in the kitchen, and she sometimes came out to talk to people at the counter. We did not meet either of them, and I like to think that it has nothing to do with my cell phone camera. When I asked, the waiter told us that there will be two more seasons of A Chef’s Life, and that they are filming the next season right now. So, if you see someone looking starstruck and taking embarrassing photos, that would be me.

We took home our desserts (hey, I ate potatoes, so may as well) and ate them by the fire in our living room. I could not take pictures, because David’s latest craze is ambiance, which we pronounce like the French, “ahm-bee-ahnce,” and it basically means “dark, with fire.” However, we had the chocolate mousse cake, which comes with pomegranate-buttermilk sorbet, but we ate that at the restaurant. The cake was so incredible that it completely redefines the whole category of “cake.” The cake layers were fudgy, with the fluffy mousse filling in between, and it had this syrup over it that was called “warm fudge,” but there was something else, too. Pomegranate, perhaps? I hate to say, since I didn’t ask and couldn’t even see it, but we said, “Oh, wow!” several times while we savored every bite.

ImageAlthough we first heard of Chef and the Farmer through PBS, we realized later that it had been featured in Garden & Gun, the magazine we love whose title shocks Northerners every time. We thumbed back through our copies, and there in the October / November 2012 issue was the close-up of Vivian’s hands holding a dripping, gourmet tomato sandwich. David wants to go back during tomato season. There was a wall at the restaurant with framed photos of their many magazine and newspaper reviews, and the News & Observer recently announced that Vivian Howard is a James Beard award semi-finalist again this year. They have also won many other awards, and you can learn all about them and see their menu, which changes constantly, on their website at http://chefandthefarmer.com/.

You simply must go. There is nothing ordinary on the menu. Even if the food is something you grew up with, Vivian will envision something unexpected and make it extraordinary. Be sure to make reservations in advance, which you can do on the website. The reason we went on a Thursday is because there were no tables available on Friday or Saturday until 10:00. Perhaps two weeks in advance will be enough. If you normally dine at Golden Corral, be prepared for sticker shock. Dinner with one glass of wine apiece and dessert will run over $100 for two people, plus tip. It’s worth it. It took us a little over an hour from Clayton, so I’d allow an hour and a half from Raleigh, and it’s an easy drive. Do not use a Motorola Razor camera; try something less spectacularly blinding. Dress is casual; I mean, it’s Kinston. Vivian and Ben have opened an oyster bar across the street called The Boiler Room, so if you are an oyster fan, you can try that instead.

ImageNext year, I’d like to go to Paris for our 35th, so you have plenty of time to send donations. You can make a monthly pledge! I promise to send a postcard. I have one right here from the Boiler Room.

_________

A Chef’s Life photo from PBS, accessed on Google Images, 3-1-14.

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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley

ImageFoodies don’t just happen, they are raised. Lucy Knisley relates her young experiences with growing, preparing, and enjoying food in this fresh graphic novel for adults. Lucy’s mom is a chef, and when Lucy was little, she spent time as the kitchen mascot in many fine restaurants. As a gourmet, her dad taught her to appreciate the delicate nuances of the best dishes. They still get together to try out new restaurants.

When Lucy’s parents divorced, her mother moved the two of them out to the country and started raising her own vegetables and even kept chickens. Lucy hated the country! She was a city girl, but it wasn’t long before she was adept at helping her mother at farmer’s markets and in the garden. Furthermore, she became an expert at the one dish her mother wouldn’t make: chocolate chip cookies.

Traveling the world, growing into her own cooking and eating adventures, Lucy has acquired a vast knowledge of the gastronomic universe. Surprisingly, she is not opposed to fast food! Just not every day. If it’s possible for a graphic novel to be feminine, this one is just so. The colors, the drawing, all point to a young woman’s touch. No superheroes or women in spandex—although she does relate the time that her friend, Drew, discovered pornography in Mexico at the age of thirteen, so there are some surprising background drawings there.

Ms. Knisley tucks pages of recipes and food preparation instructions between the chapters, complete with diagrammed details of how to roll sushi or choose cheese. Whether you are interested in cooking or in memoirs of young chefs and artists, Relish will satisfy your cravings. If you’ve never read a graphic novel before, this is a great place to start. Charming.

Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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