Relish

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I know, I promised something food and fandom related …

However, I have not been able to leave my house, let alone make a special drink order at a Starbucks so that particular post will have to wait in favour of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by the talented and charming Lucy Knisley!

I did fulfill part of my promise by picking something cheerful. Not only is Relish a fun read, it is also one of my two favourite graphic novels of the year. (The other one being Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks.)

Once more, I first came across Lucy Knisley’s work on Tumblr. And not even through her main blog– I found her through Snack Love (which is the source for the images below), where she draws food-related things. Her art is … well, it’s delicious actually.

Whether she’s presenting the “exploded view” of certain favourite foods …

or whether she’s providing a recipe* …

 or if she’s merely drawing items that she loves (and loves to eat) …

her art is consistently awesome.

In Relish, she tries to draw (ha-ha!) a distinct connection between her childhood and upbringing, and the foodie and artist she is today. And just like every good meal, Relish is balanced in its approach to autobiography and gastronomy. It intersperses personal memories of divorce and kitchen misadventures with memories of food and artistry and comfort. So much so that as we read the book we begin to form our own ideas of what constitutes the best post-adventure snack, or the best remedy for homesickness. (Either that, or we just end up drooling on the pages.)

Her approach to food- how she admires, eats, makes, or draws it- is simple and warm and inviting. Knisley seems aware that not all readers are seasoned foodies, and that not all readers love graphic novels. With charts on different kinds of cheeses and tidbits on how to cook with mushrooms, she makes sure to put hesitant eaters at ease. And with panels that are colourful and uncluttered, as well as diagrammatic but fun “food asides”, she puts hesitant readers at ease. In the end, her art and her story exist in perfect harmony.

Before I wrap up here, I have to mention that my favourite thing about Knisley is how unapologetic (and rather, unexpected?) her love for McDonald’s is:

“Say what you will  … We wouldn’t be eating it if didn’t taste good. More than once I’ve found myself lost in a foreign country, when those glowing arches are a welcome sight … A reminder that, despite our cultural differences, we all sometimes need a little comfort grease”

– Page 50, Knisley.

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Why You Might Like This Book: The art is beautiful, the food is scrummy, and Knisley’s stories are downright compelling. If you like graphic novels or autobiographies or food, this is probably a book you’d want on your Christmas list.

Why You May Not Like It: You are a near-broke graduate student with an unstocked pantry. You are trapped at home with delicious recipes you can not recreate. A most unfortunate situation- and yet, it did not stop me. ^_^

*Just FYI, the recipes in the book are much more detailed and are presented in steps.

One response to “Relish

  1. Pingback: For Reluctant Readers: Do Not Attempt To Read This One In Public | The Book Wars·

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