With a protagonist whose sensual palate helps formulate her memories, the reader is led on a taste-filled journey through the past. Ms. Knisley grew up with foodie parents, surrounded by cooks, bakers, eaters and critics. This graphic novel is the wonderful result.
Her tales of her father’s out-of-house dining in various restaurants and her mother’s in-house cooking that made her guests beam with pleasure are just the tip of the iceberg. Ms. Knisley traveled to foreign countries and sampled their cuisines. She worked in a cheese shop. She learned to bake (when her mother refused to make her boring chocolate chip cookies). She survived attacks by mean-spirited hens and roosters. The joys of Mexican food are contrasted with the bewildering experience of Japanese cuisine, which was torture for someone allergic to soy. (The jet lag was considerable and the prices of city food too astronomical for Lucy’s mother to manage.)
Her story is by turns sweet, sour, tart and bitter—as one would expect in a book about food. The illustrations are colorful and more than serviceable with food given prominence but not more so than anything else. Did I mention there are recipes in this book? Yes, there are, and they are written in easily accessible language and accompanying graphics that make them simple to follow.
This is a book I would heartily recommend to anyone who enjoys food, not only for its taste but for the vital role it plays in our lives.
Ms. Knisley recognized that food appreciation ranges the gamut for those who think of it as merely sustenance to those for cooking and eating are acts to be savored, as much as contemplating the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. This is a book I would heartily recommend to anyone who enjoys food, not only for its taste but for the vital role it plays in our lives.