Relish: My Life in the Kitchen is a graphic novel and memoir about food and a childhood spent in the kitchen. Lucy Knisley’s sumptuous novel takes the audience on a culinary journey through her history of growing up surrounded by food and foodies. The small chapters and vignettes highlight particularly memorable table top tales and creates a literary food-envy that you won’t believe!
I loved the chatty and relaxed style that Lucy not only writes in but illustrates in – it’s not only reminiscent of the warm hub of a homely kitchen but transports you straight there too! There’s a cuddly and comforting feel to the palate (colour not taste!) and the bite-sized chapters are a perfect length for little insights into Lucy’s food history.
Her childhood was obviously food-centric but it’s not alienating to an audience whose childhood wasn’t. Her stories have a human interest to them too – the teenage rebellion against parental control, trying to adapt to country life when the city is all you’ve ever known, dealing with the demands of a broken up family, etc. Her flashbacks dip in and out of the present day and offer a small insight into where all her ‘characters’ (friends and family) are now which is a really nice touch and adds true realism to this otherwise unusual style of memoir.
This is a perfect book or gift for a foodie and yet Lucy is not a food snob. She appreciates the beauty of homemade pesto and the dedication it takes to learn about cheese and grow your own fruit and veg and yet sneaks off for a cheeky McDonalds whilst in Rome, much to the horror of her father! I raced through this graphic novel and not just because I love food – point me in the direction of a farmer’s market and I am one happy bunny! It’s light-hearted, informative and interesting and inspires some great food ideas along the way. The style and structure makes Relish an easy read to dip in and out of but it will also just grab you and take you on the author’s journey so be prepared to read cover to cover!