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

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

Shelved: Non-fiction (graphic novel, memoir)
Buy: Hive
More: Goodreads

In the spirit of a foodie Bank Holiday weekend (I blogged about Penguin’s Great Food series yesterday), it seemed only appropriate to start my review of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen too. I first came across this foodie graphic memoir when I saw that it had been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in 2013. I love books and I love food, so I added it to my wishlist straight away. It wasn’t until last month that I finally got around to buying it, after a trip to Gosh! Comics with Debbie. We had never visited Gosh! before (neither of us have read many graphic novels or comics) and were looking forward to it. We loved the huge curated display table as soon as you set foot through the door, and this is where we found Relish (Debbie bought Friends with Boys). We both definitely want to go back, especially because the staff were super friendly.

I loved Relish as soon as I started reading it. It’s 29-year-old Lucy’s graphic memoir of growing up surrounded by food and food lovers, from her chef mum’s home cooking to exotic foodie adventures on trips abroad – what food means to her and what food she particularly loves, and what memories they bring back. She says, ‘I can remember exactly the look and taste of a precious honey stick, balanced between my berry-stained fingers, but my times tables are long gone, forgotten, in favour of better, tastier memories’. Lucy’s drawings are wonderful and colourful – an exquisite mix of food writing and delicious illustrations. You can’t really ask for more.

I relate to her because she’s a foodie, but not a food snob. She love artisan bread and good quality chocolate, but she won’t say no to McDonald’s or a packet of Oreos. (‘We wouldn’t be eating it if it didn’t taste good’). She writes so eloquently, but clearly, showing us how memories of food are memories of growing up, and how tasting all the different flavours – from home and from other cultures – is like no other experience. I craved so many different kinds of food while reading Relish, including food I’ve never even tried (where can I find a tomatillo or honey sticks?). At the end of each chapter, there’s an easy-to-follow tasty recipe to make one of the foods featured in that chapter, such as the best chocolate chip cookies and sushi rolls. It was perfect for bedtime reading and it made me want to pick up more graphic novels – and eat more food!

I can’t wait to pick up her travelogue, French Milk, next and her new book, An Age of License: A Travelogue, is published in September. She also posts lots of lovely things on Tumblr.

Published: 26th April 2013
Publisher: First Second
Pages: 192

Behold the Pretty Books! / July Book HaulBehold the Pretty Books! / July Book Haul

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Relish – My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

  1. I’ve had this book on my to-read list far too long. After this review I must now go and buy it. I just love how the art looks! I’ve already decided to pass on French Milk as it doesn’t seem to have that many favourable reviews, but I will keep an eye out for your review should you write one. :)

  2. great review! can’t wait to read the book.

  3. I really loved this book as well! The illustrations were gorgeous and I loved her writing. Also, the recipes gave a very nice touch to the book. It was definitely such a treat to read (haha, get it?) and I’m thinking I should pick it up for a reread soon! Lovely review :)

  4. […] FIRST EVER graphic novel. I’d wanted to try one for ages, and then Stacey from Pretty Books suggested going to Gosh! Comics, and we agreed to both buy one and then swap. I’d heard about […]

  5. […] I borrowed Friends With Boys from Debbie in January. We exchanged graphic novels and I loaned her Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. Faith Erin Hicks will be illustrating Rainbow Rowell’s upcoming graphic novel, so I’m quite […]

  6. […] borrowed Friends With Boys from Debbie while I was loaning her Relish – My Life in the Kitchen, one of my favourite graphic novels. Friends With Boys is the first graphic novel I’ve actually […]

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