Okaaaaay, so Molly Wizenberg doesn't know me from a snowball. I shall explain; she's the author of the beautifully written and wildly successfully food blog Orangette, has a brand-new book, and recently opened a restaurant in Seattle called Delancey (I reluctantly give you her blog link for fear you'll never read mine again. I simultaneously adore and hate her for being so. damn. good.) Basically, she was a food-loving academic who finally acknowledged her true passion and became a writer with no formal writing or culinary education. This is me, just not the successful part (yet. Glass half-full Linds, glass half-full.) The thoughts in her book strike chord after continuous chord with me, and I've found myself nodding vigorously in agreement with many of her beliefs regarding food and the concepts surrounding it. I'm not even finished it yet, but the most recent head-nod was due to her opinion on recipe sharing; she disagrees with people who hoard recipes and believes they should, like all great food, be shared. Sing it sister! I've always believed in passing along my favourite recipes, as long as credit is given to those who created them or, when their provenance is unknown, the person who gave them to me (hence names like “Sarah's Sister's Cousin's Hairdresser's Mechanic's Dog's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.”) Now, fair enough if you're a chef who spent three decades perfecting the signature dish that your restaurant and therefore livelihood depend on, but that delicious scone recipe you clipped from a magazine and got lots of compliments on? Spread the joy!
In A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg tells the story of her life through food; Unchronologically she shares charming, amusing, and often sad stories from her thirty-one years as a daughter, friend, Parisienne, and lover of food. She relates each of these stories to a different recipe, naming both people and food as forces of history, emotion, and meaning in her life. As a believer in sharing, after each story she includes the recipe which inspired it, most of which originated from her parents, friends, husband, or Molly herself. There is something very lovely, personal, and trusting about these recipe offerings.
Every recipe has a story. Not all are going to be terribly interesting (you made these cookies once that not even the dog would eat, the end), but they are stories nonetheless. Actually, the recipe itself can be horrible, as long as it holds significance to you or makes someone laugh. So, if you'd like a tea-on-cozy-couch-read for the holidays, I suggest this book. After all, you're not only going to get a wonderful read, but also plenty of beautiful and meaningful recipes which you'll want to make yourself. How does buttermilk vanilla bean cake with glazed oranges and crème fraîche sound for new years?