Weekend Review: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
This book was exactly the sweet, delightful distraction that I needed. In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table (2009) Wizenberg uses food as the common thread to draw us through her life. She allows us to share in the pain of losing her father to cancer, the joy of meeting and marrying her husband, and the recipes that accompanied all of those moments. As a storyteller and food writer, Wizenberg is, in my opinion, among the best out there. She writes with wit, warmth, and above all else, honesty. She welcomes us with open arms to take a peek into her life, warts and all. In many ways, she is modeling the archetype of my generation: growing up in Oklahoma, but having a love affair with Paris; getting degrees in biology and cultural anthropology, only to leave academia to write about food; and finding her career as well as her husband through her blog. Critics like to condemn today's late 20 and early 30-somethings as being directionless and lacking in traditional values of work, but Wizenberg provides a shining example of someone following her heart and allowing it to lead her to great success, both personal and professional. She comes across as someone you actually know and care about and she recounts the events in her life, including her father's death, with a subtle complexity of emotion. At the base of it all is the food. It's how we cope, what brings us together, and what shapes our memories. That's a message that I can get behind.
At the end of each vignette, Wizenberg shares with us a recipe. So far, I've tried three of them (turkey meatballs, dutch baby, and green cabbage braised in heavy cream) and all of them are going into my regular menu rotation. A broad range of dishes are represented and the food she makes is simple, elegant, and delicious. Overall, this is a quick, lazy-Sunday read that I would highly recommend.