I love graphic novels. I love books about the act of cooking and eating. Thus, Relish: My Life In The Kitchen by Lucy Knisley immediately caught my eye, as it combines two of my favorite things ever. Lucky for me, Relish was just as delightful and tantalizing as expected. Also? Bonus! There are recipes throughout the book where the instructions are visually illustrated. The down side is that I now wish ALL cook books were like this – as that would make following a recipe so much easier. I digress, Relish is a fun read for foodies and non-foodies alike. It might even make you want to expand your palate.
Relish by Lucy Knisley is essentially an ode to food. It is a graphic novel memoir of Knisley’s history of eating. The book is divided into different chapters that detail a different part of Knisley’s life and the role that food played. Both of her parents are foodies, so she grew up with a wide palate and was not one of those children who is picky about what they eat. Yet, she’s also not one of those gourmet snobs. In fact, there’s a part where Lucy is in Rome on vacation with her father and she sneaks off to a McDonalds for their delicious french fries. Actually, Relish is made up of several different experiences that range from eating sushi in Japan to raising mean chickens to a meal gone awry and much more. There’s not exactly an overarching plot, but still, the book is cohesive and flows very well.
Knisley’s writing is infused with humor. She writes with a light touch. Relish never gets too heavy, but rather feels kind of like revelry. By this, I mean that the book is actually a fun read and a celebration. There are parts that are definitely laugh out loud funny, like when she goes to Mexico with her mom and family friends. Her one friend develops a bit of a porn addiction in Mexico. The results are hilarious. Knisley’s words are straight forward and matter of fact, to be honest the book feels a lot like someone casually telling you different stories about their lives. Yes, Knisley does travel a lot and eat lots of expensive food, but she never comes off as a braggart. I ended up finding her food history fascinating instead of resenting her for it, and I think a lot of that has to do with tone. I’d say Relish: My Life In The Kitchen comes across as totally accessible and friendly.
All of the art inside Relish: My Life In The Kitchen is illustrated by Lucy Knisley. The style reminds me a bit of Archie or those Sunday paper comic strips. The pictures are quite fluid, by this I mean that there aren’t really any hard angles or anything, it’s all very round. I actually really like Knisley’s illustration style and think that it works perfectly in telling her story. I especially liked how she drew the recipes between the chapter. She basically illustrates the whole process of making the food, which for someone who has no idea what they are doing in the kitchen is fantastic.
One cool thing about Relish is that it presents this idea that food is more than sustenance. It illustrates the idea that food is something that brings people together. It talks about all of the work that goes into preparing the food as though it’s a fun process that’s more than work. Knisley describes the purpose of eating food as being sort of a grand thing, and how trying new foods is kind of like an adventure. Honestly, it made me want to go out and sauté some mushrooms. I loved how the book was all about enjoying the act of eating and coming together over food, good or bad.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine
Other reviews of Relish: My Life In The Kitchen by Lucy Knisley:
Stacked – “Relish is a sensory experience.”
Love Ya Lit – “made me feel nostalgic for all my own taste memories”
Lost In Books – “full of juicy and witty stories”