Book Club: A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

She Said:

I love books. I’ve loved reading since I was a little girl. In fact, I have no memory of learning to read or not being able to read. I’m always so grateful that my mother taught me so young and instilled in me a love for books.  I love reading by myself, with my college girlfriends in our book club and with RJ. A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg, is one of my favorite books because of how seamlessly and entertainingly it weaves together memoir and recipe book.

Molly Wizenberg, the entertaining author of A Homemade Life and blogger for Orangette is seriously cool. It’s one of my dreams to get to sit down with her and hear more of her stories while we eat pink cookies (or something else, equally as delicious) because I think she’s so interesting. I first fell in love with her writing two years ago when one of my girlfriends discovered this book and we read it for book club. It has the distinction of being one of the books we all absolutely love! We loved the recipes and the memoir parts made us laugh and cry.  Molly tells the story of her travels in Paris and childhood in Oklahoma with equal passion and has a keen hand at writing food descriptions. I’ll never be able to eat ratatouille without thinking “Hey remember how Molly said that her parents made this all the time”. It may sound crazy, but it’s just that the book is so personal. She also hit on the universal truth that so many memories and moments in our life are tied to food. Even if her food memories are different then yours it will still get you thinking about the dinner tables where you have spent your life.

I adore her easy conversational writing style. She has a gift of writing that even while sharing some very sad memories (such as the passing of her father), she manages to find bits of humor and warmth. I read through this book in lightening fast speed when I first read it. All the girls in my book club raved over it, we even had one of her delicious chocolate recipes at our meet up. I have talked so much about this book to RJ, he’s heard me and one of my best friends swoon over it numerous times, and then of course there are all the nights that I will randomly read a paragraph when I’m rereading it. He said we had to read it. We had a wonderful time and it’s always fun to have a man’s perspective when reading- it really gave me added dimension to Burg and Brandon. Plus, since we were in the middle of packing to move and not able to cook much it fed our imaginations with great food.  It’s not often easy to find a book written a by woman near my own age that isn’t filled with profanity and really blue dialogue. I love the movie Julie and Julia, but some parts of Julie Powell’s book are just filled with filth. I really appreciate that Molly did not use much profanity at all and there wasn’t any of the blue dialogue that makes me so uncomfortable reading other books. I liked being able to share this book with my husband and I certainly only want to share what I will feel will be entertaining and edifying. This book is both and I salute anyone who can flex their creativity without using the crutch of blue and vulgar imagery.

You really get two fabulous books for the price of one. While you get an awesome book that’s a funny and sweet autobiography with cute illustrations. You also get an awesome recipe book filled with wonderful recipes for soup, dessert, and salad and of course, chocolate. I can’t wait to have my kitchen fully set up and find all my gadgets so I can start creating some of these recipes.

I recommend this book last summer when we wrote about our summer reading list suggestions. Have you read it yet? Go, get it! It’s awesome and you won’t regret it. You’re bound to come away having laughed a little, reflected a little and found at least one great recipe. I am absolute psyched to read Molly’s next book, in fact on my best friends and I speak of this literally every month, and we are ready to read it as soon as it’s available! Try this book and you’ll be waiting with me. So, go to your library or Amazon and grab a copy and at least we’ll have some spicy pickled grapes or a Dutch baby to help us wait it out!


Kari’s Rating- 9



He Said: 

I love food, and I love recipes.  Even though Kari is the undisputed cook in the house, I still really enjoy finding new things that we might like for her to try at home.  I also love it when Kari shares with me a book that she’s reading.  These two loves combined in A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.

This was a fun book to read.  My favorite parts were hearing all about her colorful father.  It was really neat to see how much cooking factored into her childhood, and influenced her and comforted her throughout her life.  There are some sad parts in the middle that are still worth reading, and then you get to meet her husband, and follow them until they get married.

The recipes are great in this book too.  Once Brandon, her husband, enters the picture they get into too many salads, but leading up to it there are some amazing recipes, and the books closes with the cake they used for their wedding which sounds so tasty.  Kari made a cake similar to this for my birthday this year and I could not stop eating it.

There are some things I don’t like in this book.  I feel sad anytime I read anything about death written by people that don’t know Jesus.  Reading that part, or any part about spirituality for me is hard because I want to see everyone in Heaven.  It may sound cheesy, but it breaks my heart when I hear people talk about that kind of stuff when they’re so wrong.  But, this is a memoir, so it comes with the territory.

The thing that I love about this book so much is that the food and the stories are so enmeshed.  Every recipe is part of the story, and every story has food in it somehow.  You can’t separate the two.  I’ve read books where you could, and even if both pieces are good, it’s a better read when they work so well together.  I also appreciate that it felt like a complete story.  Too often in food memoirs do people start with a story, and then it starts to fall apart into an unsatisfactory disjointed ending.  This probably is because life is not as neat as we want, so unless your dead your story hasn’t reached its conclusion.  She finds a good button to finish on with her wedding, but also leaves us wondering what’s next for Molly and Brandon. 

I can’t wait to read the sequel!

RJ Rating-8